I have over 2000 ounces of breast milk on my freezer but I don’t know how to go about donating. My baby is 2 months and 3 weeks old…I produce so much that i need to give some to mothers who need it.
I am a pediatrician who has also donated breast milk informally. The neonatologist who suggested donating to a milk bank might not be aware that the milk banks have very strenuous standards; they would not accept my milk because I take fenugreek to increase my milk supply. The friend of a friend to whom I donated the milk instead was very grateful, as she had a baby who refused to drink formula. I am glad that informal milk sharing networks are available and that I was able to help out a baby in need, even though I did not qualify to donate to the milk bank.
My first two were nursed for a year and needed no formula. My third had to be supplemented for reasons I won’t get into on here and I eventually switched to full-time formula at almost 7 months. By the time I got around to my third child and had some experience parenting and being around other parents who formula fed (and their kids), I had a more balanced view of the whole breast milk/formula debate. I was upset that I had to use formula, and I will admit to looking at breast-milk sharing sites initially. However, because of the very concerns outlined in this post, I could never bring myself to use another person’s milk. The bottom line is, the pendulum has shifted so far to the extreme when it comes to how we view a bodily fluid (which is what it is) that many can’t see the forest for the trees. Nursing is rewarding and wonderful and healthy…..IF the mother is herself very healthy and eats well, there is little stress involved, and the baby is getting enough to eat. And even if all those factor in, it’s food, not magic. My oldest still got autism despite never having formula. They all have still gotten sick from time to time. My third who got formula has never had an antibiotic at 2 and a half and is as healthy (if not more so) as the other two. We don’t need the pendulum to swing back in favor of formula as the ideal like used to be assumed, but we do need a better perspective about the whole thing. When will we reach that happy medium? I think we’re slowly getting there, but until moms aren’t afraid to let the world know they are supplementing, until they aren’t going to ridiculous extremes to give their child only breast milk, until I stop seeing women bragging about how long they breastfed, until I stop seeing these kinds of posts all over the internet…..we haven’t gotten where we need to be yet. Just my 2 cents.
Very well said. My husband and I have gone through a very odd situation where my stepsons mom had received breastmilk from random girls off a Facebook group and fed it to him when he was 6 months old.. (my stepsons mother also admitted to smoking marijuana throughout her pregnancy and my stepson tested positive for thc at birth but that’s another issue in itself) and also had donated to the same Facebook group she received the milk from, and I can say for certain, she most definitely left out the huge factor that, she had previously and could have risked her own son’s health and wellbeing during pregnancy while negotiating donations she later herself arranged. I am a registered nurse and know the risks and benefits of not only breastfeeding and breastmilk but also alot about the risks of sharing basically ANY kind of bodily fluid. How is informal breastmilk donating not illegal? As mentioned in the article, how comfortable would you feel if you had to receive a blood transfusion or an organ transplant without having the proper lab workup, examinations and testing beforehand that ultimately prevents you from basically dying? Not to mention how contagious people are that are knowingly sick with the stomach flu or strep throat (bacterial and viral infections etc).. and a lot of those people are sharing a VERY minimal amount of bodily fluid (saliva!- not even blood.. saliva doesn’t even transmit HIV). I feel this is extremely reckless on a mother’s part for not considering the best interests of their child and I apologize for being blunt, but we are talking about babies, and infants as well, both of which have little immune systems and shouldn’t be willfully or willingly subjected to that. Milk banks may be strict, but let’s be realistic here, they really should be. How would ANYONE feel if they received unscreened milk from a bank (free or expensive) and then had their baby become sick or actually contracted HIV or hepatitis c or anything? To me, informal sharing is risky and what you are risking when participating in this is huge and could potentially cost a babies life. Babies and children are already exposed to things that we have no control over, so why purposely expose them to the chance of getting a life threatening illness or disease? This just baffles me.
My son was born 07/01/2014. Thanks to the help of almost 30 women (all but one I met after I had my son) he had 5 oz or more breast milk everyday until 01/01/2018.
From birth to 8 days old I attempted to nurse. From 8 days to about 3 to 4 months I nursed with an sns, pumped and used donor milk and formula. (I have IGT and made 2.5 oz per 24 hours myself)
By the time i returned to work aftwr 12 weeks on I was able to feed him exclusive breast milk due to the help of (former) strangers who are now lifelong friends and have forever imprinted themselves on my life, my son’s life, and the lives of many other moms and families they share with.
I could write an entire article about the past 3.5 YEARS of using donor milk and the AMAZING women I met.
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