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Donating milk to a specific mother?

(21 Posts)
ChairmumMiaow Wed 27-Aug-08 14:23:07

My DS is 7 months, and we've recently met an amazing mum with a tiny premmie baby, born at 32 weeks, but now at just over term (10 weeks) the mum is having to face some time in hospital for an operation that was put off when she was pregnant.

She's been trying to express to save some milk for this time away, as she really doesn't want her DD to have formula if she can help it. I don't know if she can get any from a milk bank, but I have plenty, and would like to share!

Does anyone know if you can donate specifically for another mother? Also, I've heard that milk banks only take milk from mothers with babies up to 6 months.

This mum has done so well with her breastfeeding, has been determined in the face of 7-10 hour cluster feeds and feelings of isolation, and that she's not doing as well as her 'super mum' friends, I just want to do something to help her achieve what she really wants.

Is this a good idea, or am I crazy?

cyanarasamba Wed 27-Aug-08 14:24:35

As a private arrangement between the two of you I don't see the problem.

alarkaspree Wed 27-Aug-08 14:29:49

I think it would be difficult to donate to a milk bank on behalf of a particular mother. But if you express the milk and give it to her in person it would be fine, if she is happy to accept it.

To donate to a milk bank you have to start before your baby is 6 months, then you can carry on as long as you want. I'm not sure why.

Lazycow Wed 27-Aug-08 14:30:08

Well why not speak to the mother? she may or may not be happy about using breast milk from another woman. If she is there is no problem.

You could express and freeze your milk and give it to the mother to put in her own freezer. That way she can add to her own bank of frozen expressed milk which can be used to feed the baby while she is in hospital. Yours could be used as back up if hers runs out in while she is in hospital.

She will neeed to express (or feed the baby)while in hospital to keep up her supply. A lot depends on what the operation is and how long she will be in for.

tiktok Wed 27-Aug-08 14:31:24

Chairmum, I don't think you will be able to ask a milk bank to direct your milk to one mother - my understanding is the milk is pooled and pateurised.

Private arrangments - quite a different matter.

lizzytee Wed 27-Aug-08 14:33:51

CM, you will not get any healthcare professional to sanction an arrangement like this as since the mid 1980's there has been too much concern about blood borne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV being transmitted via donated milk. However, if you are both comfortable with this aspect then no-one can stop you doing it as a private arrangement.

You cannot donate for a specific mother even if there is a milk bank in your area. You are also right that milk banks won't accept donations if your baby is aged more than six months when you start.

BTW, does your friend know about BLISS, their parent messageboard was a lifeline to me when I had my dd.

ajm200 Wed 27-Aug-08 14:34:16

I guess you'd have to agree it between yourselves.

When I had my son my milk came in very fast and another lady on the ward had a very poorly baby in SBU. She was desperate to BF but couldn't express. She heard the MW say I had a good supply and asked me to express some for her baby. I didn't mind but the MW was horrified and told us it was against hospital guidelines for health and safety reasons.

I guess they are worried that I could pass an illness onto her child through my milk

TheProvincialLady Wed 27-Aug-08 14:34:19

I agree with Lazycow...and as someone who expressed whilst in hospital for a week, can I pass on some advice for your friend? Get her to find out what facilities they have for helping her to express and store the milk BEFORE she goes in. I was an emergency case and so found myself in a very public ward with other people's visitors asking what the noise was (my expressing machine) and they would not store my milk in the fridge 'for health and safety reasons'hmm So I had to get my husband to bring a cool box in every day with fresh ice packs and take away the last 24 hours of milk (because that was so much safer for my DS than just putting it in their fridgeangry

Next time I would speak to the ward manager in advance and make sure they made decent provision for me.


ajm200 Wed 27-Aug-08 14:35:29

looks like I x-posted with lizzytee

lizzytee Wed 27-Aug-08 14:55:19

no worries, ajm200, comes to the same conclusion.

ChairmumMiaow Wed 27-Aug-08 15:40:27

I guess I'll discuss it with her. She can't feed because of her anasthetic - for around 24 hours or so (she knows, she's an anesthatist!) so she'll just need to pump and dump, and have some milk for her DD which I presume her DH is looking after.

tiktok Wed 27-Aug-08 16:07:57

She shouldn't need to suspend bf for 24 hours....I don't care that she is an anaesthetist and knows about these things! She is not a paediatrician or an expert on drugs in milk. However she will agree, surely, that once you are conscious, the anaesthetic is no longer in your blood stream, and that if it is no longer in your blood it is no longer in your milk (unless it somehow metabolises....?).

Mothers who have a GA with a section are not prevented from bf straight away.

And even if the anaesthetic gets into the milk - so what? What would be the ill effect of it? Would it be worth worrying about?

All Qs she can ask herself

TheProvincialLady Wed 27-Aug-08 16:49:49

I had a general anaesthetic for my operation and had a long chat with the anaethetist beforehand. He checked that the GA would be fine and came back to tell me there would be no problems with BF.

ChairmumMiaow Fri 29-Aug-08 19:25:49

Tiktok - I'll make sure I discuss that with her - I think its quite possible I didn't get the correct reason for not BF (although I know it is to do with the operation).

tiggerlovestobounce Fri 29-Aug-08 19:32:11

She is wrong about the anaesthetic. There is the possibility of mild short term sleepyness in the baby, but that isnt usually a reason not to BF if you want to.

halogen Fri 29-Aug-08 19:44:03

I had a GA and was allowed to breastfeed immediately afterwards.

Liz79 Sat 30-Aug-08 22:14:46

The anesthetic would be fine, as tiktok says babies born by CS under GA can BF immediately. Perhaps some of the drugs she has as part of the treatment for her actual illness could contraindicate it though?

thisisyesterday Sat 30-Aug-08 22:18:41

well, you could offer and see what she says.
I expressed for my friends baby for a few months when she was struggling with bf.
just pumped into the freezer bag things and then took her a big bag over now and then

ReallyTired Sat 30-Aug-08 22:24:53

ChairmumMiaow, I think your friend is lucky to have a friend like you.

I imagine that sharing of milk between two women is private arrangement. The difficultly that your friend's baby might have is nipple confusion. Is her baby able to cup feed?

I suggest that you and your friend contact the La Leche League for advice. It would be sad if the baby forgot how to feed from a breast.

lou031205 Sat 30-Aug-08 22:46:35

Just a small note - although it is usual to only take on donors whose babies' are less than 6 months, if fully breastfeeding with a good supply, some do take on donations for the first time after 6 months.

I phoned Southampton milk bank when DD was 6.5 months, and by the time all the tests had been processed she would have been coming up for 8 months, but they said that if I was willing, so were they.

In the end I didn't go on to donate for various reasons, mainly being exhausted.

I just wanted to say that so that potential donors aren't put off.

ChairmumMiaow Sun 31-Aug-08 15:21:33

reallytired - thanks!

Her DD already takes a bottle as she has to have some extra vitamins so gets an expressed feed withn them added.

I should see her tomorrow so I'll bring it up then

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