Everything you need to know about donating breast milk and human milk banks

You can donate your breast milk to help women who are unable lactate properly feed their infants.
Donating breast milk
Donating your breast milk is a noble thing. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Shreya Gupta Updated: 7 Aug 2020, 06:43 pm IST
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Right from international health agencies and doctors to our very own nanis and dadis–everyone advocates breastfeeding. Feeding breast milk to infants is not only necessary for their growth and immunity, but this food is also very easy for them to digest. But for many women, the process of breastfeeding isn’t easy as  for some or the other reason is unable to produce sufficient breast milk.

But that’s when human milk banks come to the rescue. Did you know the first human milk bank in India was started in 1989 in Mumbai? Since then there have been over 10 milk banks all over India.

If you happen to be producing an excessive amount of breast milk, you can be of service to your fellow mothers and enrol yourself to donate your breast milk.

Also, read: 5 myths about breastfeeding that all new moms should stop believing 

Intrigued? Well, here’s a simple guide to donating your breast milk
Though the guidelines vary from bank to bank, the basic procedures are the same. Banks will take your medical history and you will need to provide a confirmation from your doctor that states that your breast milk is safe for babies to consume. 

Your DNA profile will also be created, so that later when you donate breast milk, the DNA is matched with your sample to ensure safety of the elixir of life you’re providing. 

breast milk

Breast milk undergoes a plethora of safety measures and screening tests at human milk banks. The donated milk is further to kill any viruses or bacteria, amongst other things.

Also, read: Calling all new moms! These 6 foods can increase your breast milk production

Is everyone allowed to donate milk?
Not really. Mothers who are suffering from HIV, hepatitis B or C, or syphilis can transfer these diseases through breast milk so they can not donate their milk. Additionally, women who might be consuming illegal drugs, drinking alcohol, and/or smoking while lactating are also not eligible. 

Human milk reduces the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, a major reason for premature death in infants. So, if you’re eligible, then please go ahead and donate! Your one donation can make a huge difference to the wellbeing of many infants, while also helping many new moms feel at ease.

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About the Author

Finding nirvana in good food, Shreya also loves reading books and is a die-hard Potterhead. Confident and motivated she's fun to be with. Plus food. Always. ...Read More

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