LEHI, Utah (News4Utah) — The power of breastfeeding has so many benefits for baby. But what happens when mom is unable to produce that precious milk for the first days and weeks of life?
That’s where a local organization steps in to provide donated breast milk to the most vulnerable babies. With September being NICU awareness month, one local mother credits the Mountain West Mothers’ Milk Bank with keeping her baby alive and healthy.
Little Harper was born two months early.
“With really no warning at Lake Powell 12 hours before she was born,” said Alexa Welch, mother.
Welch, from Lehi, was unable to produce her own milk with her daughter’s sudden birth.
“It was one of the most frustrating experiences because they explained how important human milk is to these premature babies,” said Welch.
The NICU staff at the University of Utah Hospital told Alexa about donated milk from other moms from the Mountain West Mothers’ Milk Bank.
“I was a little skeptical at first. It was a completely foreign thing for me.”
“The mothers are screened, it’s pasteurized milk and it’s hospital grade quality so we can use it in the NICU to save these babies,” said Shelby Wilde, RN, University of Utah Hospital.
Shelby Wilde is a registered nurse who took care of Harper in the NICU for 31 days.
She got to see the little girl she helped keep alive for the first time since Harper left the hospital a year ago.
“I feel like they’re mine. I don’t have my own baby so the NICU babies are mine. I worry about them, stress about them,” said Wilde.
Alexa credits the Mothers’ Milk Bank with being able to take Harper home a month earlier than expected and Harper not getting sick for her first year of life.
Alexa says she owes so much to the Mothers’ Milk Bank and the NICU staff at the University of Utah.
‘It’s hard to express my gratitude. I don’t know where we would be had she been born at Lake Powell. l can’t Imagine life without her,” said Welch.
Alexa says she doesn’t have the means to donate but she says she gives back with volunteering and spreading the word about the organization.