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The current baby formula shortage in the US has reached critical levels, and many parents are struggling to find the food they need for their infants,
However, one Utah mom is on hand to help. She, like many other mothers, is now selling her breast milk to those in need. Alyssa Chitti currently has more than three freezers full of breastmilk thanks to her oversupply and will now be selling it on.
In an interview with Fox 13, she joked: "I figure I'm running out of room, so might as well help someone else. I know I have over 3,000 ounces. 3,000 ounces downstairs and probably almost 1,000 upstairs."
Like many other mothers who are able to, Alyssa looked at donating it to a local milk bank. However, she found it was much easier to list it online and sell to those in need.
Alyssa plans to sell her breast milk at $1 per ounce, but has said she will be willing to negotiate with other parents as she understands what they're going through. "It was making me nervous, just because so my daughter was very, very colicky," said the Utah mother.
She added: "And I know a lot of moms need specific formulas for babies with upset tummies, and I know how hard it can be when they're upset. There's nothing you can do about that stomach pain."
Donating milk to local milk banks is not the easy solution many mothers thought it would be, with donors needing to be screened prior to donation. As a result, many milk banks are finding the process of donation to be slower than needed.
Mary Callahan, milk bank coordinator for Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank, has found that although they need 300 donors to meet their local demand, they've only been able to find 175.
She explained: "The donor screening process, because we are very thorough and it does require blood tests, on average, it takes about four to six weeks. We do have donors that are motivated that can get it done in two. It would probably take us two to three months to really get to where we can start looking at providing for the outward community that's outside of the hospital."
Whilst selling breast milk is legal, it is not regulated and that can often come with associated dangers. According to the FDA, when human milk is obtained directly from individuals or through the internet, the donor is unlikely to have been screened for infectious diseases or contamination risk. As a result, milk could carry infection or illness so those purchasing it are warned to do so at their own peril.
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