NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters is introducing a way that new mothers and lactating women can help infants born with health issues.

Each year, preterm birth affects nearly 500,000 babies, or about 1 of every 8 babies born in the United States. Premature or sick babies are at risk for developing devastating intestinal infections – the risk of developing these infections is 10 times higher if they are fed formula instead of human milk, according to CHKD.

The CHKD Milk Bank provides donated, pasteurized human milk by prescription to critically-ill babies in need. Donor milk is easily digested, provides infection fighting benefits and offers optimal nutrition and growth in the absence of mothers own milk.

All donated milk is screened, processed and tested, according to strict guidelines, to ensure it is safe. CHKD says potential donors are selected by using a multi-step screening process that is similar to blood banks.

For more information on how to donate, visit CHKD's website.