Donor Breast milk 2017-08-28T11:47:16-06:00

Donor Breast Milk

What is donor milk?

  • It is breast milk donated by other healthy moms to a human milk bank. The milk bank makes sure it is safe, and the milk is pasteurized.
  • It is ordered by your baby’s doctor.

Why use donor milk?

  • Sometimes we do not have or cannot use mom’s own breast milk.
  • Some babies (especially preemies) are at risk for problems when they are fed with formula (such as infection in the intestines). Using donor breast milk may help protect them from these problems.

Is donor milk different than a mom’s own breast milk?

  • Donor milk has been heated to kill things that could make your baby sick.
  • Most donor milk comes from moms who delivered term babies.
  • Donor milk is safer than formula, but in most cases is not as good as mom’s own milk.

Which babies get donor milk?

  • Babies delivered before 32 weeks of pregnancy
  • Babies in the NICU whose moms are going to provide breast milk, but their milk has not come in yet
  • Babies who have had an infection or other serious problems in the intestine
  • The parent or legal guardian gives the doctors permission to order it for their baby.

When is donor milk stopped?

  • Babies who get donor milk will be transitioned to formula before they leave the hospital. The timing for this transition depends on the baby’s weight and adjusted age.
  • If you want to use donor milk at home, you will have to order and pay for it. Insurance in Arkansas does not cover it after the baby leaves the hospital.

Where does the UAMS NICU get donor milk?

  • We order and receive donor milk from several milk banks around the country.  These have been approved by the Human Milk Banking Association of America (HMBANA). UAMS buys donor milk from milk banks that do not pay mothers for their breast milk.

What does a donor milk bank do?

A donor milk bank:

  • makes sure donors are healthy
  • collects donated milk
  • heats milk to kill bacteria and viruses
  • tests milk to make sure milk is safe
  • throws away any milk that is not safe
  • freezes and stores milk
  • makes sure the milk meets a baby’s needs
  • ships frozen milk to users

Who can be a milk donor?

  • Healthy breastfeeding moms donate their extra milk.
  • These moms are checked (screened) to be sure their milk is safe; moms must pass a phone interview and a blood test (paid for by the donor milk bank).„

Moms cannot donate their milk if they:

  • Take certain medications or herbs
  • Drink more than 2 ounces of alcohol every day
  • smoke or use tobacco products
  • Use illegal drugs
  • Have been in the United Kingdom for more than 3 months
  • Have been in Europe for more than 5 years (since 1980)
  • Were born in or have traveled to the following countries:
    • Cameroon
    • Central Africa Republic
    • Chad
    • Congo
    • Equatorial Guinea
    • Gabon
    • Niger
    • Nigeria
  • Have any of these infections or conditions:
    • HIV
    • HTLV
    • Hepatitis B or C
    • Syphilis
    • A sexual partner at risk for HIV
    • Organ/tissue transplant or blood transfusion in the past 12 months

Please contact your baby’s doctor or your lactation consultant if you have any other questions about donor milk.