If you are interested in becoming a donor mother, please contact us and we will be in touch at a convenient time for you.
Becoming a milk donor is very simple, however there are a number of important facts to be aware of before you start.
Breastmilk gives babies the best start possible in life but sometimes there are reasons why the mum of a newborn, particularly a premature baby, cannot breastfeed herself. The mum might be physically unable to breastfeed due to illness, or perhaps needs help to establish her milk supply in the first few days after having a premature baby.
How do I donate?
We make the process as simple as possible for you. The first step is to contact us and speak to one of our trained donor screeners who will take you through the procedure and answer any questions you may have.
If you decide to become a donor we then supply you with all the sterile equipment you need and collect your donated milk from your home. The most important fact to remember is good hygiene at all times and frequent hand washing. The process of breast to bottle is a critical part of the procedure and donors must be vigilant to the risks of contamination.
Our donors tell us that the key to success is daily expressing and establishing a routine. Indeed donations of 10 litres+ are commonplace and many prolific donors give us much more.
Many the of women who donate milk are giving something back because they were helped themselves but you can donate even if your child has not needed help.
- Take the progesterone-only contraceptive pill
- Asthama inhalers
- The first donation must be within six months of starting breastfeeding
- take any other medication
- drink more than two units of alcohol per week.
- drink more than two cups of coffee per day.
- due to a change in UKAMB Guidelines, we are no longer able to accept donor milk from mothers who have had a blood transfusion.
(Click here to visit UKAMB website with information on drugs which may be used by a mother who is donating breastmilk). Donations cannot be accepted for a month following any immunisation/vaccination and six months following any body-piercing.
Donations must stop if the woman develops mastitis or any other infection which needs treatment until 24 hours following the cessation of medication. If you have any concerns about any of the above please discuss them with your donor screener when we first make contact with you.
All potential donor mothers are screened before their milk can be used. This process involves obtaining a medical history from the mother, either at her home or in hospital if she is still on the ward, as well as blood tests which are in the main the same as those carried out during pregnancy.
Once she has been screened she can begin to spend a few minutes each day expressing off her extra milk. The donor mother will be informed of her results by post within approximately three weeks of being screened.
The milk bank will provide sterilised bottles for her to use for her expressed milk. This milk can be stored in her freezer for up to three months before being pasteurised. In line with environmental health guidance, we will provide her with a freezer thermometer to ensure the milk is being stored at the recommended temperature. When it is convenient to the donating mother, we will collect the milk direct from her home.
Although the donated milk is given freely, it has been calculated that the cost of screening volunteer donors, collecting donated milk, testing, processing and storing, costs in the region of £125 per litre. These costs are met from charitable donations received by the milk bank.
Hygiene is key - we ask that you rigidly follow all our procedures especially those relating to storage of donated milk and hand washing. Failure to do this may result in donated milk having to be discarded.
Supply and demand ensures that you still produce plenty of milk for your own baby and by expressing off your excess milk daily you will be well on the way to achieving an ideal donation of five litres or more.
Finally we ask that you maintain good communication with us and reply promptly if we contact you. Tell us quickly if you have any problems - we have lots of experience of breast feeding and may well be able to help. Please contact us if we are due to make a delivery and there is a problem - wasted journeys cost money.