Research shows that human milk can be life saving, especially for premature infants who have special medical challenges.
Tiffany Tyson is a lactation counselor. She says for all babies, breast milk is a healthier option than formula.
"Formula stretches the baby's stomach. Whenever the baby is getting formula, they have a higher risk of obesity. With breast milk, it doesn't stretch their stomach and the baby is being protected by the antibodies of the breast milk. It protects them from illnesses and colds and other things like that. So, it's very protective as opposed to the formula," says Tyson.
The mothers who are unable to produce their own milk are turning to the Mothers' Milk Bank of Mississippi - a nonprofit organization that processes donated breast milk.
Linda Pittman is Executive Director of the milk bank. She says the services are strictly for preterm infants facing health complications.
"Donor milk is not meant to be just because someone wants to give their child breast milk and maybe cannot or decides not to provide their own. This is strictly a medical need for fragile and sick infants," Pittman says.
The milk bank bills the hospitals in the state, and they in turn bill the qualifying donor milk patients. Right now, insurance does not cover this service - something Pittman says she hopes changes.
"We've got some hope that some of the insurance companies are looking at this more. That it is a medical need and not just food, because it's like medicine for these kids," says Pittman.
All mothers who donate their milk must follow strict criteria and are screened to assure their milk is safe. The milk is only distributed through hospitals when it's determined that it can help save a baby's life.