Once you qualify, it’s an easy way to potentially save a life.
Breastfeeding is a great way to feed your baby. But not all mothers find it easy to do. Many women don’t produce enough milk to satisfy their child, and some don’t produce any at all.
Why this happens is complex, but the result is simple: it leaves parents seeking out alternatives, and quickly.
Most will turn to formula as answer, (which is just fine). Others may want another option, and this is where donated milk comes in.
If you’re a lactating woman producing more milk than you need, you may wish to donate it. When it comes to premature babies in hospital settings, you could be saving a life. Preemies are prone to infections and illnesses that can occur more often when they’re fed formula. Human breast milk helps to line their digestive tract with good bacteria, to ward off problems.
Here’s how to share your milk:
1) Pump Your Excess Milk
If you’re over producing, you’re likely already doing this. Don’t throw that liquid gold down the drain!
You can order freezer bags to store it all, online. Remember to check the temperature of your freezer. As a general rule of thumb, you can often store frozen milk safely in a deep freezer for about twice as long as you can in a fridge-freezer.
2) Freeze It
This seems straightforward, but it can get tricky. You need to have enough room to store your milk before a service can pick it up for you. You may have to consider buying a deep freezer if you don’t already have one.
3) Find a Milk Bank
Milk banks take donated milk and give it to babies in need. Many times, they are located in neonatal intensive care units in hospitals.
The Human Milk Banking Association of North America, and the National Milk Bank are great places to start. If they aren’t in your area, there could be an informal donation system to be found online. Just ensure it’s reputable and following common guidelines.
4) Verify That You Qualify
Do you qualify as a donor? There is a list of criteria to meet for milk banks. Check yours of choice and see if you fit.
5) Sign Up and Donate
That’s it! Once you’ve signed up, a representative will visit your home to help you label your milk and gather it. Job well done!
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