While mother’s own milk is the gold standard for infants, many mothers of hospitalized infants are not able to provide the necessary volume of milk for their babies. The Canadian Paediatric Society states that donor human milk is a recommended alternative to formula in the absence of mother’s own milk for very low birth weight and hospitalized medically fragile babies.
Who is eligible to donate?
You may be able to donate your breastmilk if you are lactating with an abundant milk supply or have recently stored a large volume of milk. Bereaved mothers who wish to pump and donate their breastmilk are also eligible to donate.
You must also be:
- In good health
- Free from smoking, illegal drug use and regular alcohol use
- Willing to complete a telephone interview
- Willing to undergo a blood test
- Willing to sign medical release forms
- Not currently taking medication (except some supplements)
- Willing to donate a minimum of 150 ounces or about five liters of milk (the Milk Bank Lactation Consultant will help you with pumping strategies)
- Nursing a baby who is less than one year of age
- Free of chronic infection (hepatitis B or C, or HIV)
- Have not had a tattoo, body piercing or permanent makeup within the past 12 months