San Diego's ‘Mom Tribe' Gathers for Breast-Milk Drive

Sharp Mary Birch rallies moms to help other moms in need

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Dozens of San Diego mothers headed to Sharp Mary Birch Hospital Tuesday with bags full of frozen breast milk after the hospital partnered with the Mothers’ Milk Bank in San Jose on a breast-milk drive in the wake of the ongoing nationwide baby-formula shortage.

“I knew the desperation you can get when you want to feed your baby,” recalled new mom Lauren Cataudella.

“The feeling is complete terror” added Nicole Giangregorio. "How are you going to feed your baby?"

Cataudella said she spent hours looking for baby formula before her son embraced solid food.

“And these formulas go really fast,” Cataudella said with a shrug.

Cataudella answered the call and delivered her frozen breast milk to Mary Birch Tuesday.

“I think there’s something really cool about the ‘Mom Tribe’,” said a smiling Cataudella. “Something like this — like the formula shortage — brings all these moms together.”

“We get to help San Diego families in need and maybe other families in California,” said Giangregorio, who is Sharp Mary Birch’s manager of Women’s Support Programs.

Giangregorio said the collected milk will be delivered to the Mothers’ Milk Bank, where it will be screened and pasteurized for safety. The donations will help offset the need to for baby formula, which is still in short supply around California and the country. Giangregorio said it appeared the shortage had encouraged some mothers to continue pumping breast milk.

“We have seen a great increase in our breast-pump rentals,” Giangregorio explained.

“I was ready to contribute whatever I could,” Cataudella said, adding with a laugh, "moms can get it all done and we’ll have dinner on the table."

Giangregorio did point out that Sharp Mary Birch’s own supply of baby formula was not in jeopardy.

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