As a breastfeeding mom of two years, I know how beneficial breastmilk is to babies and even toddlers. It’s also something I don’t take for granted. I have family and friends who cannot breastfeed for one reason or another and others who are blessed with enough milk to donate to babies in need. Just a little extra milk can go a long way in another baby’s life! If you are thinking about donating, check out some of these resources to see how you can help.
Where and How to Donate
OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank
In Northwest Ohio, area hospitals are supplied with donated milk through OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank. Donating through this milk bank requires an initial screening, a medical and lifestyle review, and a comprehensive blood test. Blood tests must be done before you pump and freeze your breastmilk, otherwise, it cannot be donated for hospital use.
OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank covers all the costs of shipping the breast milk and they will even send you containers to ship your milk! You can also send in your bags or bottles of milk, and they will still cover the costs. They also have two milk-drop sites: one in Westerville, and one a little closer to our area in Bucyrus.
There is also a recommended minimum donation amount of 150 ounces but in special circumstances, this may not be the case. If you are interested in donating to hospitals, I highly recommend calling them. They have nurses on staff that are more than happy to talk to you about the process and your individual situation.
Milk Sharing Groups
I talked to a few moms who felt unable to jump through some of the hoops for milk banks or did not have enough to donate, but still found a way to help babies in need. As someone who has never been an “over-producer,” I think this way of donating is amazing. There are two groups on Facebook, Human Milk 4 Human Babies – Ohio and Eats on Feets – Ohio, that are a good resource if you have just a little extra milk (or even a lot!) that you want to donate.
Both of these groups make it possible for people to connect directly. A mom or caregiver posts how much milk they need and where they are located, and you contact them if you can donate. The participants work out all of the details. I read both groups’ about pages, and they include similar disclaimers. They state that anyone participating in milk sharing is making an informed choice and taking responsibility for the outcome. So going through a group is something that both parties have to be comfortable with because it requires some trust.
When I joined both these groups, I couldn’t believe the number of people from all over Ohio requesting milk, and even the number of moms posting to offer theirs! It made my heart smile.
Local Mom Groups
Some local mom’s Facebook groups will sometimes allow Breast milk donations. Make sure you check the specific rules of the page or contact an administrator. I’m part of a natural mom’s group specifically for my county that allows milk sharing posts. A local mom needed a few ounces a day for her son, and I offered what I had stored in the freezer. It’s similar to the milk sharing-specific groups, in that you do it directly and requires trust.