Charitable giving peaks during the holiday season as many of us strive to do our part to help others. New moms have a unique opportunity to donate something life-saving to babies: their breast milk. Although it may seem like a strange way to give back during the holidays, breast milk donation is exactly what many babies across the nation need for survival and wellbeing, and exactly what you have to offer at this golden time in your life.
Breast milk donation is on the rise as the health benefits and lifelong value of this precious commodity become more and more well-known. Breast milk can save a baby’s life, nurse her to better health and offer her a better future. And when you look at it that way, we can’t think of a better opportunity for holiday giving than breast milk donation.
Three Ways to Support Breast Milk Donation
1) Donate Breast Milk: Breast milk donation is a gift of a lifetime and if you are nursing you are uniquely qualified to give it. Breast milk banks operate all over the country and you can fairly simply donate your own breast milk to one or more. Before you start collecting milk, contact a few breast milk banks to find out the procedure for breast milk donation. Most require health questionnaires, a blood test and reassurances that you are pumping, handling and storing your breast milk in the most sanitary ways.
It’s most important, however, to ensure you are not putting your own baby at risk to donate breast milk. Donation is best served if you are over-producing breast milk that your baby does not need or if you have stopped giving your own baby breast milk altogether.
2) Donate Financially: Donate money to a breast milk bank to help cover operating costs. If you are deciding where to donate charitable funds this holiday season, consider a breast milk bank that supports the health of babies, many of whom are in critical need of the antibodies and nutrients breast milk has to offer. This is as worthy of a charity as any you may select. Consider holding a fundraiser within your breastfeeding support group, La Leche League or playgroup to donate to breast milk banks.
3) Spread the Word: Breast milk donation may be foreign to some moms but you can spread the word about its benefits to many other babies in your community and beyond. Within your circle of mom friends and in your social media breastfeeding support network, advocate for breast milk donation to moms who may have a plethora of milk to share. Much like the breastfeeding awareness cause, disseminating information about breast milk donation is essential to garner greater participation.
Breast milk is one of the most powerful gifts you can give this holiday season. Not everyone has the circumstances to donate in this way. Take advantage of this unique time in your life when you can help other babies survive and thrive with the gift of breast milk.