Fathers are oft times a bit clueless when in comes to their baby’s nutrition. There have been several times when I have been woken up to the whimpers of hunger from the newest member of our family and come out to exclamations of “I don’t know what he wants! I fed him breakfast!” As I look around somewhat grumpily for evidence of said “breakfast,” I find bits of graham cracker Hansel and Gretel-ing it across the newly cleaned floors. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected more from a guy who still proclaims that chocolate chip cookies are a complete breakfast (they’ve got milk and eggs in them, right?!). Fathers are often ingrained with a sense of car noises and airplane rides, and it takes a while for them to get the finer details down.
Enter Bronzson Woods, CEO and founder of Ambrosia Milk. He and his business partner, Ryan Newell, are not your typical fathers. They started worrying about infant nutrition throughout the U.S. before they had their bundles of joy (and terror), and I had the pleasure of interviewing Bronzson about the experience not long ago, where he gave his story:
“Thanksgiving 2014 I was with my sister-in-law who had had twins but wasn’t able to breastfeed. She was going through lots of different cans of formula, spending hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours, trying to find a kind that agreed with her kid’s tummies, along with nutrition and all these different things. But she was limited by the fact that she couldn’t have breast milk (due to her inability to breastfeed), and kind of felt sad about it. That got me thinking, “Why can’t she have breast milk? She should be able to have it, as it’s a natural, renewable source.” So I started doing research, and called my friend, Ryan, the next day and said, ‘Ryan, I’ve been doing a little research on this, and this is something we need to look into.’ So, Ryan and I spent the next few months doing hundreds of hours of research. We learned that you can get breast milk through a prescription or buy it online, but it’s not guaranteed, and there is a huge shortage throughout the U.S.
And thus, Ambrosia Milk was born. We decided to take our idea to Cambodia. I knew the language and had experience with the people and felt comfortable going there, Ultimately, however, we ended up choosing it because it has the third highest breastfeeding rate in the world, next to Rwanda and Sri Lanka. Approximately 70 percent of women breastfeed to six months of age, compared to around 20 percent in the U.S., and about 5 percent in the U.K. It is also in a developmental sweet spot, which means it has electricity so we could set up our breast pump center, we could have good hospitals and infrastructure that we need, but its also developing so we could make a difference in these families lives. So, I quit my job to work on Ambrosia full time, a short time later, Ryan dropped out of school and quit his job to work on it as well**.
I went to Cambodia and set up our place, recruited women who were willing and able to provide breast milk and get paid for it, got all the paperwork in order, made sure the women all got blood tested, and basically just figured everything out over there. While I was doing that, Ryan was here getting everything figured out on the U.S. side, like the FDA and other government paperwork. In November, we got our first shipment of milk, went to LA to pick it up, and began the pasteurization process. We now have an online store, as well as a retail location in Salt Lake City. Our goal is to provide safe, pure breastmilk to every baby who needs it.”
A common concern people have about Ambrosia Milk is the way they obtain their breast milk. People have even compared it to the most recent Mad Max movie. So I asked Bronzson about their role in it all, and this is what he said, “Women in Cambodia love it; we are turning people away because everyone wants to do it. We require the children are 6 months old before they can pump. There are no contracts of service, we pay per pump, and they are not required to come back.” (Want to know more about these women? We will be getting their side of the story in a few weeks!)
So what does having lightly pasteurized screened donor breast milk really mean for infant nutrition? Parents around the U.S. are starting to find out. The World Health Organization classifies breast milk as being the best source of nutrition for infants, the most optimal source being from the infant’s mother, and second from a safe donor, assuming mother’s milk isn’t an option.
For CEO Bronzson Woods, getting into the breast milk business was meaningful from the start, but having breast milk available to everyone took on a whole new meaning when Bronzson’s son was born. “I really wish we had it when “A” was first born. (My wife’s) milk was slow in coming in. “A” screamed all day and all night because he was hungry, and lost a ton of weight, but we really didn’t want to give him formula!”
What type of milk to feed your infant is really a journey in and of itself. Whether formula or breastmilk, parents work hard to partner with their child’s doctor to give their baby the best nutrition possible. For those of you looking for breast milk for your baby, Ambrosia Milk is definitely a great option to have on hand for any infant, and is delivered right to your door! To find out more about this great product, go to ambrosiamilk.com.
**Ryan has since graduated from college
Coming next week: Do you feel like your identity has been lost to the title “Mom”? One mom relates her experience, and cries out for the need to find her “village.”