WakeMed Mother’s Milk Bank is in dire need of donations. It is one of only 10 operational milk banks in the U.S. and distributes more than 200,000 oz. of milk per year.
Mothers seek donor milk when they cannot nurse their babies. Premature babies in intensive care units often get top priority.
Milk banking in America is on the rise because of its many health benefits and the trust in the safety of donor milk. There has never been a documented disease or illness transmission through processed human milk.
Potential donors are screened – very similar to the way blood banks screen donors. View the four-step process to donate milk. Donors must be non-smokers and must not drink alcohol within 12 hours of pumping milk for the Milk Bank. There are also restrictions on the consumption of medications.
Donors are never paid. However, the Mothers’ Milk Bank assumes all costs for blood testing and supplies containers to store milk.
Most donor mothers find they can begin pumping extra milk (typically four ounces each day) to donate once their own children are a few weeks old and are regularly gaining weight. Donors store the milk in their home freezer, then deliver the milk to our facility.
The Milk Banks asks out-of-town donors who overnight-express milk to send the product in batches of at least 200 to 300 ounce increments to help keep down shipping costs and ensure that the milk stays frozen. Extensive shipping information.
Milk is transported to the WakeMed Mothers’ Milk Bank in a frozen state. After it thaws, the milk is pooled and heat-treated to kill any bacteria or viruses.
The Milk Bank processes the product in 2-, 4-, or 8 oz. jars and refreezes it for storage. It is dispensed only after a sample is cultured and shows no sign of bacterial growth.
The milk is then frozen and shipped overnight-express to hospitals and to recipients’ homes.
For more information on becoming a donor, please contact the WakeMed Mother’s Milk Bank at (919) 350-8599. You may also e-mail a program coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Evans is a lactation specialist and executive director of WakeMed Mother’s Milk Bank.