WESTERVILLE (WCMH) — Human milk can save the lives of babies, and Ohio Health said an increase in demand means more donors are needed.

Ohio Health Westerville Medical Campus is the new location where approved mothers can drop off their donated milk.

It’s a part of the hospital network’s plan to maximize its effort in increasing its supply of donor milk for premature children whose mother may not be able to produce enough.

“I mean, this is a crisis that babies face every single day, NICU babies, and mothers not being able to produce enough,” said mother Brandi Johnson.

The overproducing of breast milk is a gift Johnson said she has and is willing to share to help premature babies.

“On average, even with my daughter now, I produce 70 to 80 ounces a day, and she only eats about 30.”

That’s an extra 50 ounces which Johnson stored in her freezer until she realized newborns can benefit from it.

She then started to donate large laundry baskets full of bottles to the Ohio Health Mothers’ Milk Bank, but it’s not enough.

“In the last year, we have increased the amount we’re distributing by 50,000 ounces,” said Chris Smith who is Outreach and Coordinator with the Ohio Health Mothers’ Milk Bank.

Ohio Health Mothers’ Milk Bank sends its milk to babies in 75 hospitals in 14 states and Canada.

In one year, the demand for donor milk has gone up from 295,000 to 350,000 ounces.

Smith explains that human milk is important to an infant for several reasons, and help is needed no matter how much or how little a mother can give.

“One ounce of milk will feed three premature babies for one day,” said Smith. “They’re talking such very small volumes that a little bit of milk goes a long way when we’re feeding babies.”

This Westerville Milk Bank Drop gives central Ohio mothers more opportunities help save the lives of preemies.

It’s open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays noon-5 p.m.

“We look at human milk and donor milk to a premature baby as blood is to a trauma patient, it’s essential for those babies,” said Smith.

For more information on how to become a donor, click here or call 614-566-0630.