Breastmilk Donation: Everything You Need to Know

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast milk saves 800,000 lives a year. Donating is a generous act with many benefits. Find out more in this article!

Breastfeeding is not always an unlikely process for all women. But nowadays there are many viable alternatives to feeding your baby, such as breast milk donation banks.

Breast milk contains all the nutrients that babies up to 6 months need, so doctors recommend breast milk as the only food in this period.

If you want to learn more about breast milk donation, read this article. All information is supported by experts and studies.

Why is it important to donate breast milk?

Breast milk donation is important because it saves lives. As we mentioned earlier, there are different situations where women fail to meet this need that babies have.

Currently, May 19 is recognized as World Breast Milk Donation Day. This designation was created to raise awareness of the importance of doing so, as it helps with the goal of saving the lives of premature babies every day and improving the children cared for around the world.

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), its consumption is considered vital for the growth and development of babies.

Although this practice is not yet available in Turkey, it is good news that there are more than 500 milk banks in 37 countries around the world. Donating breast milk is a generous act. The process is simple and the trend towards building more banks continues to expand this app.

What are milk banks and how do they work?

The Spanish Association of Breastmilk Banks (AEBLH) defines such organizations as specialized centers responsible for breastfeeding promotion, where breast milk donated by selected mothers is received, processed, analysed, stored and distributed.

After a hiatus in the creation and use of breast milk banks in the 1980s, they are on the rise once again. These save the lives of many newborns. Believe it or not, these cases are quite common.

How do human milk banks work?

The usual procedure is as follows:

Selection: The bank selects breast milk donors and they must go through an interview with the responsible persons within the institution. It is important for them to communicate and highlight whether they consume certain medications, have unhealthy habits, and have any contagious diseases.

Collection equipment: In most cases, selected donors are provided with training on how to collect milk, as well as collection equipment, containers and identification tags.

Processing: Storage takes place in the same step. It is a sterile environment where microbiological testing is done to ensure that no dangerous microbes are present. Collected milk is kept in the freezer until the specified delivery time.

Distribution: It is important to note that the only way to distribute breast milk is under medical prescription.

What should be considered before donating breast milk?

One of the most frequently asked questions before starting breast milk donation is whether you will have enough milk for your own baby. You must understand that this will not happen.

You can be sure that your baby will continue to get the amount they need for optimal development. In fact, donating milk will increase your production and you will be able to meet the typical demand of the first 6 months.

Blood tests

In addition to meeting with a specific milk bank staff member, you cannot donate if you suffer from such a transmitted disease or infection such as HIV, syphilis, hepatitis C or hepatitis B. Therefore, at some point doctors will do a blood test to rule out any of these health problems.

A devoted work

Another interesting fact is that there is no financial reward for being a breast milk donor. It is a generous donation that only mothers who want to help other babies and women who cannot afford to feed their little ones can do.

However, the greatest satisfaction is being able to help children in need. Any healthy mom with a good lifestyle can do it!

Good habits

Make sure you have a healthy lifestyle, eat right, do not suffer from communicable diseases, and have the desire to cooperate because there are so many babies who need breast milk to survive.

It is not painful

Expressing breast milk is not painful as long as your nipples are not sore. For example, there are electric breast pumps where you can adjust the speed until you reach a speed that you are comfortable with.

In various maternity blogs, women say it’s a good option to use a site-specific oil or lubricant so their skin doesn’t get too sensitive.

What is the donor procedure?

Becoming a breast milk donor is a relatively simple process. The meeting with bank managers can even be by phone.

Specialists will ask you about your medical history and other questions to find out if you are taking medication. Generally, a GP must approve the tests and prepare a report.

If you already know a breast milk bank near you, you can contact them by phone and make an appointment for an interview. Then the pumping process is performed; the bank itself will send you the containers and all the necessary materials, so you can do this work at home. These products come with detailed instructions.


After giving the milk, you must pour it into containers marked with labels containing your unique donation number. These will be in the freezer for 2 months, but this time may vary depending on the bank’s initiative.

Then transportation is an issue that the bank or the mother can take care of. In case they thaw, you should put some ice in the bowl to keep them intact and ensure they arrive at the center safely.

As you can see, becoming a donor is a simple process that you can do from home. Don’t worry, there are lots of places to get information!

If you have the slightest doubt, you can contact the milk bank employees who are always ready to assist you in this process. The best part of all of this is that you will be helping save the lives of many babies!

Who can use the milk in these banks?

Milk from banks is taken especially by low birth weight babies under 1500 grams. But babies at risk of digestive and infectious diseases also need it. In most of these cases, the goal is to reduce the likelihood of neonatal death.

You should know that in order to buy milk from these institutions, the baby must have a medical prescription. This can either be for important reasons or because the mother is unable to feed the baby. In some cases, this milk is also used to feed babies who have had digestive system surgery.

Breast milk donation is changing the world

Breast milk is medicine. Despite the lack of financial reward, many mothers experience the satisfaction of helping save lives. In fact, in some cases, pumping means pain relief for women who produce large volumes of milk.

Remember, your baby will never run out of milk; You will continue to meet demand. At the same time, you will help other minors have a better quality of life in or out of the hospital.

If you have any questions, ask your nearest milk bank staff for advice.


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