Any lactating woman who has successfully gone through the donor qualification process is eligible to donate breast milk. This includes mamas who have experienced a miscarriage or fetal demise, given a baby up for adoption and those who have been a surrogate for another family. If you have been a surrogate, please contact Milkin' Mamas before filling out the online donor application.
If you are healthy with a good medical history, you are a likely candidate. You will need to complete an on-line donor application, get medical confirmation forms signed by your doctor and your baby's doctor, give a temperature reading of your freezer, have your blood tested for viruses and give a DNA cheek cell sample, all at no cost to you. Our minimum donation is 100 ounces. Please review our Pre-Qualification Guidelines.
The entire application process takes approximately 2-4 weeks. This time frame depends a lot on the eagerness of the donor and how quickly the Medical Confirmation forms, the freezer temperature reading, the blood testing and DNA samples are completed. Please view our 4 Steps to Breast Milk Donation, to get a detailed idea of what is involved in becoming a donor and take a look at our Become a Breast Milk Donor page. All costs for testing and shipping are covered and there is never any cost to the donor.
Premature and critically ill babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units in hospitals across the United States will ultimately receive the milk donated through Milkin' Mamas. Donated milk is shipped directly from your home to Prolacta Bioscience, the milk processing lab. Your milk will be used to create human milk fortifier and standardized human milk, processed from 100% human breast milk and sold to hospitals across the United States. Click here to learn how donated breast milk goes from donor to recipient.
No, Milkin' Mamas does not supply milk to individual families. We facilitate milk donations between breastfeeding mamas and Prolacta Bioscience, the milk processing lab. All of the milk collected goes specifically to nourish premature and critically ill babies in hospital NICUs and must be ordered through the baby's neonatologist.
Although Milkin' Mamas is located in Southern California, we are able to facilitate milk donations from mamas across the continental United States. At this time, we are unable to accept donations from mamas who are in Alaska and Hawaii or outside of the United States.
Yes, we do accept one time donations. We require a minimum of 100 ounces, but we will gratefully accept more. We are able to accept milk that has been consistently frozen for up to 10 months.
Yes, if the milk has been consistently frozen and properly stored for up to 10 months from the day it was pumped. All previously collected milk must be put into the freezer within 12 hours after pumping and stored in bags or bottles designed to store human milk. Each bag/bottle must be labeled with the month, day and year of collection.
The ideal freezer temperature should be -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) or colder to safely store donor milk.
Because you are pumping for critically ill babies, it is very important to carefully wash your hands with hot, soapy water. If you shower daily, you do not need to wash your breasts before pumping. If you are not able to shower daily, wash your breasts once a day. Take extra time to thoroughly wash your hands because harmful bacteria can be transmitted from your hands to the pumped milk. Though not necessarily dangerous to full term babies, some of these bacteria are dangerous to critically ill infants in the NICU and are not killed through pasteurization. Your donation will be tested for these bacteria and if they are found, your milk will be discarded. Do not handle your pump or your collection containers until you have washed your hands. Wash your pump parts regularly and collect breast milk into a dry, clean container which has been scrubbed with hot soapy water and thoroughly rinsed. The use of a sponge for washing is not recommended unless the sponge is only used to wash your breast milk bottles and the sponge is allowed to dry between uses. If possible, after the bottles and pump parts have been washed, run them through the dishwasher to sanitize them. Breast massage sometimes helps the flow of milk. After massaging the breast, roll the nipple back and forth using your index finger and thumb. Stretch the nipple slightly. This will encourage the release of hormones that help the flow of milk.
Pump directly into the cleaned bottle connected to the pump. When you have finished your pumping session or the bottle is full, transfer the milk into a breast milk storage container. Label the bag/bottle with the month, day and year of collection and how many ounces it contains. If possible freeze the milk immediately after expressing. Containers should be stored separately from other foods in the freezer. Ideally your freezer should be -4 degrees Fahrenheit or less. If you use milk storage bags, freeze them laying down flat as opposed to standing up. This saves room in your freezer and makes packing the shipping cooler easier.
Milkin' Mamas accepts milk from all qualified donors regardless of how long they have been nursing. There is no time limit on how long you can donate your milk. Since Prolacta Bioscience blends and formulates the milk specifically for preterm babies, there is less concern about minor variations in nutrients that may occur later in lactation.
After you have gone through the Donor Qualification Process and have been approved to donate, a shipping cooler will be delivered to your home so that you can package up your frozen milk for donation. Your milk will be picked up by FedEx and sent directly to Prolacta's lab, at no cost to you.
Most medications are not permitted for use while donating breast milk. Please check with Milkin' Mamas to discuss any medications (prescription, over-the-counter or herbal supplements) you have taken since your baby was born. Many medications and herbs that are permitted during lactation are not acceptable for donation because donor milk is used exclusively for premature and critically ill infants. If you do take any medications while you are pumping milk, please make note of it on the milk collection bag so you can easily identify the milk that contains medication.
No, smoking and the use of tobacco products or nicotine patch is not allowed for donors.
Yes, Milkin' Mamas accepts milk from donors consuming less than two units of alcohol per day (a unit is equal to one glass of wine, one beer or one shot of liquor).
Please contact Milkin' Mamas whenever you are feeling ill or if anyone in the family is ill. We can tell you if you should stop pumping for donation until your illness passes.
No, we rely on the goodness of mamas who voluntarily share their precious milk. We do not pay donors for their milk. All supplies and related expenses to donate are covered. Donated milk is not tax deductible. There are primarily two reasons why donors are not compensated for their milk donations. First, our aim is to facilitate milk donations only from a mother's surplus milk supply– milk that may otherwise be poured down the drain or tossed. To that end, we would not want to provide any financial incentive for a mother to donate milk which would, and should, be fed to her own infant. Second, while Prolacta conducts extensive pasteurization and testing to ensure the safety of their products for extremely vulnerable preemies, they still rely on the honesty of our donors in the initial screening process to document any health practices that would be relevant and potentially harmful, such as herbal supplements, drugs of abuse, or excessive alcohol use. Providing a financial incentive directly to the moms may impact the accuracy of that screening.
Prolacta Bioscience produces human milk fortifier. Prolact+ H2MF is the first and only human milk fortifier made from 100% human breast milk (as opposed to cow's milk). H2MF is intended for critically ill and premature infants in the NICU. Although your donated milk forms the precious raw material needed by these infants, extensive testing, formulation and processing must be done so that doctors can feel confident that the human milk formulations they give their patients are as safe as possible. In order to provide this processing and formulation, millions of dollars were invested in processing equipment and testing. Much like the blood banking industry, the milk is donated by individuals, tested, processed and sold to hospitals. Prolacta Bioscience is a for-profit company that has built a business model that is sustainable so that parents of preterm babies can trust that there will be a ready source of safe human milk formulations when babies need it.
Milkin' Mamas is a socially conscious company that incorporates a sustainable for-profit business model with accomplishing social goals. Milkin' Mamas is compensated by Prolacta Bioscience to inform and educate lactating mamas about milk donation, identify potential donors and to assist mamas through the process of becoming a breast milk donor. In addition to working to provide premature babies with the best nutrition possible, Milkin' Mamas financially supports causes that improve the lives of women, children, and families.