A human milk bank, or breast milk bank, is a service that collects, screens, processes and dispenses, by prescription, human milk donated by nursing mothers not related to the receiving infant. The best nutrition for newborn infants is from breastfeeding, when possible, for the first year. Human milk banks offer a solution to mothers who aren’t able to supply their own breast milk. The largest group using donor milk is premature babies. Infants with gastrointestinal (certain types of tummy trouble) or metabolic disorder (babies who need essential substances) may also consume this milk. A milk bank allows hospitals and other facilities to use human breast milk, instead of formula.
The 1960’s saw a decline in milk banking due to advances in neonatal care and baby formula. Despite this, in 1980 the World Health Organization maintained their position that donor breast milk is the BEST alternative to the mother’s breast milk. The banking of milk further declined with the HIV epidemic. Improving screening methods have made donated milk a viable alternative to mothers’ breast milk. The human milk is pasteurized and can be stored for up to eight months.
The Human Milk Banking Association of North America believes in a world where all infants have access to human milk. There are donor requirements which must be met in other for a donor to qualify for milk donation. The Human Milk Repository of New Mexico is a local milk bank. Healthy moms with extra breast milk may apply. If you need human milk for your baby or would like to be a donor, please call 505.750.0833. For further questions about breastfeeding, please join our New Parent Group or call Lovelace Lactation at 505.727. 6797.
Blog written by Darlene Lundquist, RN with Lovelace Labor of Love.