Author Topic: Donating breast milk - do it while you can!  (Read 666 times)

chaskavitch

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Donating breast milk - do it while you can!
« on: October 03, 2017, 06:13:38 AM »
I'm posting this mostly as a PSA for anyone breastfeeding who is able to or wants to donate their milk - do it sooner rather than later! 

The milk bank nearest me, Mother's Milk Bank, requires a 150 oz minimum donation.  I have over 180 oz that I froze between last November and now, because I was a bit overzealous "just in case".  Turns out they'll only take milk from February on, which means I have a whopping 36 oz that they'll accept.  I feel terrible for having all of that frozen breast milk that no one will ever use, when it could possibly have helped so many families with premature babies. 

I'm trying to work through the backlog while baby is at daycare, and freeze what I'm pumping at work, but I'm not producing nearly as much at 16 months post-partum as I was earlier, so I'm not sure I'll make it back up to the minimum volume. 

iowajes

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Re: Donating breast milk - do it while you can!
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 10:33:07 AM »
For your non-donatable milk, you may look at mother to mother sharing such as Human Milk for Human Babies (google it).  I'm also very active in a local facebook breastfeeding group and there is SO much milk sharing there.  I'm personally not comfortable with accepting non-screened milk, and supplemented with formula when I needed it rather than accept, but many Moms seem fine with it.

And  there are always soothing milk baths if you have a lot of extra.

(But very good reminder.  I can't donate because I refrigerate my pump parts between sessions and the milk bank here requires them to be washed each use. At work I have no way to do that.)

FireHiker

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Re: Donating breast milk - do it while you can!
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 12:06:46 PM »
I used Human Milk for Human Babies to donate my excess six years ago; I'm glad it's still around.

chaskavitch

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Re: Donating breast milk - do it while you can!
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2017, 01:12:20 PM »
I'm glad to know there's another option!  I am hoping to get enough to donate to the Milk Bank as well, mostly by feeding my little one frozen and donating what I get at work, but I doubt I'll make it through 140 oz of frozen milk that way.

ysette9

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Re: Donating breast milk - do it while you can!
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 01:49:02 PM »
Like others, I found a few groups on FB for donating my excess milk when the official milk bank wouldnít take my milk this time around. I am suffering from oversupply brought on by exclusively pumping after my preemie was born. The FB groups came through when my chest freezer was literally full to the brim.

I found out the hard way that my milk didnít last that long last time around. I second the vote to donate early just in case you end up with a similar problem.
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Proud Foot

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Re: Donating breast milk - do it while you can!
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2017, 08:17:28 AM »
The facebook groups were amazing! My wife met several very nice women that she has continued to keep in contact with. We used the group to get breast milk after we adopted our son and made it almost 9 months before we had to buy formula (with the exception of a quick trip for a funeral). It helped out a lot with keeping expenses down during that time period!

Sweetpotatofries

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Re: Donating breast milk - do it while you can!
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2017, 08:34:39 AM »
Another vote for Human Milk 4 Human Babies or Eats on Feets. My son is only 8 months but I just nurse him and every day I pump once in addition...which has led to an extra 100-140 ounces per month/about 1,000 extra thus far. I've donated 500 oz via Human Milk 4 Human Babies, to moms whose milk didn't come in well with preemies, and plan to donate another big chunk this month.

The milk banks have different criteria for different time periods based on type of freezer used. We have a chest freezer but the oldest they'll take is 10 months because the maximum age for giving it to a NICU preemie is 12 months and you need to account for travel time, etc.

lazy-saver

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Re: Donating breast milk - do it while you can!
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2017, 02:43:23 PM »
Once you have enough frozen milk to last as long as you want your baby drinking it while youíre working, you can stop pumping (you may want to factor in a little extra for supplementing on weekends when your supply will be lower during work hours than if you were pumping.)

My son is 13 months and gets cows milk at daycare and a little on weekends and nurses a lot at home. I stopped pumping when I had enough in the freezer to last until he was a year.

A significant caveat is that most women need three or four sessions per day to maintain a supply, so if youíre nursing some at home but less than that you would want to continue to make up the difference with pumping even if you had enough in the freezer.

It sounds like youíre going by the rule of milk being good in the freezer for a year which makes more sense for an older healthy baby than a preemie. I donít know how much from what dates you have, but thereís a decent chance you can use all this milk yourself as long as you cycle through it for now.

chaskavitch

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Re: Donating breast milk - do it while you can!
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2017, 02:53:39 PM »
Once you have enough frozen milk to last as long as you want your baby drinking it while youíre working, you can stop pumping (you may want to factor in a little extra for supplementing on weekends when your supply will be lower during work hours than if you were pumping.)

My son is 13 months and gets cows milk at daycare and a little on weekends and nurses a lot at home. I stopped pumping when I had enough in the freezer to last until he was a year.

A significant caveat is that most women need three or four sessions per day to maintain a supply, so if youíre nursing some at home but less than that you would want to continue to make up the difference with pumping even if you had enough in the freezer.

It sounds like youíre going by the rule of milk being good in the freezer for a year which makes more sense for an older healthy baby than a preemie. I donít know how much from what dates you have, but thereís a decent chance you can use all this milk yourself as long as you cycle through it for now.

I've been pumping at work at the same time I'd be putting him down for a nap at home.  It's true, I probably don't need to anymore, but he really doesn't show any signs of wanting to wean, and I don't know when I'll want to start pushing in that direction. 

Now that I've been in contact with the milk bank, I've been freezing what I'm pumping, then thawing the oldest bags (~10 months old) for daycare.  I'm still pumping 4-5 oz a day, 16-20 oz a week, so hopefully I'll catch up to their minimum and then donate the remaining frozen supply through a Facebook group.

lazy-saver

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Re: Donating breast milk - do it while you can!
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2017, 04:14:35 PM »
It sounds like youíve found a solution youíre happy with, so thatís good.

For anyone else reading this looking for other approaches to milk stashes: you can stop feeding your baby pumped milk any time either before or after you wean. Weíre doing well with the former, and I know some people continue to give their toddlers breastmilk in a cup for some time after weaning.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2017, 05:06:40 PM by lazy-saver »

calimom

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Re: Donating breast milk - do it while you can!
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2017, 05:42:50 PM »
Kudos to all of you who donate. A dad from my young widows' group, whose wife died in childbirth received donations from a milk bank for over a year to take care of his tiny daughter. Like many of us, his late wife's desire was to breastfeed, and in the face of this terrible loss the dad was able to keep her wish.