Thank you for your precious gift!
Thinking of donating your surplus breastmilk? It takes many donors to supply one baby with exclusive breast milk feeds, twelve to fifteen in fact!
At Mother's Milk NZ your donated milk does not just go to premature, small and sick babies but to babies whose mothers cannot breastfeed for medical or other reasons such as:
contraindicated medication or recreational drugs
insufficient glandular breast tissue
adopted, surrogate or fostered
other full time caregiver such as grandparents or solo father.
hormonal issues such as, Poly Cystic Ovaries or Hypothyroidism
blood transfusion - can reduce milk supply initially.
maternal mental health
tongue or lip tie
cleft lip palette abnormality
small for gestation
other breastfeeding difficulties
Below are the steps for donating breast milk.
Steps for donating breastmilk:
First step: Complete the lifestyle questionnaire
Please complete the online Donor lifestyle questionnaire in the below link.
If you answer yes to some of the questions, it does not automatically mean you cannot donate. Such as; coffee, medications and alcohol intake CAN be okay whilst donating, we need to be aware so we can pass this information on to the recipient family, as the decision is ultimately up to them.
For more information on medication and breastmilk, see link below: Medication and donor breastmilk info.
It is especially important to continually update us regularly on any medication you are taking or any changes in your health.
For a minimum one off donation, we require a 7L milk donation if you are no longer with your midwife, due to the cost of the blood tests.
For a minimum initial donation as an ongoing donor for 3 months or more, we require 5L if you are no longer with your midwife due to the cost of blood tests.
Second step: Blood tests.
We require you to have a blood test before donating your breastmilk. Your antenatal bloods do not include Hep C, CMV and HTLV 1&2, they will be outdated as these blood tests only last for 3 months before they need to be renewed.
For some of the viruses we test for, you may not know you have had a past infection. An example: Cytomegalovirus - CMV, approximately 80% of the population have had CMV at some stage in their life and once they have been infected, it can resurface at any time. It is critical that we know your CMV status, as this can be life threatening for a premature baby or a baby with ongoing health issues if consuming raw unpasteurised milk.
Getting your blood tests as soon as possible is very important. Currently, in the South Island and some North island labs, the HTLV 1&2 test can take up to 2 weeks to receive a result. This delays babies receiving screened milk and unfortunately we cannot do anything about this.
If you are donating to a baby who has an urgent request for milk, please ask your GP or Midwife to mark your lab form as “URGENT” to speed up the process.
If you cannot get your blood tests through your midwife (which are free), please consult us first before heading to your GP as we may have funding available or a recipient may be able to pay for your blood tests. Blood tests can cost between $100 and $165 with our discount.
The tests required for milk donation:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- CMV IgG and IgM (Cytomegalovirus)
- HTLV 1&2 (Human T-lymphotropic Virus or Human T-cell
Once your results have been released from the lab you can ask your doctor to email these to you straight away, or you can pick them up directly from the blood lab with some photo ID. Please ensure that your results have your name and the date the blood was drawn on each page. Once you have your results please email them to us.
If MMNZ are paying for your blood tests then these results will be sent to us directly.
If MMNZ or a Recipient is paying for your blood tests then you are obligated to reserve your milk for donation through our organisation, unless urgently required for your own baby i.e. you need to have surgery - refer to the Lifestyle Questionnaire and agreement.
Third step: Collect and store your milk.
Please store in double zip locked sterile milk storage bags, this reduces the risk of a leak or bag splitting. Write your name, date, time of day, any recent medication or coffee/alcohol/food allergen if applicable intake (within two hours of pumping milk).
To freeze take out any air left in the top of the bag - this allows the frozen milk to expand, lie the milk bag on a flat surface - makes for easier storage and packing for delivery and to reduce the incidence the bag splitting if knocked.
STORAGE TIME - 6 months in chest freezer/stand alone freezer and 3 months in fridge/freezer.
What if your milk is older?
We follow International Milk Banking guidelines, however your milk is still good to use, it will just degrade as it ages. We may still be able to share your milk with recipients with full disclosure regarding its age if it has just past its expiry date.
Fourth Step: Deliver milk
We often ship milk around New Zealand, if you are happy to be matched to a recipient out of your local area, you will need to find a polystyrene box and a business address with a chiller. If you do not live near a Provida Foods depot or a subcontractors depot, then an appropriate business address would be:
A free polystyrene box is reasonably easy to access from:
or if you live near an ambassador we can get a box to you.
We are here to help you navigate through this process.
You'll find lots of helpful information on our FAQ page including questions such as:
- How to label bags of milk?
- How to store your milk?
- Where can I find affordable milk storage bags?
- Will it cost me anything?
We're here to help you navigate through this process. Please contact us with any further questions