When your baby makes her appearance in this world, your primary focus as a mother is to keep her healthy and safe. Fortunately, nature has ensured that you have the world’s healthiest food at your disposal. Yes, we are talking about breast milk!
‘Breast milk is best’ – the message now is ingrained in our psyche. Most mothers are going out of the way to breastfeed their babies for extended periods.
Sadly the story is not all rainbows for all women. Some breastfeeding women deny the opportunity for a variety of reasons. Hence, they are turning towards donor breast milk.
But Is Donor Breast Milk Safe?
If you are looking to feed your baby donor breast milk but are not sure about its safety, you need to read this article!
Why Do Babies Need Donor Breast Milk?
Donor breast milk is suitable for babies in the following situations:
Some women end up having a premature labor and deliver their babies earlier than their due dates. Many of these premature babies have to spend the first few weeks of their lives in the hospital. Such babies need breast milk to grow stronger. Unfortunately, many women are unable to breastfeed their premature babies. Donor breast milk is a great option for such families.
2. Health Issues:
Some women have health issues that make breastfeeding difficult or impossible. Such women too can give their babies the goodness of donor breast milk.
In some cases, women suffer from postnatal depression. Others can suffer from depression in general. If a woman requires anti-depressants, then breastfeeding may not be a good option. For some women, the very act of breastfeeding can trigger depression. For such women, donor breast milk can come as manna from heaven!
If a woman has a history of substance abuse, she can make use of donor milk too (1).
5. Going Back To Work:
Many women need to go back to work soon after giving birth. They too can use donor breast milk.
6. Inadequate Supply:
The amount of milk a baby needs can vary. Some women just don’t produce enough milk for their babies. Such women too are likely to use donor breast milk.
[ Read: Ways To Increase Breast Milk Supply ]
Donor Breast Milk Risks:
There are numerous risks associated with donor breast milk. Here are some of donor milk risks:
1. Disease Transmission:
Many people are wary of using donor breast milk in the fear of their baby contracting a disease. Though most official donors undergo screening, the fear of infection looms large. Especially, today when a lot of donor breast milk is traded unofficially over the Internet (2).
If you have found a private donor, you are susceptible to harassment. That is why it is always a better idea to make use of official breast milk banks.
3. Legal Action:
The legality of using donor milk is still hazy. So, you can also end up facing legal action after using donor breast milk.
Things To Keep In Mind While Using Donor Breast Milk:
If you have to use donor breast milk, you need to make sure it is safe. Some of the things you need to keep in mind include:
1. Check The Laws:
No, there is nothing illegal about breast milk. But different states have different laws that govern the usage of donor breast milk. So, make sure to check out the laws in your state before you seek donor breast milk for your little one.
2. Check Your Donor’s Background:
If you are going for a private donor, make sure to check her background.
3. Get A Blood Test Done:
If possible, ask the prospective donor to get a blood test done to screen out serious medical conditions like HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, etc.
4. Get A Doctor’s Letter:
It is always a good idea to get an all-clear letter from the donor’s doctor.
5. Use A Contract:
If you want to avoid unnecessary legal hassles, sign a donor contract. Use a good lawyer, if need be, and include clauses that you want to add. For example, you may ask the donor not to smoke while she is in contract with you.
[ Read: How To Store And Use Breast Milk ]
6. Use Pasteurized Breast Milk:
Most donor milk banks pasteurize breast milk before supplying it. But if you are still worried about infection and diseases, you can pasteurize breast milk at home too! You can also flash heat the milk to kill harmful bacteria.
7. Avoid Using The Internet To Find Donor Breast Milk:
It may be easier to find a willing donor online, but it is surely not safe! So stick to donor milk banks, if you can.
Breast milk can be an amazing gift for your baby. No matter why you need it, donor breast milk is a great option for many mothers out there. But because donor breast milk is still scarce, it is always a good idea to leave the milk for babies who need it, like the premature ones.
So, if you need to use some donor breast milk, go ahead. With a little care, you should be able to give your baby the goodness of breast milk for months to come. If you cannot, remember – it is perfectly acceptable to use formula to feed your baby!
Have you ever thought of using donor breast milk? Why does your baby need it? Share your story with us.
- Breast Milk Production: 5 Stages of Preparing Your Breasts For Feeding
- Top 10 Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding
- 8 Useful Tips To Control Your Exposure To Toxins During Breastfeeding
- How Much Milk Does Your Baby Need In The First Few Days?
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