There are mothers all over the country who want to give their babies their breast milk, but for some reason they can't.
Now there's a "milk bank" dedicated to connecting those mothers with others who want to share.
Milk does a body good. Just ask baby Milo. He was born prematurely and weighed just five pounds.
Christine Bartels, Milo’s mother, says, "You can see that he's thriving. He has a very strong will to live and when he's hungry he wants his milk now."
Milo is adopted, but his mom was determined to feed her son breast milk. She could finally stop her search here, at Mother's Milk Bank in San Jose.
Christine credits the milk for Milo’s growth spurt.
She says, "His little thighs are humongous at this point. I see his gaze. He very alert now, and focused."
Studies show that breast milk improves digestion, brain development, and growth in babies.
The safety of donated milk is crucial when you don't know the donor. The Mother's Milk Bank screens each donor and tests their blood. The milk is then heat treated.
Pauline Sakamoto R.N., Mother's Milk Bank Executive Dir., says, "It will kill the HIV virus, if the virus is in the milk."
The bank requires mothers have a prescription.
While some internet providers may offer breast milk without one, Pauline cautions about ordering online.
She warns, "One of the things that concerns me through the internet is you don't know where or who the source is, and you don't know whether the individual, maybe the donor was a potential donor to us and we turned her down."
Christine said she's comforted her son is drinking milk from a reliable source, and is thankful to the women who've given her child this gift.
She says, “I think it's a wonderful, wonderful service they're doing."
Every year the bank helps feed about 500 babies. Some are foster children; others have mothers with HIV, or just can't produce breast milk.