There are two beautiful sides to donor breast milk, the mother that donates the milk and the babies that receive it. There are many reasons that mothers choose to donate their milk and there are many reasons that babies need this liquid gold. Donated breast milk can be vital to babies are that in the NICU, underweight due to low milk supply, babies with low blood sugar before the mother’s milk supply is established and more.
The mamas that are able to provide this gift are able to for different reasons but they all have the same selfless quality and that is extending their milk to another. For some mothers, they have an over supply and rather than trying to lessen it, they pump after feedings and are able to produce freezer-fulls to donate. Some will continue to pump and donate after their child is finished breastfeeding. Then there are the stories of loss, mothers that pump their milk during their grieving process. Some find this as a connection to their child that passed. In all of these unique scenarios, the end result is a priceless gift.
If you would like to give the gift of breast milk, here are the steps to take:
- Call the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio at 614-566-0630. They will do an over-the-phone screening first. After the screening they will ship you a kit that includes the basic lab supplies, your donor ID and some containers for your milk. You can use your own containers as well.
- Once you receive your kit, call Health Foundations and make a quick lab appointment. When your labs have been drawn, we will ship them to Ohio for you. The reason for this is to confirm that it would be safe for you donate milk. They check for certain diseases such as HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis.
- After the full screening process, you can bring in your containers of milk to Health Foundations. The containers must be labeled with your Donor ID. We will ship them for you to the Ohio Milk Bank.
The following are some resources for families looking for donor milk:
- You can purchase donor milk from Health Foundations Birth Center. We ask that you call ahead to ensure that we have the milk in stock. You do not need a prescription or doctor's order. The cost is $13.53 for three ounces. The milk is frozen. Our staff ensures that you understand how to thaw and handle the donor milk.
- You can also purchase donor milk directly from the Mothers Milk Bank of Ohio 614-566-0630. If you are purchasing direct you will need a prescription from your pediatrician.
- There are local organizations that help coordinate mom-to-mom milk sharing which can be useful for long-term donor milk supplementation.
At Health Foundations Birth Center, our lactation consultants and postpartum nurses are here to assist you with any and all questions or lactation concerns you have related to breastfeeding your new baby.
We also have a group, Mama's Milk Hour, led by Jan Kaste, IBCLC. This group meets every Thursday at 2:30. It is free and open to the public. You have a chance to weigh your baby, nurse and weigh your baby again to get an idea of how much your baby is eating at each feeding. Jan is there for basic questions and advice.