Who benefits from Human Donor Milk?
There are approximately 1500 low birth weight babies in hospitals across Ontario a year and 70% of don’t have access to a full supply of their mother’s own milk, leaving them with reduced vital nutrients and protective properties. Donor milk could reduce their risk of life-threatening medical complications.
The families of medically fragile babies will benefit from knowing that there is donor breastmilk available for their baby to supplement mother’s own supply.
What may prevent a mother from being able to provide milk for her own baby?
Most mothers wish to provide breast milk for their sick or preterm baby but may not be able to provide a full volume of milk due to:
- Maternal illness or delivery complications that delay the establishment of a milk supply.
- Insufficient supply if pumping for multiple births (i.e. twins).
- Stress of having a hospitalized, sick baby.
- Lack of hormonal stimulation from not being able to put the baby to the breast.
- Chronic infection or medical condition that precludes breastfeeding.
- A breast infection that temporarily affects milk production.
- Geographical separation from the baby.
Who can donate their milk?
You may be able to donate your milk if you are currently lactating with an abundant milk supply or have recently stored a large volume of milk. Mothers with infant loss during pregnancy or bereaved mothers after delivery are welcomed to donate their breastmilk in memory of their baby to help others.
Are there health conditions that may prevent someone from donating?
Yes, women with specific health conditions such as HIV, active TB, hepatitis or chronic health conditions like multiple sclerosis or a history of cancer, are not eligible to donate milk.
Are donors paid for their milk?
Is there a cost for mothers to ship their milk to the Milk Bank?
No, shipping arrangements to the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank will be provided free of charge.
Is there a cost to receive milk?
No. Donor milk is provided free of charge to eligible hospitalized babies by prescription.