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Vulnerable Metro Vancouver moms in need of baby feeding supplies

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A non-profit that helps vulnerable families across Metro Vancouver is feeling the impact of the rising costs of baby formula and breast pumps.

Meghan Neufeld, the executive director of BabyGoRound, said more mothers are requesting breast pumps than ever before.

“There has been a shortage of infant formula, which has driven the cost of formula up by about 20 per cent and the rate of breast pumps up 24 per cent,” she said.

As a result, Neufeld says there’s been a 70 per cent spike in the number of referrals for women in need breast pumps

On average, families spend between $400 and $800 a month on baby formula, according to Neufeld.

She says some mothers rely on breast pumps when they are having difficulty breastfeeding, which can result from latching issues or medical complications.

“People assume that breastfeeding is going to be the easy and free way to feed your child,” Neufeld said. “Unfortunately, it's not the reality for all moms.”

She added that research has shown, breastfeeding is more difficult for the most vulnerable mothers.

“Study shows that women who are considered food insecure are less likely to be able to breastfeed than those who are not considered food insecure. So what this means is that the women who really need that benefit of being able to feed their child in a free way, don't have that as an option—and it's not for a lack of trying,” she explained.

Manual breast pumps costs about $50 and electric ones costs at least $150.

BabyGoRound accepts donations for most baby equipment through its website, but it cannot accept gently used breast pumps.

“We have to pay for each of the breast pumps that we give out. It's hard for us to be able to keep up with those numbers,” she said.

That’s why the charity is raising awareness on the issue and requesting financial help from the community, because it does not want to turn away a desperate mother and her hungry baby.

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