Colorado Governor, MMB to Address Formula Shortage

Gov. Polis, Mothers’ Milk Bank Announce Partnership to Address Formula Shortage

DENVER, CO (STL.News) Governor Jared Polis announced a partnership with Mothers’ Milk Bank (MMB) through the Rocky Mountain Children’s Foundation to help address the baby formula shortage that is affecting families in Colorado and across the United States.  Colorado and MMB are calling for donations of breast milk or financial donations that would help families with the cost of supply, and bringing awareness to an alternative supplemental milk supply during the current crisis.

This partnership is an effort to highlight infant health and the options for parents across Colorado to access milk for their infants, and a nationwide call for the public to work together to overcome the nation’s devastating formula shortage.  This comes as baby formula producer Abbott announced it has reached a deal with the Food and Drug Administration, and estimates a wait of six to eight weeks for formula to be available on shelves.

MMB is a nonprofit program of Arvada-based Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation.  For nearly 40 years, MMB has collected, processed and distributed donor human milk to babies throughout the country.  Women and families can donate or purchase milk from anywhere in the state; individuals can also give financial assistance to support costs to families.

“Some parents are facing the unthinkable reality of not being able to feed their children through no fault of their own, so Colorado is partnering on an option to address the formula supply issue.  It is critical that we use every option out there to make sure our infants do not go hungry.  Moms who are able to donate breastmilk should do so as a lifeline for those who can’t, and no matter how you feed your baby, a fed baby is the priority,” said Governor Polis.

“Every ounce counts.  The more donated milk we can get in the door now, the more we’ll be able to support families for the weeks and months to come,” said Rebecca Heinrich, Director of Mothers’ Milk Bank.  “We are thrilled to partner with Colorado on this important effort to support families.”

Parents are encouraged to speak with their medical provider about this option and to follow these safety guidelines.  More information can also be found on the Colorado Women, Infants and Children (WIC) website.

  • Never dilute formula. Diluting infant formula with water or other liquids can be dangerous and even life-threatening for babies, leading to a serious nutritional deficit and health issues.
  • Avoid homemade formula. Homemade formulas often lack or have inadequate amounts of critical nutrients.  For example, babies fed homemade infant formula have been hospitalized due to hypocalcemia (low calcium).
  • Use of substitute formulas is OK.  For most babies, if their regular brand of formula is not currently available, it is OK to substitute with a similar version.  If families have questions about which formula is acceptable, or if they are still having difficulty finding formula, they should contact their child’s pediatric provider or WIC clinic.

Information on how to donate or purchase milk, or make a donation can be found at milkbankcolorado.org..  If you or your organization are interested in donating in an alternative method, please contact giving@rmchildren.org.

Mothers’ Milk Bank follows the strict guidelines set forth by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).  All donors are screened by trained staff members.  They also undergo blood testing and must have their health care providers sign forms confirming their medical histories.  The milk is pasteurized and tested prior to being dispensed.

The Colorado Department of Human Services can help families with other needs including food, childcare, disability, employment and cash.  More information about benefits available to Colorado families and individuals can be found at cdhs.colorado.gov/benefits-assistance.