Donor Breast Milk and Milk Banks
My two-month-old has a cleft palate and my supply is starting to decrease, so I need to find to find alternative ways to feed. Is donor breast milk safe?
Donor Milk is the Second-Best Milk for Babies
You ask a very important question about donor milk to which there is a lot of misinformation out there. Our family has had a lot of experience using donor milk, as has Dr. Bill in his pediatric practice. In 1992 when child number eight, Lauren, came into our lives as a newborn by adoption we decided she shouldn’t be deprived of the unique nutritional value of human milk for human babies just because she was adopted. And when we did try several of the non-allergenic formulas, we found that she wasn’t tolerating them.
You’ll be happy to know that a few years ago the World Health Organization came out with a statement that donor milk is the second-best milk for babies (infant formula came in third place). Milk banks are springing up all over, so if you don’t have enough healthy friends who want to become “milk moms” for your baby (you’ll need at least 24 ounces a day for the first few months) talk to your healthcare provider about using donor milk from a milk bank. And with a prescription from your pediatrician, your health insurance should be able to cover some if not all the cost. A baby with a cleft palate needs to have milk with the least risk of causing sensitivities, and that is the reason your child’s doctor can prescribe human donor milk.
Consult a Lactation Specialist
In addition, consult a lactation specialist who has experience helping mothers maximize their own milk supply. In my many years as a lactation consultant, I have found that when mothers truly realize the unique value of human milk for human babies (see our website AskDrSears.com for the latest on the uniqueness of human milk) they will naturally find a way to give their baby more of their own milk and safe donor milk. And obviously you do and that is why you are asking this important question.
I wish you happy feeding!
Written by: Dr. Bill and Martha Sears, RN
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”