02 FebDonating Breast Milk: Mothers Milk Bank

Abundant milk supply is what every breastfeeding mother dreams of having. Not all of us are as blessed to have such a gift, and if you do, your baby or babies are very lucky. However, sometimes having too  much milk is a problem. You hate to throw it away, but you already have more then enough for your baby, in fact you probably could nurse octuplets with the amount you produce.  So what do you do after you have filled up your freezer, the back up freezer, and fridge with expressed milk and you still are able to produce more then enough for your baby? Well, you can save a life simply by donating your excess breast milk.

Why Donate?

Babies of all ages benefit from the wonderful properties only breastmilk can provide.  However, not every mother is able to provide this essential source for her baby, and for some the antibiotic components of breastmilk are crucial for their fragile systems. Premature babies are especially vulnerable. Donor milk offers all the benefits of human milk for these babies who need this valuable source of nutrition to allow them to grow and develop without the risk of allergic reactions to formula proteins that their already compromised gut can’t handle. The donated milk provides optimal nutrition, easy digestibility, growth factors to promote maturation and healing of tissues, immunologic protection, and components for fighting infections. Premature babies are so susceptible, a simple cold to us can be life threatening to a premature infant. Human Milk has specific antibodies against respiratory and intestinal bacteria and viruses, which are known to increase a child’s resistance to infection not to mention other lifelong health benefits.

There are many milk banks through out the United States that are registered members of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Most of these are non profit organizations that thrive solely on the support from volunteers and donations from their community. Here are just a few highlighted organizations that are providing a wonderful gift to these new babies and their mothers.

South Coast Milk Bank is an independently owned and operated mother’s milk donation facility. Their goal is to provide a warm and friendly environment where mothers are able to donate breast milk, which will be collected and sent to the accredited screening company Prolacta for testing, pasteurization,  and formulation into nutritional products for premature infants.  These new specialty  formulations are sold to hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) around the country.  Prolacta is a privately held, scientifically-driven company committed to improving the quality of life for the most fragile infants through the balance of nature and science. South Coast Milk Bank has partnered with Prolacta Bioscience®  to help provide low birth weight, critically ill infants with specialty nutritional formulations made from 100% human breast milk..

Mothers Milk Bank is a non profit organization  located in San Jose, California that has been providing services for over 30 years. They are a charter member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, and is a licensed tissue bank. Since 1974 over 3,000 donors have generously provided over 1,000,000 ounces of milk to sick prematurity infants, babies and toddlers who were diagnosed with life threatening diseases or conditions. Some of the tiniest babies labeled “failure to thrive” were given the opportunity to live from the simplest of life sources, breast milk. These children with failing immune systems have been given a second chance at life. What a beautiful gift.

What can you do?

This fabulous organizations rely  on volunteer donors to provide human milk to be processed, sterilized, and distributed to those little lives who need it most. How does this work you  might ask? After the breast milk is collected, it is tested, pasteurized, and stored in the live milk bank.  Before accepting frozen milk from healthy lactating women, a specific screening process is done to ensure the safety for both the donating woman and the future accepting recipients. Once the milk has been screened and tested it is frozen and specially stored. When a baby is in need, the ordering physician writes a prescription, and the processed milk is provided to the compromised infant as a form of medicine.

No baby should be refused this special resource because of limited supplies. If you are interested in becoming a donor, a brief verbal medical history and review will be taken. A consent form and simple blood test will be done to ensure there are not underlying diseases that can be passed via the milk. Every drop of breastmilk is important in helping save the life of a new baby. If you are interested in becoming a donor please visit the below websites for further information. You could make a significant impact on the lives of these premature infants and their families with just a few ounces.

For more information please contact the following companies via their website below:

http://www.helpinghandsbank.com/

http://www.southcoastmilkbank.com/scmb/

www.milkbanksj.org

Copyright© 2011 Danielle Gauss/ JustBreastFeeding.com. All Rights Reserved

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