I don’t know how much is known out there about sharing breast milk. There are milk banks that supply milk to NICU’s around the country, and sometimes to homes. In order to receive breast milk for your baby through a milk bank you would need a prescription from a doctor…which kind of blows my mind. But anyway, for mothers wanting to feed their baby’s breast milk for either preference or health reasons, getting milk from a milk bank can cost $3-$4.50 per ounce. Yes, per ounce. For 30 ounces a day, that would range from $90-$135 per day. Outrageous! Now, if you have a baby that cannot tolerate formula of any kind, and you cannot produce the milk needed for your baby, what would happen if you had to spend this much money per day? I spent that much in one month on formula. That is just insane.
There are also milk sharing communities. One such community is Human Milk 4 Human Babies. HM4HB is a global milk sharing network, their page lists the various local geographic chapters that you could donate through.
For several months now I have “liked” their page, to include my local chapter with the plan of eventually donating some milk myself. When I had 300 ounces of milk in my freezer I said I’d donate when I reached 400. Then I said 450. Then 500. I am now at 525 ounces of milk in the freezer….but I’m scared. I’m scared that if I donate 50 or 100 ounces, I will suddenly have no milk and be unable to feed my own baby. I’ve worked really hard for this milk, I’m not sure I could just give so much away at once. I picture myself standing their with the recipient of my milk and having a slight tug-o-war until I slowly let the milk out of my grasp.
Somethings gotta give soon though, I’ve overtaken one shelf in my deep freezer where I can almost not fit anymore milk, on that shelf…I may have to start on a new shelf soon. Perhaps I won’t put a number of ounces on when I will donate, perhaps I will put a timetable, maybe September when Madison is 9 months…I don’t know.
Then there is my newest fear in light of the recent weather induced power outages….I won’t go there.
If you’ve donated, please share your experience whether it was through a milk bank or milk sharing community.