Breast milk is not called liquid gold for nothing. Did you know formula was not the only option you had for your little one if breast feeding does not work out?! Two months into my breastfeeding journey I noticed that I identified myself as being an overproducer. This means I was producing more milk per eating session than my baby needed…..Three times more! I quickly began filling my freezer and began running out of space. I had no idea what to do but knew this precious liquid. gold had so many benefits. Every ounce counted! One night I had a friend tell me about breast milk donation. I have never heard of this before, but there it was! That was my answer – becoming a breast milk donor. Milk donations can be classified into two groups: formal and informal.
There are certain rules one has to follow as a milk donor. All donors must adhere to the strict guidelines of the Human Milk Bank Association of North America, also known as HMBANA. Milk frozen cannot be older than 6 months kept in a regular freezer or greater than 12 months in a deep freezer. When pumping milk must be pumped into clean and sanitized pump parts and stored immediately. New donors were always screened and asked questions to ensure the milk being donated was in the best condition.
Breast milk donation has become much more popular over the years as social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram have many support groups. Many mothers will either post a story looking for a donor mama, or post a story looking for a baby to donate milk to! This is known as informal donation. There are no required medical exams unless the mother chooses to offer or ask for it. Mothers usually will disclose life style, dietary restrictions etc in order to narrow down families in need. Informal donation was the route I ended up going with, I put out a post and within minutes I had THIRTY moms asking for donor milk. WOW what a feeling! I sat there and read each and every message and then decided on which family, and make consistent donations. I began my journey three months postpartum to a little 8 month old baby girly. We would meet weekly and usually provide 2-3 gallon sized ziplock bags worth of milk separated in increments of 6oz. I was able to get her to her year mark. I was almost sure that 7 months into my journey I would somehow slow down in the production I had. Boy was I wrong!
After we got the baby girl. whom for privacy reasons I will refer her to her as Baby A, to her year mark, my freezer began quickly filling up again. I wanted to find another mommy I could help, and this time I was able to actually help someone I now consider a friend! Baby J was only 3 weeks when she began relying on my milk donations and she is currently 3 months and still thriving.
Whether you are a mom in need of milk, or one who simply over produces it, I’ve come to learn that the breast feeding community is one badass group of individuals!