Help & Advice
The Importance of Breastmilk Donation
If you are pumping more breastmilk than you need for your family, you may want donate it. This is a personal choice, but it’s a wonderful way to help babies in need. Lansinoh recommends that women considering breastmilk donation look to the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) for detailed information and donation guidelines. We support HMBANA because they provide SAFE, PASTEURIZED donor milk and have a thorough screening process for their donors. We’re excited to share this amazing story from a breastfeeding mom who made an incredible donation to a HMBANA site in North Carolina:
In 2012, 1 in 9 babies born in the U.S. was born prematurely (CDC). Premature infants face a multitude of struggles, but with pasteurized human donor milk, the number of struggles can be reduced.
Mothers of preemies may be physically and emotionally stressed and unable to produce milk or a premature baby may be too weak to latch for feedings. Breastmilk is highly encouraged, as premature infants are at increased risk of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), a potentially fatal intestinal infection. Breastmilk is easy to digest and has antibacterial properties which protect the intestinal lining.
Healthy moms with excess supply are candidates to become donors. Since certain drugs and communicable diseases can be transmitted through breastmilk, health screenings, including a blood screening, are necessary. At the time milk is expressed, the donor must have a child under the age of one year. Breastmilk properties change over the course of one year beginning with colostrum, or first milk, and changing throughout the months to mature milk. For this reason, donor milk is pooled upon receipt at Milk Banks to ensure a balance of nutrients for premature infants who consume the milk. After pooling and further screening, milk is pasteurized and packaged before being distributed to hospitals across North America.
As a public health instructor and mom of two, it was very important to me to be able donate my excess breastmilk -- over 4,880 ounces, approximately 38 gallons, of it! Premature infants need the best nutrition available and through donation using Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags, I did not lose a single drop of liquid gold. Are your drops, or ounces, or gallons just as precious? Absolutely. Every drop matters.
If you are a nursing mother with extra supply (at minimum 200 oz.) consider giving this meaningful gift. One ounce may seem so small, but can be multiple feedings for small tummies. For more information, please visit www.HMBANA.org to find a Milk Bank location near you.
Kelli Russell, WakeMed N.C. Milk Donor
Center for Disease Control & Prevention