In the wake of Hurricane Harvey's devastating effects, countless people have been left displaced and in need. One mom, Danielle Palmer, has found a way to help affected families by donating her breast milk.
Palmer, of Owensville, MO, has donated a little over 1,000 ounces of breast milk to Hurricane Harvey survivors after giving birth to her third son. Her son, Truett, was born with a critical congenital heart defect and was unable to eat during his first few months.
"For a big chunk of the beginning of his life, he was unable to take my milk," she tells Refinery29. "So all the milk I pump went straight to the freezer."
Though Truett was able to be exclusively fed with breast milk through a gastrostomy tube, Palmer was still experiencing an oversupply of milk, and decided to donate it to a cause after Truett's speech therapist, Nicole Edwin, pitched the idea.
Donated breast milk is generally safe for babies to consume; the CDC notes that HIV and other serious infectious diseases can be transmitted through breast milk, but the risk is extremely small, even if the donor is HIV positive.
Palmer donated her breast milk through a non-profit organization called Guiding Stars Mid-Missouri, a women's support program that was taking donations to help families rebuild after Harvey.
"When Nicole, our wonderful board president, heard from a contact in Texas that breastmilk was a need because so many people lost what they had stored due to not having electricity and some moms even dried up due to stress, she put out a call to area moms to donate if possible, tracked down a deep freeze and some dry ice, and decided spend her holiday weekend driving to Texas," the group wrote in a Facebook post.
The organization began delivering breast milk donations on Sunday, and Palmer tells us that she has heard that the donations have arrived in Texas fully frozen. Not only will her donations help mothers who may not currently have access to their breast pumps, or those experiencing low milk supply in times of stress, it could also help those who may not have chosen to breastfeed, but are having difficulty accessing milk for their babies.
"Being in a place when my son was born with the CCHD, there were tons of people willing to help our family in a time that we needed it," she says. "The least I could do is help someone else out when they need help, especially after losing everything you have."
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