Pumping & Donating Milk
Updated: Oct 3, 2021
What happens when you produce more milk than your baby can drink?
A lot of pumpers will freeze their milk to have baby drink it another day
But what if your freezer is too full?
What do you do then?
Another option for oversupply of milk is to donate it. You can register with a milk bank or donate it peer to peer so another baby is able to feed from breastmilk.
Why would you donate?
One reason is to support an NICU.
There are neonatal intensive care units all over the UK. These units provide specialised care for premature or severely ill babies.
Nursing is not easy in this environment.
Not only because it's extremely stressful having your little one hospitalised but a few other reasons are: babies who are admitted tend to have lots of equipment around or on them like tubes, wires and monitors as well as other medical equipment. It could also be, that a baby was born prematurely and is too small to latch on.
Stress, medical equipment and size can make it hugely difficult to nurse.
Here, more than other units, is where donor milk is invaluable as the nutritious fat content helps little ones grow, repair and recover.
Another reason to donate is to support a fellow parent.
WHO recommends these milks in terms of preference: your own breast milk, donor milk then formula. So if a family isnt lactating for whatever reason, they may wish to find a breastmilk donor to provide for their baby instead.
How do I donate my milk?
Start by finding your local milk bank below. They will have a contact form where you can express - yep I said it - your interest. Each bank may have different storage, labelling and hygiene standards so check what they accept and off you go!
UK Non-Profit Breast Milk Banks
St. Georges Hospital Milk Bank Kings College Milk Bank Guys and St. Thomas's Hospital St. Peters Hospital Milk Bank Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea's Hospital Hearts Milk Bank Southampton Human Milk Bank Oxford Human Milk Bank Neonatal Unit / The Rosie Hospital The Southwest Neonatal Network Donor Milk Bank The Birmingham Women and Children's Hospital Milk Bank The Milk Bank at Chester Calderdale & Huddersfield Donor Breast Milk Bank.
Western Trust Milk Bank
Milk Bank Scotland
Doesn't have any, despite having 11 NICUs. The entire country relies on volunteers to courier milk from Chester & Birmingham Milk Banks.
Read more about this here: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-42171266
If you know of a new Milk Bank please email me!
Info sourced from ukabm.org
Don't have a milk bank in your area?
Email your local MP, raising the issue on how we need to change this.
How do I receive donor milk?
If your baby is in hospital, ask the HCP in charge of looking after your child. They should arrange the milk for you, if they are linked to a bank or if the hospital has one of their own.
If your baby is not in hospital and you'd like donor breast milk you can look at these resources:
Peer to Peer
There are Facebook groups available too.
Disclaimer - if you give or receive milk via the internet you cannot guarantee hygiene/storage so take care to do research and make sure you're comfortable with your choice.