Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breast milk donation

Okay, I am not talking about Ben & Jerry's here!

Before you declare me crazy, read this post, and then you have the right to call me nuts if you like. I just won't post your comments.

Like any mother of 5 young children, I have lots of spare time on my hands. NOT. Like any woman, I love using a breast pump. Very funny. Like any large family, I have lots of extra room in my freezers. Maybe once the kids leave home?

So why on earth donate breast milk?!? Honestly, because I feel bad for any baby who has to drink formula, and much more so if it's a tiny, premature baby to whom it could make the difference between life and death. My milk supply has been getting better and better with every baby, and I would love to share the abundance.

There are many milk banks out there who take donations. The sign-up process is lengthy, and you will need to have your blood checked for just about every communicable disease out there. The milk bank will cover all the costs for the tests, supply you with all necessary equipment, and take care of the shipping. You will not get paid for the milk you donate. If you have thought about donating milk in the past, you should definitely look into it. If you do, and you are like me, you want to make sure that 100% of the milk you donate goes to a cause you want to support, such as premature infants. There are other critically ill patients using human milk, such as cancer patients who can no longer tolerate food. There are also critically ill HIV-positive patients using it, but the last person I want my milk to go to is some old, decrepit queer. No, not all people with HIV are gay, but I wouldn't want to take my chances. With a newborn at least I can be sure of that.

I signed on with International Breast Milk Project. This particular milk bank ships 25% of their donated milk to critically ill infants in Africa, and uses the rest for premature babies in the US. I wonder what the person who commented on my daughter's birth announcement saying that I am overpopulating the earth because I "don't like brown people" has ever done to actually help children in Africa other than just feeling all fuzzy and pitiful about them.

Anyway... I think every liberal hippie would love me if it weren't for the fact that I am a Christian. I am a homebirthing, babywearing, "co-sleeping", non-circumcising, Birkenstock-wearing, granola-eating, make-up hating, natural medicine practicing and now human milk donating lactivist.


  1. You last paragraph almost made me spit my tea out!

    I think it's a wonderful idea.

    Now, I do have to ask about the "queer" thing. Would Jesus call anyone that? I don't think so.

  2. I had to laugh out loud at your last comment! You are such a strange mix, you really are. On the one hand, I agree with many of your ideals and on the other, I shake my head in disbelief. I was saying to my husband that you are one person I would love to sit down with because I have so many questions about some of your choices eg politics and religion
    Anyway, back to the topic. I agree with you on donating breast milk. Human babies are designed to drink human breast milk. I would have loved to donate but there is nothing set up in Australia at the moment. But, even if there had been something I would not be allowed to due to being in the UK during the mad cow epidemic (I am not allowed to give blood for the same reason). Also, I was terrible at expressing
    I do think that the person who commented on overpopulation has a valid point. It is something that we need to think about

  3. Good for you! As long as you have the milk to donate, and still making sure you have enough for your little one, then I say go for it. The preemies need it too.

  4. Zsuzsanna,

    I also found our last paragraph was quite funny!

    I think it is wonderful that you are donating milk. One other group of women to consider are those that for whatever reason their milk doesn't come in. I have a friend who had a lady in her church offer to give her extra breast milk and my friend was able to avoid giving her daughter formula. She so badly wanted to nurse and tried as long as she could but realized her baby was hungry and she couldn't get enough milk.

    Loved your response to the rude comment about overpopulation!

    God bless!

  5. I think it's wonderful you are willing to donate your milk. I know if I had a preemie and couldn't produce milk I would be very thankful for someone like you.

  6. LOL, I figured you wouldn't post my comment, because I don't agree with you.

    For what it's worth, I'm an avid breastfeeding advocate, and I think donating milk is great. And it's certainly your choice of who you want your milk to go to. Using hateful language, however....I don't see that as particularly "Christian."

  7. Have you looked very far into the Int'lBreast Milk Project? They are connected to a for-profit company and aren't actually donating very much milk at all. Also, it's cheaper and more sustainable to provide African orphanages with the equipment to sterilize locally donated milk rather than pay to ship milk all the way over there. The Human Milk Bank Assoc of North America banks are truly non-profit.

  8. Just,

    I was recommended the IBMP because of the fact that I grew up in Europe, which disqualifies me as a donor from a lot of milk banks (because of mad cow disease). All milk banks I read about sell their milk for profit to hospitals for about $3/ounce, which is mostly covered by the newborns' insurance companies.


    I agree that there are other ways to donate milk. From what I have read, some women sell theirs on craigslist, which I would never do. I would donate it for free to someone I know if they asked me to, but I should mention that breast milk contains any and all viruses that the mother may carry, including hepatitis and HIV.

  9. That's a terrific idea to donate. In my motherland country this is very common. Actually how they do it is when a mother can not breast feed there was women who earn money by breast feeding the baby. Because during those years they didn't have baby bottles. So basically you would pay a small fee for your baby to be breastfed by another woman in the village.

  10. I have never heard that dying people are given human breast milk...where did you hear that? People who cannot tolerate food are typically given nutrtion via IV, not milk, which most healthy adults cannot tolerate.

  11. You remind me so much of my mom that it's crazy. It makes me... kind of want to hug you. lol that sounds so weird I know, but I absolutely love your blog! And there are hippie liberal Christians, trust me.

  12. My daughter is 7 months old (she is my 3rd) I had severe HG with her and had trouble making milk. I have since become pregnant again.. With HG again. I have no milk and have lost 12 lbs. I hate seeing my precious baby on formula. I have tried almond milk and pureed foods to avoid so much formula. She is quite healthy looking but despite that I know the formula isn't good for her. I sure wish somebody like you were around to provide our family with the means to feed her breastmilk. Also I just wanted to encourage you. I love your blog and I love reading about your sweet family.

  13. mattysmama, congratulations on your pregnancy! I am so very sorry to hear you are suffering from HG, though - it is so horrible! I wish you all the best.

    As far as breastmilk donation - please check out "Eats on Feets" ( and see if there is a local chapter near you. EOF was started by none other than my midwife!! Also, I know some moms make their own baby "formula" from goats milk and other ingredients, although I am not familiar with that, nor do I have a recipe.

  14. Have you made a post on how you get your milk supply up? If so can I have the link? If you haven't already can you make one?

  15. Hi... just wondering - did you know that milk banks pasteurize the breast milk donated? I'm not sure it's superior to formula after that...


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