MILK DONATION AND MILK SHARING
Whether you are someone who produces more milk than your baby needs, or you’re someone who is unable to produce as much as you’d like for your baby or cannot nurse your baby for other reasons, you may have considered milk donation or milk sharing.
LLL USA is not affiliated with any milk bank or any peer-to-peer milk-sharing organization or network. LLL USA does not endorse any of these organizations, and we encourage you to seek more information from other credible sources in order to make a fully-informed decision. In addition, LLL USA encourages anyone interested in obtaining human milk for their baby to discuss their options with their health care provider before proceeding.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT OPTIONS FOR DONATING?
How you choose to donate will depend partly on you and partly on your location. Many people choose to donate to a milk bank such as those that participate in Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). Donating through a milk bank will ensure that your milk goes to help babies who are truly in need, for example, premature babies or seriously ill babies who are in a NICU. Because these are not-for-profit milk banks, recipients are not charged for your gift; the only fees, covered by most people’s insurance, are processing fees.
If you find that you are not located near enough to a milk bank or milk bank drop off point or if donating to a milk bank is not for you, another option may be peer-to-peer milk sharing. There are several well-known milk-sharing networks online that have some established protocols to help donors connect with those who are in need of milk, such as Eats on Feets and Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB) We do not recommend any particular group; instead, we encourage you to research what is available in your location as well as what may suit your circumstances best.
MILK DONATION OPTIONS
While LLL USA does not directly facilitate human milk donations or sharing, we absolutely support families in providing human milk to their children.
Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA)., nonprofit milk banking network. Note: Many milk banks have additional drop sites that may not be listed on the larger HMBANA map. Click around to the milk banks in your region to see more milk drop locations.
Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB), peer-to-peer milk sharing network
Eats on Feets, peer-to-peer milk sharing network
GENERAL MILK SHARING AND DONATION RESOURCES
Mailing Milk: Donating to a Milk Bank, LLL USA blog
Milk Donation policy, LLLI
Milk Donation, LLLI
MILK DONATION AFTER LOSS
Our hearts go out to you as you grieve your loss; losing your baby is one of the most devastating experiences a parent can have. While it can seem unfair that your body is making milk for a baby who is no longer there, it is the normal physiological process that occurs after a pregnancy. Each person and each situation is unique, and not every person can or may even wish to donate their milk after such a shattering loss. However, some people have found that donating milk can be a very special way to honor their baby as well as to help others, and many people have found that donating helps with their grief. It is truly a wonderful gift, and we laud your willingness to help other babies in this way.
A local hospital, a nearby milk bank, or an IBCLC may be able to help you find a way to donate your milk. Some hospitals have established perinatal bereavement programs that facilitate milk donation after the loss of a baby. For example, in California, the Mothers’ Milk Bank, which is part of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), offers bereavement support while assisting people like you to gain some measure of comfort by sharing their milk with other babies. The Advocate Lutheran General Children’s Hospital in Illinois also supports grieving mothers in breast milk donation. If you are not located in California or Illinois, ask your NICU staff or contact the nearest milk bank to enquire about this possibility. Check Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) for links to find any other milk banks that may be near you.
LACTATION AFTER LOSS RESOURCES
Lactation After Loss, LLL USA
Lactation Suppression, KellyMom
PERSONAL STORIES OF LACTATION AFTER LOSS
Feeding Charlie’s Memory, LLL USA blog
How donating breast milk helped me heal and nourished babies in need, Dallas Morning News
IS YOUR CONCERN OR QUESTION NOT COVERED HERE?
Please contact a local LLL Leader with your specific questions.
Medical questions and legal questions should be directed to appropriate health care and legal professionals.
Page updated January 2020