Have you ever donated your breastmilk to a milk bank?
Milk banks (containing donated breastmilk) are becoming more common around the world. Milk banks predominantly provide breastmilk for babies in the special care unit. Sometimes babies are born so early that it takes a while for a mum's breastmilk supply to be established particularly if the mum is also unwell (you can read more about breastfeeding a premature baby here).
Sick babies also benefit hugely from breastmilk (sometimes the mum's own breastmilk supply needs to be helped from the milk bank for a period of time) because it is gentle on their delicate digestive systems and aids immunity as well as protecting the gut from infection. This is in addition to the many, many other advantages of breastmilk including: its content of stem cells, less likelihood of developing eczema and type 2 diabetes, reduced risk of childhood cancer etc
Have you ever donated your breastmilk to a milk bank? Is this something you would consider?
I feel that donated breastmilk is an incredible gift to another baby and family. If you pump for the same amount of time each day then your breastmilk supply will adjust (breastmilk works on a supply and demand basis); so the extra milk being expressed will not affect your own baby's milk supply. Your local milk bank will check your health and that you meet their eligibility for donating milk. The donated breastmilk is pasturised. This is believed to be necessary in destroying any bacteria or viruses but it is one reason why a mothers own breastmilk is still preferential for any baby, however, donated pasturised breastmilk is still much more complex and nutritious than formula milk.
One mother whose baby received donated breastmilk is quoted by La Leche League as saying:
'Unless you have gone through months with a chronically ill infant, you cannot appreciate how glorious it is to enjoy a healthy, happy child. A baby so happy that after a feeding, he can lie in my arms and look up at me with contentment and trust instead of agony and confusion as to why eating is so awful.'
We look forward to hearing your views and experiences of donating to a milk bank.