(USA TODAY) — This time last year, Mother’s Milk Bank in San Jose may have been able to send a month’s worth of donated breast milk to hospitals in Alaska or Hawaii in a single shipment. Now many of those same hospitals can only get their milk by the week.

“We’re just struggling to keep up,” said executive director Pauline Sakamoto. “Our freezers are empty, but the demand is skyrocketing. It’s just exponentially growing, so it’s imperative for us to find more milk.”

From hospital milk banks to pages on Facebook, more new moms are using another mother’s donated breast milk to feed their babies. About 2.18 million ounces of breast milk were distributed through the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) in 2011, said Sakamoto, a member and spokeswoman. That’s up from 1.5 million ounces in 2009 and 1.8 million ounces in 2010, she said.

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