How it’s processed
Depending on the location, most banks can arrange for shipping from anywhere within the United States and sometimes from Canada. Others have local depot collecting centers where you can drop off your donation and they will arrange shipping for you. The milk should be frozen prior to the donation and labeled with the day, month and year that the milk was expressed.
The milk is then sent to a special lab where it is sterilized and processed to make sure it is safe for baby to drink. The milk is processed into a fortified supplement, which, when given to a baby in addition to the mom’s own milk, increases the amount of protein and nutrients the baby receives. This is an incredible product for very sick babies; it allows them to get all of the benefit of breast milk with the added “stuff” that they need. It can also be turned into “standard milk” for babies in the NICU when mom isn’t able to breastfeed herself, even if the added nutritional supplements aren’t required.
Find a bank
There are currently eleven-licensed milk banks located across the United States and Canada that accept donations from lactating mamas. In 2005, almost 750,000 ounces of breast milk were donated to babies across North America. Many of the banks were formed by moms who recognize the importance of breast milk for ill babies. Visit the Human Milk Banking Association of North America to locate a breast milk bank close to you.