“Hey Kim! Is there a place in Regina that I can donate frozen breast milk. I have so much more than I need and don’t know what to do with it.” This is a common text or email that I receive. The short answer is “Yes”. There is a formal route and an informal route.
Northern Star Mothers Milk Bank in Calgary is the closest milk bank that we have to donate to in a formal manner. In Saskatchewan, we do have several depot drop points for approved donors. Approved donors; what are those? Mothers have to be screened and approved before they can donate to the milk bank or take to the milk depots. You can see eligibility criteria here. If you are eligible you can start the intake process. At the Northern Star Milk Bank donated milk is pooled, pasteurized and tested. This milk is then provided, at a cost, to sick babies in hospitals and homes around the country.
The informal way is mom-to-mom milk sharing. This can be facilitated within mom support groups or online with social media pages like Human Milk for Human Babies Saskatchewan or Eats on Feets Saskatchewan. This kind of sharing leaves the need of asking questions up to the recipients. Recipients might ask questions about their health history, recent tests, the age of the baby/milk, diet, lifestyle, etc. The people that usually use this informal route of milk donation typically do not quality for pasteurized human donor milk from the milk bank.
The important part of all donating and receiving donated milk, is to do your research, gather an understanding of the processes, benefits and risks, feeding goals and sustainability of using or donating donor milk.
I consider donating of human milk to be such as amazing gift. It is such a valuable substance and is in limited amounts, yet widely needed. It is just as limited in the time frame that women are able give so much of themselves to help someone else.