Thinking of Donating Your Breastmilk? Read This First.

Many women who pump for their babies often find that they have way more than their baby will ever consume. It is at this point that the thought of donating that extra milk to a needy baby comes to mind.

There are three ways of milk donation that are available so far:

  • Informal milk donation, mother-to-mother
  • Formal milk donation to a HMBANA milk bank, to help babies in the NICU
  • Formal milk donation to Prolacta Bioscience, a for-profit milk processing company, usually through a milk depot that calls itself a “milk bank”

Breastmilk donation is one of the most beautiful, pure, and selfless acts a mother could do for another. Unfortunately, some people are exploiting this generosity and using it for their own ends. If you are a mother intent on donating your excess breast milk to help a needy baby, one option that will allow you to be sure that your intended recipient is a baby and not a for-profit milk processing company is informal milk donation. Informal milk donation is when you donate your breastmilk directly to the family that will be feeding their baby with it. The biggest hurdle with this for most milk donors and recipients seems to be finding a family near them that either needs milk or has a surplus of it.




Original Source :

feeling social, share this

Criteria for human breast milk donors

Who can donate human breast milk?
• A lactating woman who:

• is in good health, good health-related behavior, and not regularly on medications or herbal supplements (with the exception of prenatal vitamins, human insulin, thyroid replacement hormones, nasal sprays, asthma inhalers, topical treatments, eye drops, progestin-only or low dose estrogen birth control products);

• is willing to undergo blood testing for screening of infections; and  has enough milk after feeding her baby satisfactorily and baby is thriving nicely.


Who cannot donate?

A donor is disqualified who:

• uses illegal drugs, tobacco products or nicotine replacement therapy; or

• regularly takes more than two ounces of alcohol or its equivalent or three caffeinated drinks per day; or
• has a positive blood test result for HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B or C or syphilis; or
• is herself or has a sexual partner suffering from HBV, HIV, HCV and venereal diseases OR either one has high risk behavior for contracting them in last 12 months; or
• has received organ or tissue transplant, any blood transfusion/blood product within the prior 12 months.
• is taking radioactive or other drugs or has chemical environmental exposure or over the counter prescriptions or mega doses of vitamins, which are known to be toxic to the neonate and excreted in breastmilk; or
• has mastitis or fungal infection of the nipple or areola, active herpes simplex or varicella zoster infections in the mammary or thoracic region.


feeling social, share this

Who can be a donor of human breast milk

The donor population is formed by healthy lactating mothers with healthy babies, who are voluntarily willing to give their extra breast milk for other babies without compromising the nutritional needs of their own baby. The donors can include mothers attending well baby clinics, mothers whose babies are in neonatal intensive care units, those who have lost their babies but are willing to donate their milk, or lactating working staff in the hospital, and motivated mothers from the community. Donors are not paid for their donations. Try to reach maximum donor population using variety of avenues. Spreading awareness about possibility of human breast milk donation in society by various means including mass communication can help in motivating donors. NGOs, social clubs and college students can play a good role in it.

Source :

feeling social, share this

Who can be a receiver of human breast milk:

Absent or insufficient lactation: Mothers with multiple births, who can not secrete adequate human breastmilk for their neonates initially.

• For babies of non-lactating mothers, who adopt neonates and if induced lactation is not possible.
• Abandoned neonates and sick neonates.
• Temporary interruption of breastfeeding.
• Infant at health risk from breastmilk of the biological mother.
• Babies whose mother died in the immediate postpartum period.

Source :

feeling social, share this

We need to promote the culture of donating breast milk

Author(s): Ratnika Sharma
Dec 11, 2012 | From the print edition

Armida Fernandez, founder trustee of Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action, started the first human milk bank in India in 1989 in Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital in Mumbai. There are currently seven milk banks in the country, functioning in various hospitals. Four are in Mumbai and one each in Pune, Hyderabad and Baroda. Fernandez spoke to Ratnika Sharma at the World Breastfeeding Conference held in Delhi between December 6 and 9 about the logistics and challenges of setting up a breast milk bank.

Armida Fernandez

Armida Fernandez

What is the Human Milk Bank all about? How does it work in the Indian context?

A human milk bank is essentially like a blood bank except that it stores human breast milk and is used for premature or sick babies or whose mothers cannot express milk naturally. In India, it works as a hospital-based collection wherein we collect milk from lactating mothers, then pasteurize it and cold store it. We have a supervised milk collection, which is based on certain criteria like the mother should be HIV negative, Hepatitis B negative and free from veneral diseases.

How much will it roughly cost to set up a milk bank in a hospital? What are the logistics?

Setting up a milk bank is very cost effective and the equipment, like shaker bath, freezer and pumps cost very little. It would cost around Rs 4 to 5 lakh at the most. If there are not enough nurses at the hospital, then one would have to spend on a separate nurse to help the donors and a part-time technician. And you would probably need a 800 sq feet room, that’s all!

How much milk do you get from donors in a day? Does all of it get consumed?

We get around 50 ml of milk from one mother on an average and we get around 75 donors, so around three-and-a-half litres of milk each day. We cater to around 20 to 25 sick and premature babies who need breast milk from the milk bank. A normal baby needs around 80 to 150 ml of milk per kg of his/her weight, sometimes one feed is enough and sometimes several are required. The discard rates are less than 0.1 per cent because the demand is always more than supply. Moreover, the donated milk has a shelf life of up to six months thus, further reducing the chances of wastage.

Do you find it difficult to convince mothers to donate milk because they tend to be possessive about it? Is there any socio-cultural hindrance?

When we started in the late 80’s, there were no formula food or any alternate source of milk so it was an accepted norm that some mothers had to donate milk for needy babies. Once the trend was started, mothers got used to the idea and donated freely. But of course, these days it takes time to convince mothers in hospitals. Since we have hospital-based donation system, we cannot persuade women through advertisements, but once the trend is set, people follow. As far as the cultural barriers are concerned, that was never the problem. The practice of wet nursing has been there since the time of Krishna.

What is the biggest challenge in initiating this project? How many milk banks will we need in order to cater to orphaned babies as well?

The biggest challenge is to convince the hospital administration that we need a milk bank, especially in hospitals that have large ICUs. A baby needs milk not only at one stage but at several stages of his/her growth. And our hospital caters to abandoned babies if they are brought to the hospital. The need of the hour is to get the culture of breastfeeding and donating breast milk going. All big hospitals must have a milk bank to ensure a healthier future.


Original Post:

feeling social, share this