Are You Planning to Donate Breast Milk? Here's A Guide

Breast milk donation is a very noble cause which can help preterm and needy babies get breast milk for their growth and development.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Jan 03, 2023 14:47 IST
Are You Planning to Donate Breast Milk? Here's A Guide

Breast milk is the finest nutrition choice for all infants because it is uniquely crafted by nature for the mother's own baby. When a mother is unable to breastfeed her child directly, the next best thing for her to do is to give the child her own expressed milk. Pasteurised donor human milk should be the next best option in cases where the mother's own milk is either unavailable or insufficient. WHO, UNICEF and the medical community agree that donor milk is far better than infant formula milk.

This donor human milk is provided by healthy, lactating women who willingly donate their extra milk to help other newborns while still providing for their own infant's nutritional needs, explains Dr. Shruti Jain, Certified Lactation Consultant, Childbirth Educator, Pre & Post-natal Exercise therapist, Physiotherapist and Manager - NeoLacta Lifesciences. There are a lot of women who pump milk and store it to feed the child. If you have extra breast milk stored in your freezer, you must donate it. Here is how breast milk donation works.

  • Milk banks are available in most major Indian cities; you might contact one near you. Look into milk banks that offer door-step services across India.
  • If your city does not have a local milk bank or if you find it tough to get your stash to the bank yourself in cold chain storage to ensure quality of milk is unaffected.
  • Registration process is the first stage in the process, which entails filling out a consent form and a medical questionnaire form that asks about your past medical history, present medications, etc.
 
donate breast milk
  • All donor moms must take a blood test to screen for syphilis, hepatitis B and C, and HIV. These tests should be covered by the milk bank you are contributing to.
  • Once the registration is done, you are provided with bags/bottles to collect excess milk. You can collect this milk from the convenience of your home.
  • Milk once collected must be stored in the deep freezer. Normally, you receive thorough instructions on how to maintain hygiene and how to sterilise the necessary equipment. Some milk banks might require you to visit in person and express milk at the facility itself.
  • You can drop off these bags at the facility once you have built up a stash for donations in the freezer. Some milk banks can arrange for a pick-up at your doorstep as well. Some milk banks & private players like Neolacta Lifesciences can arrange for a pick-up at your doorstep as well.
  • This donated milk is then sent to the testing facility where it is tested for contamination. After that, the milk is pasteurised and tested again for contamination. Then it is frozen, stored and supplied when there is a requirement.
breast milk donation

3.5 million preterm babies are born in India every year, which presents a special difficulty. We also have the greatest proportion of low birth weight infants as well as high rates of mortality and morbidity among those with very low birth weights (VLBW). Feeding these babies with an exclusive human milk diet can significantly reduce the risk of infections. To help the thousands of low birth weight and preterm babies, the government, medical professionals, and civil society must work together to spread the idea of human milk banking.

Image credits- freepik

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