I've been reading a lot in the press and online lately about the rise in mothers donating breast milk to other mothers in need that cannot produce their own breast milk. I see the benefits for both - the donor is doing something wonderful to help another baby and the baby is getting breast milk when they otherwise could not from their own mother.
Where I start to hesitate is when mother's aren't considering the risks - or chose to ignore them just to get breast milk, especially as more exchange groups form on line or in social networks like facebook. When you accept breast milk from another mother it's important to be informed & ask questions ....
- When was the milk pumped or how old is it?
- Was it properly stored?
- Did it sit out before being frozen?
- Was it in the fridge for a few days and then frozen?
- Has the donor had any alcohol?
- Is the donor on any medications?
- Does the donor have an infection?
- What about their sexual history?
I could go on, but you get the idea. Nothing in the above questions suggests the donor is intentionally compromising the breast milk - but hey mistakes and accidents happen. It's important to be informed.
If you're looking to donate your breast milk or are looking for breast milk for your baby - look for milk banks in your area. The breast milk and donors are processed and screened thoroughly, providing an additional level of protection as you feed your baby. The world of breast milk donation is ever growing around the world in several countries - especially thanks to all those exclusive pumpers & overproducers! For more information on milk banks, donating, or the process visit one of these great sites...
National Milk Bank - www.milkbank.org
Human Milk Banking Association of North America - http://www.hmbana.org/
Helping Hands Milk Bank - http://www.helpinghandsbank.com/