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Mom gives largest breast milk donation to help other premature babies at Aurora West Allis

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) – Doctors say breast milk is the best form of medicine for babies born prematurely.

CBS 58 previously told you how Aurora West Allis is using that tactic and how a family was benefitting from it.

That family is now giving back in hopes of helping other premature babies.

Baby Amelia was born at just 29 weeks. Because she was born early, her lungs weren’t fully developed and she was on a breathing tube.

Fast forward to today where she’s now a healthy and happy one-year-old.

Doctors believe it’s the breast milk that helped her.

With Amelia born at 29 weeks, her mother Michelle Bahler hadn’t developed milk just yet. The family was faced with the tough decision of giving their baby formula or donated breast milk.

“It is a personal choice,” says Michelle. “In this instance we felt it was right for our child at that specific time. We’re glad we did, and I’m glad that I started trying to produce my own milk.”

“It really provides everything like an immunization would to a newborn’s gut or a premature baby’s gut,” says Stephanie Nelson.

Within about a week, Michelle was able to start producing milk of her own.

“We starting having a little bit extra and a little bit more extra, and then it really got out of hand with how much extra I was producing,” says Michelle.

Michelle went through the screening process to become a milk donor to regularly donate back to the hospital that once helped her daughter.

“I’m donating over 2200 ounces to the milk depot here which brings up my complete total to over 8,500 ounces donated back to other moms,” says Michelle.

That’s the largest donation ever given to the bank since they started their service three years ago.

“Doing all of that was really worth it to be able to just donate that big of an amount back to the NICU at the hospital,” says Michelle.

All of the breast milk used at Aurora West Allis is screened beforehand through blood work and questionnaires. They also work closely with Western Great Lakes for donations and screenings. WGL is the only non-profit milk bank serving all of Illinois and Wisconsin. The West Allis milk depot in Aurora is one of more than 35 depots throughout the two states. Any mom interested in donating milk can find more information here

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