Human milk donors must be in good health and willing to pump, label and freeze milk. They also need excess milk beyond what their own child requires. “We look for a minimum of about 150 ounces of milk from each donor,” says Borman. “For some women this is collected quickly, and for some it is spread out over a few months.”
Borman says women will sometimes make a large one-time donation if they have a child who has quit nursing or even died, leaving the mother with a generous supply of frozen milk. Often mothers who have lost babies find donating milk to those desperately in need helps their family through the grieving process.
Whatever the situation may be, the demand for donated human milk for needy infants is there—and so is the need for donors, without whom milk banks wouldn’t survive. “[The parents receiving milk] are so grateful—extremely grateful,” says Borman. “They thank us profusely and send us letters for us to pass on to our donors. They can’t believe how generous people are.”
If you would like to give the precious gift of nutrition, you can find a milk bank close to you by visiting the The Human Milk Bank Association of North America.