What is Milk Donation and Should I consider donating breast milk?
In the recent years there is a significant rise in the breast milk donation due to rising awareness through various causes and campaigns, so in the recipient babies. But the demand is still much higher than supply. Even if some women are willing to donate their milk, they have certain medical conditions that do not allow them to proceed. Many parents also get hesitated if asked about seeking someone else’s help for their newborn because they have concerns regarding the personal hygiene, identity, etc. This costs them certain amount of bucks as well that isn’t affordable if the process needs to be continued for weeks or months. To avoid that many parents directly go to those women whom they trust and know personally. In addition to saving money the fresh breast milk also contains antibodies that the treated and pasteurized milk in the bank doesn’t. Antibodies are very necessary to build up the strong immune system that fights against various infections like diarrhea, respiratory infection, ear infection, etc.
Many women in the world aren’t able to produce sufficient amount of milk that their newborn baby needs initially. With the rise of premature births, the demands of breast-milk have also increased at this point because the mothers’ body doesn’t reach that stage of producing. Once the mothers reach to the point of full maturity they are able to deliver healthy milk to their babies, but before that they need to seek help from somewhere else. In other cases, mothers are able to produce milk but their babies are unable to absorb it properly. Previously formula milk was given in such cases but since medical science knows the number of benefits of breast milk, the formula milk isn’t the first option being suggested by doctors. The breast milk contains 400 different types of nutrients that an infant needs during his/her growth. Research suggests that there is a decreased risk of developing allergies, asthma, diabetes, obesity and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in those babies who consume breast milk on regular basis instead of formula milk. The formula milk does contain all the necessary nutrients but it cannot stand in front of “nature’s formula”.
If the parents know someone who is willing to donate the milk selflessly, they must ensure that the woman is free from HIV and didn’t suffer from Hepatitis B and C. The test is also carried to make sure the donor is free from Human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV) and Syphilis. Also make sure that the tests done are recent. In the milk bank, pasteurization is done to make it free from bacteria and viruses. The pasteurization could also be done at home by following certain steps. Seek doctor’s advice regularly so that you don’t put your child in a great risk.
If you are planning to donate the milk, you must go through some testing that will make you eligible for donation, not just only those who know you but also the unknown folks hoping for the betterment of their child. The screening is done in the hospitals. Your eating habits and lifestyle play a huge role as well. If you have the habit of smoking, doing drugs, taking too much alcohol, certain medications, herbs, tobacco and caffeine then you must drop the idea of donation. The donor must be physically healthy, that is what required the most. Seek a letter in written from a registered doctor who signs that your breast-milk is safe for the newborns.
If you are a parent to an unhealthy baby do not ever consider buying the milk from online stores. Such stores have no guarantee that they treat the milk properly and maintain its hygiene. Also many women sell their milk these days for money who may or may not have undergone screening. This has turned into a huge business and so one must not trust blindly for the sake of their children. Also there is no guarantee that the milk won’t spoil during the shipping process. I recommend everyone must contact a licensed doctor who would give you the best advice.
Surrogate moms are also eligible for donating milk. The milk banks prefer those moms who themselves have babies of less than 6 months. Till your child is of 1 year of age you can still donate your milk. After that you aren’t considered as eligible.
The breast-milk is still a huge necessity for many infants and many women still need to step forward to donate some of it. Most women also have some myths regarding this. They think if they provide the milk to someone else’s child what their child would receive. First of all, if you aren’t producing enough or only that much amount that only your child would be able to consume, nobody would force you in this matter. Some moms are able to produce lots and lots of milk. In that case they go for donation. The new milk is produced within and so your child will always get adequate amount of it. The doctors know what to do. You may clear your inner queries with a medical professional.
Many milk banks ask women to come on a regular basis for a certain time period so that a particular amount of their breast milk is collected, once these women pass all the screening and tests. After that they may come for more days as per their own wish, or to a certain extent the bank allows them. Later their own babies grow and there comes a point when they stop breastfeeding their toddlers, particularly when they turn 1 year. This is the time when a new donor is required which may or may not show up.
Children who have preterm birth is an emergency case and need breast milk soon as possible while they are still in the NICU. The mothers aren’t able to provide them, this is how you can save many infants’ lives. Imagine being a life supporter for the vulnerable babies. Bravo to those lovely ladies who have contributed so far! Don’t you want to be one of them? It provides a tremendous joy within by looking at a big smile on the faces of numerous parents when their child recovers fast and actually survives!