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Milk Banking

(26 Posts)
HappyHollydays Sun 17-Jul-11 19:49:50

Does anyone have any general info about milk banking?

I offered when DD was 6 months but they said no thanks.

I am 25 weeks now, still feeding dd (2.6) and am likely to be tandem feeding unless DD suddenly has other ideas.

So, my questions are:

> Is it likely they won't want my milk this time because I'm still feeding DD?

> Am I being overly optimistic to think I'll have time to feed two dc and express for a milk bank?

I had donated milk as a preemie baby and I'd like to give back if I can.

(failing that, I also had a blood transfusion so I suppose I could always give blood <faints>)

crikeybadger Sun 17-Jul-11 20:02:28

organiccarrotcake is the woman in the know. smile

I thought that if you had a blood transfusion it meant you can't donate? I think if it was since 1980 it will exclude you.

The UKAMB website can answer some of your qu's. There is also a thread already running about fundraising ideas of UKAMB that you may like to pop over to and chip in with. It's here.

HarrietJones Sun 17-Jul-11 20:26:15

You can't donate milk or blood if you have received

HappyHollydays Sun 17-Jul-11 20:41:51

Thanks crikey I'll look at those links.

I thought I got out of blood donation because of the transfusion and tried that on last time I got approached to donate. It's if you've had donated blood since 1980 mine was 1978.

HappyHollydays Sun 17-Jul-11 20:42:27

I can't donate milk because I had donated milk?

I can donate blood.

HappyHollydays Sun 17-Jul-11 20:45:49

"In addition you cannot donate breastmilk if you have received a blood transfusion since 1980."

I don't fall under that exclusion.

NAR4 Sun 17-Jul-11 20:56:03

Check out the website from an earlier post. Not sure if you can donate breast milk if you have had a blood transfusion. If you can you will need blood samples taken when you are in hospital giving birth. You can start collecting breast milk straight away and then take it in for donation when your blood results are back. Thats what I did. You might find that there isn't a milk bank near you but ring them up and find out if there is a satalitte bank. Thats where I take my donated milk to. Hope you are able to donate, but if not maybe help with fundraising instead (that's if you can find the time with two little ones).

nannyl Sun 17-Jul-11 21:18:36

where i live you have to start milk donation BEFORE baby is 6 months old, but can continue until they are a year if already donating.

Also cant donate milk if you have ever had a blood transfusion.

that is probabaly why they said no thanks when baby was 6 months old smile

crikeybadger Sun 17-Jul-11 21:35:45

The transfusion thing is fine though as OP said it was in 1978 so before the cut off date of 1980.

Hoping someone else will pop along who will know about the actual practicalities of expressing and tandemning etc.

aswellasyou Sun 17-Jul-11 21:46:57

I've been wondering about donating milk. I've been told Birmingham won't take it if your baby's over 4 months. I'd hoped to donate in Liverpool when my daughter's 12 months. Is that not going to happen?

Can anyone explain why they want breastmilk when you've been feeding less than 4/6 months? I assumed the composition must change but that can't be the case if they'll take it later as long as you started donating in time.
I'm so confused by it all!confused

nannyl Sun 17-Jul-11 21:58:39

i think the reason is to do with the fact that breast milks changes to suit the baby its for, so the younger the baby the even better it is for the tiny babies in SCBU...

though i agree its mad to accept milk from someone with a baby who is 12 months old, yet to refuse it from a new donar with a 7month old

aswellasyou Sun 17-Jul-11 22:06:52

It's unfortunate then that it would be so much more practical to express with an older baby. There's no way I could have managed to express in the first 4 months or so. Where do people find the time?shock

Notanexcitingname Sun 17-Jul-11 22:46:07

It's not so much to do with the change in composition, as the time/cost factor in the screening for a new donor. If you start when your baby is 12 months, you may well stop when your baby is 13 months; supply changes, an expressing becomes harder. If you start at 2 months, you're likely to carry on for a good long time. My personal opinion is that 4 months is too low a cut off; as you said aswellasyou, it's hard to find time in the first 4 months.

Of course most prized is milk from mums of preterm babies who have an excess, as the composition is just right.

Grumpygils Sun 17-Jul-11 23:05:03

I know someone who donated whilst tandem feeding. She expressed once a day whilst feeding the newborn from the other side and then swapped sides and expressed the other. She did it at roughly the same time of day each day. I think she probably let her older child watch TV or something. She said she found she had more than enough milk, as the toddler ensured a healthy supply. I think she gave up in the end after a few months because she started to get blocked ducts regularly and found it harder to fit in expressing once her baby was mobile.

I know one milk bank turned her down when she told them she was feeding a toddler as well, but another was perfectly happy to take her milk confused.

HappyHollydays Mon 18-Jul-11 11:01:35

Thanks for all the messages. I looked at the website linked and it was clear on transfusion and also gave the reasons for not accepting after 6 months (which is as explained below - women tend not to bf as much once weaning has started and may decide to stop bf so it's a cost/benefit thing).

I had assumed it was a composition thing when they refused me last time.

I think I might email my two nearest. I'm quite close to 3 so I'm sure one of them won't mind me tandeming.

I can also see why preemie milk is so valued but hoping I'm not in that position...

organiccarrotcake Mon 18-Jul-11 12:14:49

Hi all,

Great discussion here smile

1) Blood transfusions. The current information is that if you have had a blood transfusion BEFORE 1980 you can donate, and if it was AFTER 1980, sadly your milk can't be used. I will check the new NICE guidelines to see if this has changed and get back to you.

2) As a few people have already said but I will confirm: milk changes over time, so milk that is being made for a baby over 12 months does not have the same composition of milk made for a younger baby. Some milk banks have a cut-off of 6 months, and some of 12 months for donors (this will come into line as the new NICE guidelines are brought in by all milk banks). For milk banks for accept up to 12 months, they generally say that you need to start before your baby is 6 months to ensure that you have enough time to donate enough milk to make the per-litre cost of processing it economical. The cost of processing bloods is around £100 so if a mum is then unable to donate much because, say, she's introducing so many complimentary foods that breastmilk is being replaced quite quickly, the per-litre cost for her milk is much higher than for a mum who can donate more. Milk banks are funded by the NHS (and it's already a fight to get managers to pay for BM over formula at a cost of around £100+ a litre) and those which are not are funded by charitable donations - so every penny counts.

3) Tandem feeding is fine because your milk changes to that suitable for your youngest nursling.

There is a UKAMB facebook page if you're interested: - it would be great if you would "like" it and spread the word. Also, without UKAMB there would be no milk banks, no guidelines to their safe running and no development of new milk banks. There wouldn't be research into milk banking and its benefits, and babies who could have been saved, will die.

If you can possibly consider supporting UKAMB as a member, please do:

aswellasyou Mon 18-Jul-11 12:42:07

So there's no way the Wirral bank would take my milk if my daughter's 12 months+. I thought I'd be able to express a couple of times a day for the 9 months I'll be there, I definitely didn't want to give up quickly. That's such a shame. I'll definitely think about it if I have another baby one day.

organiccarrotcake Mon 18-Jul-11 13:08:10

aswell probably not. Certainly not in theory. Maybe you could be a fundraiser instead - lots of ways to help milk banking grin

(I know I get boring going on about fundraising, but it's soooo vital if we want MBs to continue).

aswellasyou Mon 18-Jul-11 14:21:09

I would like to help in theory, but I struggle to find time to do things at the moment. I'm a single parent and about to go to university without anyone around me to help out.
I do talk to people about it though! They mostly ignore me as usual.

organiccarrotcake Mon 18-Jul-11 15:03:31

aswell oh how exciting about Uni - although clearly a massive commitment as a SP. Hope it all worksd out for you smile What will you study?

Do keep talking about it. People do take these things in and just sometime, somewhere it will click with someone. For instance, one person you talk to who may dismiss it may suddenly get a relative or a friend with a prem baby and remember what you said.

aswellasyou Mon 18-Jul-11 19:39:36

I'm panicking inside about it all!grin I'm just going to do the final year of a Maths degree. Thankfully it is only one year, not three.

My cousin had her son at 27 weeks last year. She was lucky enough to be able to express straight away, although it took a lot of persuading to get her to do it-she's not very pro breastfeeding. By the time her son came out of hospital, she'd actually expressed so much that they kept the surplus for other babies. I think there was another litre. I assume she'd had blood tests at some point.

organiccarrotcake Mon 18-Jul-11 22:05:55

Oh good on her. And brilliant that she did that for her LO. Possibly saved his life given the very serious increased risk NEC when a prem is given formula.

Any idea why she wasn't pro breastfeeding, and what persuaded her to express?

Maths degree eh? <impressed emoticon> smile

aswellasyou Mon 18-Jul-11 23:03:19

I don't know why she wasn't pro breastfeeding to be honest. Most of our family seem to think formula is fantastic!hmm I was always being hinted at that formula would be better for my daughter. Maybe it's just been engrained into her. I never pushed it because she was very adamant she didn't want to breastfeed. I hadn't done much research on it but I knew I wanted to breastfeed because there's no way nature could be wrong.grin There were four of us (my sister and two cousins) pregnant at the same time so probably too many hormones flying around to start potential arguments!

I think it was a nurse who had a sit down and a long talk with her and explained how much better breast milk was for her son, who everyone expected to die so any opportunity to give him a better chance at life was worth the effort. He's 11 months old now and doing quite well. He still has a couple of minor issues but it could have been so much

organiccarrotcake Tue 19-Jul-11 08:14:56

Good on the nurse smile Hard convo to have given how people sometimes just then start talking about them being you-know-whats.

organiccarrotcake Tue 19-Jul-11 08:16:11

Honestly, I genuinely do not understand how anyone could possibly think that formula is as "good" or "better" than BM. I really, really don't. Although, hats off to their marketing people. They really are amazing. The bastards.

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