What Yakima mothers are calling "liquid gold"

What Yakima mothers are calling "liquid gold" »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Premature birth is one of the leading causes of death among newborns. Yakima mothers banded together Saturday to let people know how they can help save premature babies.

Baby Parker wasn't always this healthy. He spent 21 days in the neonatal intensive care unit before his mom could take him home. He was born 6 weeks early.

"He was just tiny; he was just a little guy, real skinny but not anymore," said April Brown, Parker’s mother.

April gives credit to breast milk for Parker's health recovery. Now she, along with other mothers, is participating in the first Miracle Milk Stroll to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding.

"It's really liquid gold," said Mandy Hale.

Mandy delivered a healthy baby but donated her milk to other babies in need.

"I personally thought it was quite weird at first, but, learning more about it after I became pregnant, it made more sense to me," she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preterm birth affects one in eight infants born each year in our country - over 500,000 babies.

Courtney Roybal is a childbirth educator at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. She says human milk helps these premature babies get healthy.

"There's tons of immunities, antibodies, it's kind of like the perfect vaccine, I guess, and, every day, babies get more," she said.

Roybal works to help parents and medical staff learn how human milk is saving premature babies. It's the reason "Best for Babes" launched the nationwide stroll in 67 different cities. The nonprofit organization says 60 percent of NICUs do not use donor milk. The closest donor bank for breast milk is in Portland.

But mothers in our community have found other ways to help one another out.

"I personally just posted on a friends group on Facebook," said Mandy.

And April knows that that milk is helping. Her little one is living proof.

The Yakima groups plan to continue to raise awareness in the community. They hope to get more people involved in next year's walk.