Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Donating Breast Milk

The idea of wasting all of my breastmilk has been weighing on me very heavily. I have been looking into donating my milk to a milk bank. With the crisis in Haiti, they are asking for donations for the little babies there. I found this online today:


The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), International Lactation Consultant
Association/United States Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA/USLCA), and La Leche League International (LLLI) are jointly issuing an urgent call for human milk donations for premature infants in Haiti, as well as sick and premature infants in the United States.

This week the first shipment of human milk from mothers in the United States will be shipped to the U.S. Navy Ship *Comfort* stationed outside Haiti. *Comfort* is currently set up with a neonatal intensive care unit and medical personnel to provide urgent care to victims of the earthquake. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant stationed at the U.S. Navy base in Bethesda, MD is assisting with providing breast pump equipment and supplies to the *Comfort.* Dr. Erika Beard-Irvine, pediatric neonatologist, is on board the *Comfort* to coordinate distribution of the milk to infants in need.
HMBANA, USBC, ILCA/USLCA, and LLL are responding to requests to provide
milk for both premature infants and at-risk mothers who have recently delivered babies on board the U.S.N.S. Comfort, but an urgent need exists
for additional donations.

At the current time, the infrastructure to deliver human milk on land to Haiti infants has not yet been established. As soon as that infrastructure is in place, additional donations will be provided to older infants.

Mothers who are willing to donate human milk should contact their regional Mothers* Milk Bank of HMBANA. A list of regional milk banks is available at the HMBANA website at www.hmbana.org.
Currently milk banks are already low on donor milk. New milk donations will be used for both Haiti victims as well as to replenish donor supplies to continue to serve sick and premature infants in the U.S. Donor milk provides unique protection for fragile preterm infants. Financial donations are also strongly encouraged to allow HMBANA, a nonprofit organization, to continue serving infants in need.

UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Emergency Nutrition Network, and medical professionals all recommend that breastfeeding and human milk be used for infants in disasters or emergencies. Human milk is life-saving due to its disease prevention properties. It is safe, clean, and does not depend on water which is often unavailable or contaminated in an emergency. Relief workers, health care providers, and other volunteers are urged to
provide support for breastfeeding mothers to enable them to continue breastfeeding, and to assist pregnant and postpartum women in initiating and sustaining breastfeeding.

For more information, contact HMBANA at 408-998-4550 or www.hmbana.org. Additional information can be provided from the United States Breastfeeding Committee at 202-367-1132 (www.usbreastfeeding.org), ILCA/USLCA at 1-800-452-2478 (www.ilca.org or
www.uslca.org), or La Leche League at 847-519-7730 (www.llli.org).

This morning I sent an email to the closest milk bank I could find to my home.

I have recently found out that I will no longer be able to breastfeed my baby. She has extremely bad acid reflux and possibly some other issues and we have had to put her on special formula to help her. She is almost 5 mos old and I have been having a difficult time giving up breastfeeding. I am still pumping to slowly stop my breasts from producing milk, as I have always had an oversupply and discontinuing to breastfeed is probably going to be a long process for me. While nursing her however, I have been able to freeze and store over 400oz of breastmilk. It could be alot more, but it is atleast that much. I have about 100 bags saved that range from 4 - 8 oz each (most of them are around 4). I am a very healthy, nonsmoking, 30 year old woman. I have had a couple of glasses of wine since my baby was born, but other then that I haven't consumed any alcohol, and as far as any drugs or medication, I have taken a tylenol hear and there for a headache. We bought a deep freezer just so that we could more safely store the milk for a longer period of time. Most of the bags are all within a month old, the oldest being under two months. I researched and followed all proper guidelines for safely storing them. The idea of throwing away all my breastmilk is heartwrenching to me, with all of the hungry babies out there, and most recently all of the little babies in Haiti.

After researching online, it seems that your bank is the closest location to my home in Missouri. I live about 45 minutes west of St. Louis. I was wondering if there was anything I could do as far as donating my milk. My sister and brother in law will be traveling to Indianapolis in the beginning of March and have offered to bring it to your bank if you would take it. Please let me know.

My friend Toni has offered to take a road trip with me to Indianapolis where the bank is located. Most likely it will require me to take the milk myself as they will probably want to do blood tests to make sure that I am clean and healthy. The idea of being able to share my milk with a baby in need, makes me feel so much better then just wasting it all.


Flat Foot Floozy said...

What a great idea! I was thinking when I read your last post that I wanted to suggest this to you....but you never know how people are about their own juices. I love this!

Trena said...

Hi Laura! Thanks for visiting my blog. I did a lot of research as well and never found anything in Missouri. I looked into starting one up but I would have to be backed by a hospital or some affiliate and I haven't gotten to that point yet. From what I understand, the closest milk bank to Missouri will actually let you ship it to them. I believe that they send you the necessary materials that are needed to get it shipped properly. You don't pay this cost, it is eventually figured into the amount the mother will be paying for your milk.

The best of luck to you and I hope you are able to donate your milk! I ended up using all my extra milk for smoothies and mixing with cereal or snacks.

What a great opportunity if you could donate to the Haiti children! I hope they get that up and running soon. I told my husband that I wanted to fly down there and nurse those babies myself. It just breaks my heart to see them in such distress.

Brittany Ann said...

I think that's a wonderful, selfless idea! Good for you!

Gina said...

Oh, this is so cool! This was all meant to be! I love that you are trying to help those babies. I hope it all works out.

Little T said...

It makes your struggle to feed BBA that much more worth it if some truly needy little baby is able to take advantage of your over producing tata's. Keep me posted. This is a great thing!

Watching The River Run said...

I never knew you could do this!!! Awesome idea!!

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