Every year, 15 million babies worldwide are born preterm. Because many mothers of preemies have not yet begun generating milk, these babies may not receive much-needed nutrients in their first few weeks. A breast milk donation can be a godsend to the most vulnerable children, from premature babies to children of mothers unable to produce sufficient milk. Here’s how you can get involved.
If you are interested in making a breast milk donation, you might consider working with a milk bank. Currently, there are 18 milk banks in the U.S. and Canada affiliated with the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). Before donating breast milk, however, you will undergo a multi-step screening process.
Milk banks look for non-smokers in good health who can donate at least 150oz over several months. The ideal donation would come from a mom who gave birth no more than 18 months earlier. The biggest challenge? Keeping your caffeine intake below two cups per day (24oz max)!
These requirements ensure the quality of every single breast milk donation since it will be provided to premature infants with vulnerable immune systems. After receiving your donation, they will combine it with other donor milk, pasteurize it, and test it for any contaminants.
Another great option to consider is making a breast milk donation directly to mothers in your community. Two popular sites for these types of breastfeeding solutions are Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Eats on Feets. To donate through these sites, you should be prepared to send 24-30oz for children 1-6 months old.
While some women also sell breast milk, countless moms choose to share the wealth with growing babies who lack ready access to milk. They know that their donation will go a long way towards helping premature babies grow strong. If you have a freezer full of milk and want to share your bounty, then check out your local milk bank or direct donation site today.