Lactating mothers who are producing excess breast milk that their babies do not need may consider donating it to a milk bank. Read to know more about breast milk donation.
Donor breast milk is clinically recommended for babies who do not have access to mother’s own milk, and it’s especially beneficial for preemies and babies with medical issues. If you’re producing more milk than your baby needs, you may consider donating the excess milk to a bank. This donor milk would immensely benefit other babies whose mothers may not be able to breastfeed them for certain reasons.
Dr. Vanessa Mascarenhas, Pharm D., Regional Medical Advisor, NeoLacta Lifesciences, says, “Dangers of not expressing milk can increase the risk of clogged ducts, mastitis and even breast cancer. Please consult with your lactation consultant who will guide you on the frequency and proper method of expressing the breast milk which your baby does not need.”
In an exclusive interaction with TheHeathSite, the expert also answers some of the FAQs about breast milk donation. Read on to clear your doubts:
How and where to donate breast milk?
While the process might differ slightly from one milk bank to the next, in general, you can expect accredited banks to follow this process.
- Contact the milk bank for pre-screening. You’ll be asked a list of questions to get to know a little about you and your baby, your general health, and how much milk you can donate.
- Complete donor forms. You’ll answer questions about your current health and health history, lifestyle, and medication use to determine your eligibility.
- Have a blood test. Potential donors are screened for HIV, hepatitis B, C, HTLV, and syphilis. The milk bank will give you instructions for having your blood drawn and will cover the cost of the test.
- Become an approved donor. After reviewing your forms and bloodwork, you’ll be informed whether you’re eligible or not to donate milk.
- Safely share your milk. You will be given instructions by the bank for clean, safe milk collection such as washing your hands, cleaning your pump and pump parts properly, where and how to store the collected milk, etc.
- The milk banks will provide the required bottles to store the expressed milk safely in your freezer.
- You don’t need to necessarily visit a milk bank to donate. Some will even arrange free pick up, while you continue donating from the comfort of your home.
Who is eligible to donate breast milk?
Mothers whose babies are in neonatal intensive care units, mothers of babies who have passed away but are willing to donate their milk, lactating working staff in the hospital, and motivated mothers within the society. Please note that these donations are purely for altruistic reasons and donors are not paid for their donations.
Who is not eligible to donate breast milk?
Mothers who are suffering from HIV, Hepatitis B or C, or Syphilis may transfer these diseases through breast milk and hence cannot donate their milk. Additionally, women who might be consuming illegal drugs, drinking alcohol, and/or smoking while lactating are also not eligible.
Ultimately, if you’re producing excess milk than your baby can consume consider donating it for the benefit of other babies in need. This will provide an immense sense of satisfaction knowing that something you would have thrown away is being put to good use, Dr. Mascarenhas concludes.
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