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Donating Milk During A Pandemic

Emily and her son posing with their donated milk.

Human milk donation has long played an important role in saving the lives of infants, many of whom are preterm or otherwise medically fragile. This need remains during the COVID-19 pandemic, and organizations such as the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) are working closely with both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that the milk donation process is safe and that the donor milk supply remains available as well as safe.

The HMBANA wrote in a statement titled “Why Donor Human Milk is an Essential Need During COVID-19” (April 2, 2020):

“The CDC guidance to continue breastfeeding is important. Breast milk delivers antibodies that may be protective against the virus, and the coronavirus has not been found in human milk. Milk banks acknowledge that this is a new virus and follow the considerations suggested by the FDA for blood banks’ screening of donors…Donor human milk has been saving lives in hospitals since 1985 with positive outcomes…Milk bank staff are working throughout this pandemic to ensure continuance of a safe supply of donor human milk, and we applaud the milk donors who make it all possible.”

Emily Tittle reached out to La Leche League USA to share her experience donating milk during this unprecedented time:

“An unexpected result of me staying at home during the pandemic: a surplus of milk. Today, my nearly five-month-old son and I donated 444 ounces to our local children’s hospital! The process to become a milk donor was easy and less restrictive than I expected (I can still drink coffee!). I just want to encourage other mamas who may have some extra milk, to consider becoming a donor. I am so excited to help babies in need!”

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