Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for a new baby. It provide the proper nutrients, protects baby against infection and disease, and is easy to digest. There are situations, such as with premature births, that some moms cannot produce enough milk for their baby. And for fragile infants, human breast milk is critical. That’s where donated human milk comes in.
Who receives donated human milk?
Any baby who needs donor human milk will receive it as long as it is available. The baby must have a prescription from a health care provider. Parents can request their baby receive pasteurized human milk while in the hospital or NICU. About 85% of all donated milk is used in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Units). Donated milk is most often used when the infant has the following conditions:
- Immunologic deficiencies
- Feeding/formula intolerance
- Post-surgical nutrition/protection
- Inborn errors of metabolism
- Infectious diseases
- Moms who are unable to supply milk for their own babies
Mountain West Milk Bank
The Mountain West Milk Banks needs your help. They are asking for:
⦁ More moms to donate their valuable breast milk
⦁ More clinicians to order and prescribe human milk in the NICU
⦁ More milk collection sites to be formed.
The Mountain West Milk Bank is a nonprofit organization and serve their families as such. For profit organizations that accept freely donated milk from moms also serve babies, but they also gain profit and make money for their business, shareholders, etc.
How to Donate
How do you donate human milk? There are three steps you need to take.
1) You first need to apply and qualify as a donor. Call 877-367-9091 for screening and information. You most like qualify if:
- The milk you have previously pumped has been continuously frozen solid since pumping
- You are not taking medication or herbs on a regular basis
- Your baby is healthy and growing normally
- You are in good health
- You do not smoke, drink alcohol, or do illicit drugs
- You have not received blood or blood products in the past 12 months
- You have no history of hepatitis
- You have no history of intimate contact with anyone at risk for HIV/AIDS
2) You will need to have your blood drawn. You will be sent a packet containing forms that need to be filled out. You will also receive a blood-draw kit with instructions to follow. Most health care providers or labs will draw your blood for free if they know it is for your donation to a milk bank. If the lab charges you, save your receipt. You will be reimbursed.
3) Take the blood sample and the milk you want to donate directly to a drop-off location. If you are unable to donate in person, the milk bank will send you a cooler and ice packs with a pre-paid shipping label. Once received, pack the cooler with your milk and the blood sample, then follow the instructions for keeping it frozen during shipping.
For more information about human milk donation and the Mountain West Mothers’ Milk Bank visit giveyourmilk.org.