Sunday, July 27, 2008

donating breastmilk

Sometimes because of adoption or a health issue with the mother (taking certain medicines, for instance) a mom can't produce safe milk for her baby. The mom can be stuck thinking that her only option is now formula feeding.

Chris commented on my post about the breastfeeding class I went to, and she reminded me that I wanted to talk about donating milk for this kind of situation. This is SUCH a good thing to do! Nursing moms operate on supply and demand, so if you plan it properly and pump between feedings, it's totally possible to have enough milk to feed your own baby AND to donate.

The really important thing to realize is that a baby benefits by having real human milk even if it's not from the baby's own mom. Even if you only get an ounce or two per day of extra, that's a little benefit for someone's baby that wouldn't have happened otherwise.

I found out after the class that there is actually a milk donation center being set up for New England, and that I can be connected up with them so I can participate in their program if I want to. I haven't found out much more than that yet, but I will be, and will post what I find.


Alison said...

I have thought about this since I found out that Chris was doing it and I have to say that I am incredibly impressed with any woman who can make this happen for someone else.
Now that you bring it up again, I'll have to put more thought. If this baby is more inclined to COOPERATE with feedings, I just may have to jump on the bandwagon myself...

Christibale said...

Yay. That is exciting.

Please, please do me a favor and don't donate to a milk bank though. They take the milk and pasteurize it and then sell it for $10 per ounce and upwards to moms with premature babies in the hospital.

By the time the milk gets to the baby, it is dead because of the pasteurization, and the milk bank makes a killing on it. Many banks claim that it takes $10 per ounce to process it.

My suggestion would be to jump on forums around you and find and meet moms around you who would benefit from it. Easier to deal with but also the baby gets milk and you often get to meet the baby you are helping.

I was going to try to pump for a mom that needs milk now, but with Daphne being almost 18 months, it really just is very hard to get much milk.

Melissa said...

I suspected something like that might be the case. I am definitely wary of getting involved with the exact sort of corporate setup you described! I know there are other things like breastfeeding groups and stuff in my area --I will check them out too for SURE. :)

Markita said...

When Alex was but a babe in arms, I donated milk for a research project about selenium (sp?) and comparisons with Indian (from India) mothers. I also could actually pump while he was nursing on one side and get enough for the study.

with Eric, another mother needed milk for her baby, so I donated lots for her. This was after Eric was home from the hospital so he was well on his way to gaining lots of weight. Lots of the milk was frozen for later. I didn't have an electric pump for either time.

Markita said...

And I'm really glad that you can think about this. I just heard stuff through the grapevine and through my midwife [for the planned home birth that didn't happen with Eric], but they were great during the birth and after to help with getting healed from the emergency c-section.