GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – With the national baby formula shortage affecting mothers and newborns, some are switching to purchasing breastmilk.

HSHS Saint Vincent Hospital in Green Bay partnered with Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes to create the area’s first breastmilk dispensary in 2019.

The goal of the dispensary is to give new moms access to safe, donated breastmilk that is readily available and easily accessible.

“When we started in June of 2019 the community had been having fantastic support. We had about 7,000 ounces donated. The next year in 2020 we had about 9,400 ounces donated and then last year in 2021 we had over 130,000 ounces donated so it’s been phenomenally successful,” said Amber Chibuk, the Director of Women and Infant Services at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital.

Those who donate are screened and tested. The milk is then pasteurized by Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes down in Illinois and then brought back up for sale in Green Bay. Those who are interested can buy it for $20 per bottle, per 4-ounce bottle.

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While having this option available, Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin alongside many of her colleagues voiced their frustration with the baby formula shortage.

“This shortage has placed an unacceptable burden on parents and caregivers and has put the health of babies and infants at risk. For many families, infant formula is critical for ensuring their children receive the nutrition they need to grow healthy and well-nourished” the letter continued. “This shortage has been especially challenging for some of the most vulnerable infants, with particularly acute shortages of specialty formulas to address health needs such as allergies, gastrointestinal issues, or metabolic disorders. There is no easy substitute for infant formula, and this shortage has left families across the nation scrambling to figure out how they will safely care for their children.”