donating breast milk

Julian’s first nursing

I wrote a few weeks ago that after learning that the freezers at the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Denver were very low, I had been considering donating my breast milk. I decided to go ahead with the screening process (which is quite thorough, let me tell you) and finally got my paperwork completed and mailed off yesterday. Now I wait for them to review it and, if I qualify, call me to come in for a blood test and to pick up my loaner breast pump from them.

I feel very fortunate and blessed to have had an ample supply of breast milk over the past nearly three years and to have grown one child on it as well as my 4 1/2-month-old who is, of course, still thriving on it alone. I am happy to now have the opportunity to share my milk with other babies in need.

If you are wondering in this day and age, with formula readily available, why milk banks are so important, take a look at this article. The majority of milk from the milk banks goes to babies who are sick or need milk because of medical conditions such as formula intolerance or feeding issues related to prematurity.

Milk banks exist because many babies will not thrive without human milk. Infants with failure to thrive (FTT), formula intolerance, allergies and certain other medical conditions may require real human milk for health and even for survival.

There’s also some very interesting information here about the history of milk banking, including information about the history of wet nursing and artificial feeding (i.e. formulas).

If you are interested in donating* your milk, please visit Human Milk Banking Association of North America to learn more and find a milk bank in your area. Or if you are looking for a worthy place for your tax-deductible donation, please consider making a donation to a milk bank. Milk banks are non-profit organizations and depend on community and private donations to keep the doors open.

Thank you!

*Please note that they require your baby be no older than 6 months when you start donating, so if you are interested, please don’t delay in starting the screening process.

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11 thoughts on “donating breast milk

  1. How incredibly cool and generous of you, Amy. I never knew this possibility even existed. Oy, the things i learn from you!!!

  2. I have heard of this!!!

    My daughter has such extreme allergies that everything I ate affected her and also all of the readily available formulas on the market she can’t tolerate… She is on a VERY expensive prescription formula so for the lil ones that can accept breastmilk but for one reason or another it’s not available to them this could really make life easier for many families.

    That is very generous of you to not only donate your milk but also your time and energy that is involved. :)

  3. Sweden (where I am moving in a few years) has a lot more breastfeeding and a lot more milk banks (proportionately). If I have supply problems with a future child, I think I will try donated milk before formula, if possible.

    You’re so lucky to have such a great supply!

  4. Hi Amy,

    I often read your blog, but haven’t yet commented, since I’m not a mom and haven’t had anything to contribute. But this post really interested me (kudos to your for being so generous by the way!) I want to adopt one day, and my only concern is not being able to breastfeed an adopted baby. Would milk banks consider giving milk to adopted babies too? I feel like this opens a whole new realm of possibilities!

  5. k – thank you. always glad to teach you (or anybody) something new. :)

    erinne – thanks. wow – that must have been so difficult trying to diagnose your daughter’s extreme allergies. i’m glad you found something that works for her. i hope she outgrows them too.

    antropologa – that’s awesome that sweden has more milk banks. i hope that more continue to start up in the US too.

    bazu – thanks for coming out of lurkdom. :) it’s nice to meet ya. i believe that the milk banks will give milk to adopted babies if they have excess, but i think it goes to sick/premature babies first. also, i know a doctor’s prescription is required and, unfortunately, it’s not cheap to get the milk. because so much processing/storing is involved, the milk banks have to charge a fee to cover their costs, but they are a non-profit organization.

  6. How great of you to do this! I don’t know if I will be having any more children. But if I do, I think this would be a wonderful honor. Thanks for the information.

  7. Hi Amy –

    Thanks so much for talking about milk banking. It’s so important to talk about the existence of non-profit milk banks in the US…word of mouth is the best way to spread the word!

    For your pals who may reside in Texas, the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin accepts donor moms whose babies are up to 12 months old.

    Never forget…you are giving the gift of life. Thank you!

    Megan L. Hartman, Outreach Director
    Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin
    http://www.milkbank.org

  8. Amy, thank you so much for your reply and the information and links. Inducing lactation- wow- I have a lot to learn! As I said previously, you are opening my eyes to lots of new possibilities. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’!

  9. Wow, thanks Amy! I just looked up the milk bank closest to me and I’m going to see if I can donate! I make tons of milk, and I’d love to help out in this way also.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

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