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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022 1 week ago

DeSantis approves $75,000 funding initiative for Mother's Milk Bank of Florida

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The initiative for "Babies at Home" permits the dispensing of pasteurized donor human milk to non-hospitalized, yet medically fragile, babies regardless of the ability of families to pay for the resource.
by: Annabelle Sikes Staff Writer

The Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida is celebrating a win for Florida’s babies.

Gov. Ron DeSantis approved recently a $75,000 funding initiative for Babies at Home which permits the dispensing of pasteurized donor human milk to non-hospitalized, yet medically fragile, babies regardless of the ability of families to pay for the resource.

According to Mother's Milk Bank of Florida, The Babies at Home program can provide human milk in special circumstances. Pasteurized donor human milk is dispensed by health care provider prescription.

Since 2015, the bank has dispensed more than 1.5 million ounces of human milk donated by mothers.

"With a recent appropriation project bill sponsored by Rep. Anna V. Eskamani and Senator Lauren Book, milk dispensed by prescription for babies at home will remain a steady and reliable source of nourishment for vulnerable babies throughout Florida," Mother's Milk Bank of Florida said in a press release. 

The bank hosted recently an open house for all members and staff of the Orange and Osceola County legislative delegations. Members in attendance included Eskamani, Rep. Kristen Arrington, Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and District Director John Cortes from the office of Congressman Darren Soto.

The funding allocation is for Fiscal Year 2022-23.

There are two dozen milk drop depot partners throughout Florida where mothers can drop off their frozen milk.

"Depots safely store the milk until it is couriered to Orlando," the bank explained. "With great admiration and appreciation to the more than three thousand mothers who have donated their milk, the critical mission of caring for medically complex and preterm infants continues with every drop of human milk."

For more information, parents can contact the milk bank at (407) 248-5050 or click here. 

BACKGROUND

We first told you about the formula shortages here, when Winter Garden mom Daffnee Cohen, mother to two daughters ages 5 months and 2, said the ongoing baby formula shortage moved her to act.

After the birth of her oldest daughter, Cohen was able to stockpile thousands of ounces of breast milk. In fact, she had so much that she was able to help a friend in need after her older daughter had transitioned to solid foods.

Similarly, Cohen had thousands of ounces stored and was willing to give some of them to another mom in need.

The ongoing formula shortage then led to West Orange- and Southwest Orange-area moms helping one another to acquire food for their little ones, which we told you about here

While infant formula remained difficult to find locally, the Orange Observer searched for several resources available to Central Florida families while they wait for store shelves to be replenished.

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Annabelle Sikes is a staff writer at the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She graduated in May 2021 from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in sociology.  Her past...

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