Breast milk bank bill ensures safety for babies

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – The breast milk bank bill has been introduced in both the house and the senate and will provide parents with the power of knowing any milk from a milk bank is free of disease, is breast milk and is safe for babies.

From the moment they enter the world, 90 percent of the mothers at Sparrow Hospital breast feed their babies.

“It’s just something that I wanted to do and even if there was struggles I wanted to overcome them,” said Deborah Brewbaker, new mom.

But not all of Michigan’s babies, especially those who are premature, have access to breast milk. Doctors say the shortage could be contributing to Michigan’s high infant mortality rate.

“We really want to encourage breast feeding because that does have an impact on mortality and on illnesses in babies and toddlers,” said Karen Twyman, lactating consultant, Sparrow Hospital.

Lawmakers are not only working to fix that shortage, they’re looking to make sure that every single donation is safe.

They’re hoping to achieve that safety through a bill that outlets regulations for breast milk banks.

“Ensuring the donor mothers are healthy, are free of pathogens, that their milk is free of any elicit substances,” said State Rep. Erika Geiss, (D – 12).

Other regulations include requiring mothers who pump for profit to check in with the state to make sure their newborns also have access to breast milk, as happened in one case in Detroit.

New moms say knowing their baby’s milk is safe will help them sleep at night, even if it is for just a few hours.

The bill isn’t set to make any moves until the fall when the house and senate are more active.

State Rep. Geiss has also introduced a separate bill in the house to regulate Internet sales of breast milk so parents buying also know that milk is safe and legal for their infants.

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