If you had an ample supply of breast milk, would you donate it to a mother in need?
Mothers have heard time and time again how important it is to breastfeed their child. While it is a personal decision, outlets like WebMD praise breast milk as the ideal source of nutrients for a baby. Full of antibodies that help fight bacteria and viruses, a mother’s supply contributes to a healthier immune system. The National Resources Defense Council reveals that breastfed children are also less likely to contract certain diseases.
That is, of course, if you have a great supply.
Breastfeeding doesn’t come easily to all moms. In fact, many struggle to produce an adequate supply for their children that makes it hard to reap these benefits. Luckily there are mothers like Amy Bormann who are stepping up to the plate with breast milk donations.
“It’s an incredibly rewarding feeling that I’ve not only been able to provide the nutrition for my own children, but also that I’m helping other babies that really need breast milk,” said Amy.
WJFW 12 News reports the mother of two has been making frequent breast milk donations thanks to a local milk depot that donates to nearby hospitals. “By the time [Greyson] was about 6 months old, I had two entire deep freezers packed full of milk,” said Amy. “I wasn’t ready to give up on our breastfeeding journey quite yet, so I had to do something with that extra milk.”
Since her start, Amy has donated close to 30 gallons of breast milk.
Breast milk donations are not uncommon these days. There are organizations like the Human Milk Banking Association of North America that collect donor milk for parents in need. The Milk Bank is another nonprofit that distributes breast milk across the United States. Its goal is to provide safely screened breast milk to sick infants, premature babies and others in need of donor milk.
While some critics point out the potential risk, many advocates are quick to mention the screening process.
“I had to have my doctor and my son’s pediatrician sign some papers saying that it wouldn’t be harmful to donate my milk,” says Bormann.
Employees at the Aspirus Wausau Hospital, where Amy donates, also acknowledge mandatory requirements that include lab work. “They want to make sure they’re good candidates,” says Chris Hanke, a women’s health expert at the hospital. “There are certain criteria they have to make. [They] can’t use certain medications.”
Those interested in donating breast milk should contact the National Milk Bank for qualification guidelines and the screening process. Mothers in need can check out active milk banks through the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.