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Donating Breast Milk

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There are a lot of things you simply don’t know about your breasts before you have kids. I, for one, didn’t know that boobs can leak or grow exponentially. And I certainly didn’t know that you can donate your breast milk. It simply never occured to me that you can donate breast milk in the same way that you can donate blood.
Welcome to the wild wild west of parenting. Lots to know. Lots to know.
Here’s the scoop. Milk banks have been around since the turn of the century. The first one opened in 1909 in Vienna, Austria. In 1919, milk banks opened in Boston and Germany. Today, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) is a non-profit that is sets the standards and guidelines for milk banks in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. It was founded in 1985. There are currently 11 milk banks that distribute the milk to hospitals, and babies who are home and need breast milk. Sometimes they are even able to help babies who have been adopted.
The milk banks screen donors and carefully process and pasteurize the milk. If you’re interested in becoming a donor, contact the milk bank closest to you.
In addition to the milk banks that are affiliated with the HMBANA, there is now also a company called Prolacta. This for profit operation is also collecting breast milk and selling it to hospitals.
Prolacta recently announced a deal with the University of Minnesota Medical Center to collect milk. Like the milk banks of HMBANA, Prolacta then sells the milk back to hospitals. Only it charges a lot more. This recently caught the attention of some of my fellow breast feeding bloggers. To read The Lactivist’s take on Prolacta, click here.
Prolacta is also a sponsor of an organization called The International Breast Milk Project that collects milk and sends it to children in Africa who are orphans because their parents had HIV. Here’s a news story about donations to children in South Africa.
Whatever your take on Prolacta, I think the main thing to focus on here is that there are moms out there whose generosity is helping improve the lives of babies who need help. Think about how tiring it is to feed and care for your own children. Now consider that these donors are also taking the time to pump milk to help babies that they’ll never meet.
Breast milk donors, we applaud you!

3 Responses to “Donating Breast Milk”

Hi!!!I’m a new mom, and want to donate some breastmilks, can you help me find an organization near my place (Chicago IL) where I can give them to? Thank you so much, hoping for your reply…

Hey, i live in new brunswick, oromocto/ fredricton just wondering if theres anywhere i can donate milk down here!!

Here’s the link to the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. There is a Canadian location, but some of the US locations are closer to you. Contact them directly and see what they have to say.

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