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American Mom Aims to Create International Milk Banks

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I've written an awful lot on the Lactivist about the HMBANA milk banks and the need for more donor moms in the United States. After all, donor milk is the saving grace of many a premature or ill baby that's trying to recover enough to make it out of the NICU and into their own home.

While it's great that milk banking is on the rise in North America, the reality is that some countries that need it even more than we do, are still years or even decades away from being able to put together the right infrastructure.

That's where one American mom, 28-year-old Jill Youse, of Columbia, Missouri comes in. Youse had 1,000 ounces of milk (about eight gallons) left over from pumping for her nine month old daughter Estella. Rather than donating it to a U.S. bank, Youse decided to ship her milk overseas to a milk bank in Durban, South Africa.

From the article:

Youse did research and found iThemba Lethu, a nonprofit organization that cares for abandoned and orphaned children and infants with HIV/AIDS and donated her breast milk to their milk bank.

Youse’s nearly eight gallons of breast milk was the first shipment to an underprivileged overseas community from the United States.

“I wanted to donate to children who needed it the most,” she said.

With the help of iThemba Lethu, Youse created the nonprofit International Breast Milk Project to promote the concept in the United States.

Sounds cool! I'm not sure what it costs to ship breast milk internationally, but for moms that would be paying for shipping anyway because they live far away from a domestic milk bank, I'm intrigued by the idea.


  1. Anonymous Anonymous | 8:04 PM |  

    I love it. Thank you for your comments.
    -Jill Youse

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