Breast milk donation is a priceless gift!
During the season of giving, many of us are fixated on wish lists to Santa and holiday sales, but one priceless gift that many moms are unaware of is breast milk donation.
Whether you have extra breast milk to give or you are seriously struggling with your milk supply, there are options to both donate breast milk and accept donations of breast milk.
While some moms struggle to make enough milk for their baby, there are other moms who produce more breast milk than they could possibly need. I am here to tell you that breast milk donation is a very real thing that not enough moms know about.
As a breast milk donor, I am quite familiar with donating breast milk through a milk bank as well as donating directly to families in need. For many families, breast milk donation is literally the gift of life!
Where Can I Donate Breast Milk?
There are many milk banks which accept donor breast milk. Milk banks usually require the donor to be tested for diseases and drugs regularly. The donated breast milk will also be tested and pasteurized for the safety of the infants they serve. Milk banks should provide their donors with breast milk storage bags and shipping supplies.
Many Facebook groups allow donors to donate breast milk without going through a milk bank. Groups such as Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Eats on Feets are two of the most popular places on Facebook to donate breast milk. It is best to disclose if you had taken any medications while that milk was pumped. Some recipients would also like to be aware of caffeine and alcohol use.
A listing such as “Donation of breast milk – San Diego. I have 200 ounces of breast milk to donate to a family in need. I took Tylenol for pain while this milk was pumped” is a great example.
Where Can I Find Breast Milk Donations?
Breast milk that has been donated to a milk bank is usually used in hospitals nationwide. Often times, infants in the NICU will receive this milk when their mother is unable to provide breast milk for them.
Instead of searching for breast milk on sketchy “breast milk for sale” sites, most donors use Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Eats on Feets, as listed above. To give you extra peace of mind, it doesn’t hurt to ask your donor for references to whom they have donated to before. You may also pasteurize the breast milk at home. The act of donating breast milk within these groups relies on an honor system. I have yet to hear of horror stories regarding breast milk donations from these reputable groups.
It is much appreciated to offer breast milk storage bags to those who donate breast milk to your family, as these bags can become quite pricey for donors to purchase.
What About Formula?
When a mother cannot possibly provide her baby with breast milk (or enough breast milk), it can be devastating and brings on tons of mom guilt. Breast milk donation is truly a priceless gift for those who really need it.
Throughout my years of donating breast milk, I have come to find that many babies are allergic to formula, may have been born prematurely, cannot digest formula properly or struggle with health issues.
Sometimes formula is not an option for certain families. I have donated to twins with health problems, to a mother who was unable to breastfeed due to having had breast cancer and a double mastectomy, a couple who adopted, in addition to families who purely wanted to give their baby the best start in life on a breast milk diet.
How Can You Help?
When you find yourself thinking about ways to give back to your community, please remember that there are resources out there.
To learn more about what it’s like being a breast milk donor, please read my post about life as a breast milk donor.