Chiara Sottile has already pumped several thousand ounces and donated it to milk banks and families, including one who just adopted a baby.
As the U.S. continues to face an unprecedented shortage of baby formula, one mother has decided to step up and pay the cost of breast milk pumping to help needy infants. "I'm paying to be a milk donor," noted Chiara Sottile, a news producer from the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Originally, I was feeding my own son, but things have gotten so dire in this country, so how can I stop? I can't bear to see these families giving their baby evaporated milk when they're running out of formula," continued the mother of two.
Sottile has rented a breast-milk pump and pays $92 per month to keep supplying milk to families who haven't been able to find formula during this crisis. She has already pumped several thousand ounces and donated it to milk banks and families, including one who just adopted a baby.
The 35-year-old does not receive any medical reimbursement for the expenses incurred during this process, according to INSIDER. Also, it's not just money that Sottile has been spending in order to help the families. The process requires her to take time away from kids and pump in available spaces like supply closets or in the back of cars while at shoot locations.
Despite the hassle, Sottile feels "privileged" to be in a position where she can afford the cost of helping feed babies. That being said she is furious at the system which she feels has failed lactating parents.
Sottile had planned to switch her 13-month-old son's diet from breastmilk to formula months back but she could not bring herself to stop her supply which could potentially help struggling families. "We are seeing babies hospitalized because their caregivers have no better options. I have an oversupply, and being able to share it is a gift," she noted.
While on a recent work trip, Sottile used every opportunity to pump milk ad ended up collecting 60 ounces of it. And when she met a local mom, Sottile decided to hand out some of it for the woman's infant who was about to be fed evaporated milk. "I opened up my little cooler bag and gave her the milk. She was stunned and grateful and teared up. You don't expect someone to just hand over their breast milk," explained Sottile.
Donating her breast milk to the milk bank is a rewarding experience for Sottile as she gets to see the priceless expression on a mom's face. "It makes every $92-a-month payment, every hour sitting next to that pump, worth it. There's no comparison to seeing a grateful parent and baby who can confidently and happily eat because of you," she shared.
Representative cover image source: Getty | Photo by Jamie Grill