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Premature and seriously ill infants can benefit greatly from breast milk. Learn about the requirements of becoming a donor and the different avenues to get those important nutrients into the little babes who are desperately in need.
Requirements to become a breast milk donor differ from place to place. If you are thinking about donating milk, keep reading to educate yourself on the different ways to become a donor.
Most places have very similar requirements. Here are a few of the most popular:
- Donors should be in good health
- Not be on regular medications including herbal supplements
- Be willing to undergo blood testing
- Be willing to donate a minimum amount of milk (which differs depending on the milk bank you choose)
- Donors cannot use illegal drugs or tobacco products
- May not have received a blood transfusion or organ transplant recently
- Is not at risk for contracting HIV
- Donor does not regularly consume alcohol
- If the donor is still nursing they must prove their child is healthy and growing
Different ways to donate
donate through a non-profit national milk bank
There are 11 different national milk banks in the US. Choose the milk bank closest to your home. After you go through the screening process you will then be able to drop your milk off at your milk bank, or, if you live too far they will help you make arrangements for you to mail your donation overnight at no cost.
- Mothers’ Milk Bank located in San Jose, California
- Mothers’ Milk Bank located in Denver, Colorado
- Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank located in Indianapolis, Indiana
- Mothers’ Milk Bank of Iowa located in Coralville, Iowa
- Bronson Mothers’ Milk Bank located in Kalamazoo, MI
- Heart of America Mothers’ Milk Bank located in Kansas City, Missouri
- Mother’s Milk Bank located in Newtonville, Massachusetts
- WakeMed Mothers’ Milk Bank and Lactation Center located in Raleigh, North Carolina
- Ohio Health Mothers’ Milk Bank located in Columbus, Ohio
- Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin located in Austin, Texas
- Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas located in Ft. Worth, Texas
donate through a milk depot
A milk depot is a milk bank location that is still in the process of becoming a national milk bank. These locations are still undergoing mentor-ship with recognized milk banks. They may or may not be ready to accept breast milk. If they are set up to accept donations they are still a safe option for donating your extra breast milk and have the same screening processes. Here are the current milk depots in the US:
- Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida located in Orlando, Florida
- Mothers’ Milk Bank of Mississippi located in Flowood, Mississippi
- Oklahoma Mothers’ Milk Bank Inc located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Northwest Mothers’ Milk Bank located in Portland, Oregon. Contact through e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
donate through local hospital
Making a donation through your local hospital or medical center is a wonderful option. Check with the lactation consultant at your hospital to see if they accept donations and what their specific requirements are. This is an especially great option if you don’t have a nationally recognized milk bank in your area and will save you the extra step of mailing out your milk. You can simply drop off your donation while running your regular errands.
donate to a friend or relative
Donating to a friend or relative is always an option, though you might not be prepared for when it happens. If you find yourself donating to a friend in need don’t neglect your own needs and those of your baby. There won’t be anyone checking up on you making sure that your nursing baby is getting enough nutrients. Don’t exhaust yourself with pumping, and be sure to keep a little extra on hand in case of your own emergencies.
However you decide to donate breast milk, you will surely be rewarded knowing that you helped nourish a little life in a way that nothing else can. If you have experience donating breast milk please share about it in our comments section.