In the past few years, the use of donated breast milk in hospitals has skyrocketed across the country. Alabama is no exception.
The nonprofit Mothers’ Milk Bank of Alabama, which opened in November 2015, accepts donated breast milk, screens it, pasteurizes it and packages it to dispense to hospitals for a processing fee that helps defray costs.
Many hospitals use it for critically ill and premature babies who aren’t able to breastfeed.
Yet Medicaid and private insurance don’t cover donor milk in Alabama, so hospitals have to budget for it. At a time when smaller and rural hospitals are struggling to stay open, donor milk for their babies can be an unaffordable luxury.