Breastfeeding mums: have you ever considered milk donation?
After I had Charlotte, I was tandem-feeding and still had an oversupply! A friend, who is also a La Leche League leader, told me about the Wirral milk bank, so I promptly contacted them and donated until Charlotte was one. Because that milk went to the preemies in hospital, I couldn’t donate to them after that. I then looked into Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB), but no one in my area needed milk. I really don’t like expressing (I hand express), but do if someone needs it.
When Leo was born, I looked into donating to a milk bank again, but I’m not eligible due to the time I lived in England. My supply hasn’t been as abundant due to Leo’s latching issues, but I figured I could donate some. I hadn’t gotten around to looking at HM4HB and really hadn’t thought much about it until I heard of someone who’s been approved for adoption. I then offered to express some until she could (hopefully) induce lactation. She accepted, so I’ve been eating loads of oats to up my supply (it works) and expressing.
Why do I do this when I dislike expressing milk? Because breastmilk is best for babies. If I couldn’t breastfeed for some reason, I’d want to have donated milk on hand, or even get a friend to be a wet nurse. The WHO lists donor milk as being preferable to formula since t’s more easily digested and has immune properties that formula cannot replicate. This is especially important for those in NICUs. Unfortunately, few truly have access to donor milk, with it either being unavailable or cost-prohibitive. I therefore find it important to promote milk donation, and so I donate.
So, have you considered it? Would you? Why or why not?