What is your motivation? Maybe you know someone who received donor breast milk and you want to pay it forward. Perhaps, your baby prefers her milk straight from the tap and you have a deep-freezer full of milk you stored to go back to work. As a lactating mother, you are in a unique stage of life and in an excellent position to impact your family’s and community’s health. In addition to providing ideal nutrition for your own baby, you can also set aside some of your extra milk for premature and critically ill infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Texas Children’s Hospital. Every mom who donates milk will make a lifelong impact on many babies and their families.
- Always label your milk with the date (month/day/year) and time it was expressed. Most moms are doing this as a matter of habit. This small routine will make the rules that follow much easier to follow.
- We can only accept milk with one pumping per container. Please do not store a container in the refrigerator and add to the container over multiple pumpings. The main reasons are to avoid excess bacterial growth that can occur along with increased chance of rancidity of the milk.
- Keep a calendar of dates you or your baby have been sick with colds, fevers, viruses etc. We are unable to accept milk pumped while you or your baby is sick. If you can make a note on the calendar, it will help you to know which dates you need to exclude from your donation.
- Make a note on a calendar or on your milk storage container of any days you take over the counter or prescription drugs (medicines for allergies, colds, stomach upset, etc.). Most medicines that are considered safe for breastfeeding are not permitted for milk donation. Our Milk Bank has a “washout period” for every medication or supplement, which refers to an amount of time after you take the drug before it is okay to save milk for donation again. Making a note of the day you took the medicine will make it easy for you to separate that milk out when it is time to send in your donation. Since your milk will be fed to very fragile infants, it is crucial to report all medicines and supplements you have taken while storing milk.
- We cannot accept milk pumped while moms are taking herbal supplements, including teas and preparations intended to increase milk supply, such as fenugreek. Sometimes herbal preparations hide in prenatal vitamins, too. Therefore, if you think you might want to donate milk, read the ingredients carefully on your prenatal vitamins. You can also check with the milk donation coordinator to know if your vitamin is allowed for milk donation. (email@example.com).
If you have extra milk, you can apply to be a Texas Children’s Hospital milk donor at www.texaschildrens.org/milk. Click on “Become a Donor”. We are so thankful to all of the moms who give our babies such a special gift.