What was your first thought when you learned there was a local Milk Bank?  Most often the reaction we receive is disbelief that such a resource has been around for 6 years in Indiana and much longer in other states. Sometimes, people ask if we help pump moms milk in our office. That makes us laugh.

 

So, today we are going to dispel some misconceptions.

 

  • Anyone can just drop of milk: No, Sorry. We have to ensure the safety of our milk and therefore our Milk Donors are required to go through an approval process that involves in depth medical questioning, blood testing and the approval of both Mom’s Healthcare Provider and the baby’s Pediatrician,

 

  • Donors have to pay to donate: Not the case, in fact we cover all the cost of donating including the cost of drawing and testing your blood. We pay for shipping, we can provide milk storage bags, and if  you’re local we’ll pick up your milk.

 

  • The approval process is too intimidating:  We hope not. From the packet we only need a few forms back. The Healthcare Provider forms will need to be signed by your doctors but we will fax them if you cannot get them signed. After we receive all the forms, the last step is to have your blood drawn. Donors can go to any Quest Diagnostic location and if the Quest location is not convenient, we will ship you a blood draw kit that you can take to a lab or doctors office or nurse to have your blood drawn.   Quick tip: If you ask, most healthcare providers will donate their time to draw your blood if you explain what it’s for.

 

  • My milk has been in the freezer for 6 months, can you take it? YES! If you are an approved donor, we can take milk that has been stored for 6-7 months. That means milk that was pumped 6 months ago.  If you have a specific question, PLEASE CALL US! We do not want to see your milk go to waste.

 

  • Why can we only accept milk that has been stored for 6 months?  Breast milk that has been frozen for longer then 6 months starts to loose some of it’s nutritional value.

 

  • IMMB can only accept milk that was pumped in my first 6 months post partum:  NO! Not true! IMMB can accept milk that has been pumped throughout your child’s first year of life and has been stored in your freezer for no longer then 6 months.

 

  • I donated 6 months ago when my baby was 3 months old, do I need to be re-approved? Absolutely not! Your initial approval is valid until your baby is a year old and milk you pump can still be accepted after their first birthday if it was pumped before they turned one. Confused yet?

 

  • IMMB can only accept milk pumped in the bags we provide: Nope. We can send you bags if you need them but we can accept milk in any brand of milk storage bag. Ziplock bags excluded. We prefer bags to milk frozen in storage trays.

 

  • I don’t have 100 ounces to give right now can I still donate?  YES! We just ask that you provide us with 100oz before your baby’s first birthday,

 

  • I can’t donate, I’m taking prescription medication. Not so! There are some medications that are perfectly compatible with donating like synthroid or the mini pill. Prenatal vitamins are also fine if they do not contain herbs. We'd love to talk to you about your specific medication before determining if you're medication is compatible with donating. Email us, call us or find us on Facebook or Twitter!

 

  • Human Milk Banking is too new.  Not true! We’ve been around since 2005 but other Milk Banks associated with the Human Milk Banking Association of North America have been around since the 70’s.

 

  • IMMB pays Donors for their human milk donation. Nope. Not true. We are a non-profit and rely upon the generosity of our Donors to be able to provide Pasteurized Donor Human Milk to premature and sick NICU babies. We are a community milk bank and look for community grants to help support our Mission also.

 

  • People only donate for compensation. We have been so blessed to have received the excess breast milk from Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, and Stay at Home Moms who have maintained a pumping schedule when they returned to work and have found they have more then their own child will consume.  Our donors are willing to donate their milk without compensation because they know how important breast milk can be to sick or fragile babies.

 

  • Pasteurized Donor Human Milk is free.  Unfortunately, PDHM is not free. We wish we could provide the life saving properties of human milk to all babies for free but we can’t. So we charge a processing fee to our ordering hospitals to cover the costs of the milk bank.

 

  • Why is PDHM so expensive? We wish it wasn’t but unfortunately we process the milk by hand. We thaw it, combine it and bottle it by hand. The only automated part of our process is the actual pasteurization that is done in a machine that brings the milk up to the appropriate temperature for the appropriate amount of time.

 

  • Why can’t Donors ship milk on Thursdays? Simply because Thursday is too close to the weekend. If the shipping carrier would mess up and not deliver your milk on Friday, we wouldn’t get the box till Monday and there is nothing worse than breast milk sitting unrefrigerated for 3+ days. So, to be on the safe side we ask that Donors only ship to us Monday thru Wednesday.

 

  • Why isn’t there a Milk Depot near me? We’d like more depots! We’d like to make donating to us the easiest experience possible and Milk Depots help to alleviate the hassle of packing a box, finding dry ice and taking the box to UPS. If you know of a business or organization who would be willing to volunteer their time to be a Milk Depot, let us know!
  • Someone in my home has a cold, can I donate milk pumped durning that time? We ask that you notify us if someone in your household has more then a cold so that we can determine the level of risk to the milk. Most times that is no reason why we cannot accept milk pumped during these times. Our biggest concern is medication. If you become sick and take a medication or herbal treatment, please let us know.

 

  • I called you today, why didn’t you return my phone call today? Please forgive us if this is the case but please know that we are a staffed with 3 full time employees who wear many hats. Trust us,  we’re just really busy. Please have patience with us. Always feel free to email your need or request, we can answer emails long after we’ve left the office. We're available on Facebook and Twitter too!