Resources for Donor Mothers

Already a Milk Donor? We’d love to hear your story!

Instructions for Collecting & Storing Human Milk

Thank you for taking the time to share your milk with another mother whose baby needs it. Please follow the steps below to minimize the chance of milk contamination and loss of milk.

Before Pumping

  • Wash your hands well with soap and warm water, then dry them with a clean paper towel or cloth.
  • Use a clean flange and milk storage container with each pumping session.
While Pumping
  • Pump into clean milk storage container designed to store human milk.
  • If using a milk storage bag, please DO NOT fill the milk storage bags past the suggested amount because the bag allows for expansion in freezing. Breast milk will expand and the bag could burst during freezing if overfilled. Bags with holes result in milk loss.
  • Try to relax while pumping. Being warm and looking at photos of your baby can help facilitate milk letdown.
  • Milk storage bags are available from The Milk Bank upon request.
After Pumping
  • Label the bag with your name, amount of milk in the bag and the date it was pumped.
  • When pumping away from home, store your milk in a cooler with ice pack or refrigerator, then transfer to the freezer once you get home.
  • Please freeze milk within 24 hours after refrigeration.
  • The Milk Bank requires milk for donation to be stored: Up to 6 months from the pump date in a side-by-side freezer and up to 9 months in a deep freezer.
  • Rinse your pump parts in cool water prior to washing in order to remove residual milk.
  • Between pumping sessions, please wash your pumping parts in warm, soapy water and rinse twice in hot water then allow to air dry on a paper towel.
  • Cover your pumping parts between uses.
  • Sanitize your pumping parts once in a 24-hour period.
  • Human Milk needs to be stored in the middle of the freezer and not on the door to prevent it from defrosting when the freezer goes through a defrost cycle.
  • Please do not combine milk from different pumping sessions. Freezing smaller amounts of milk is perfectly fine.
  • If someone in your home is sick, please contact The Milk Bank, it may be necessary to exclude your milk.
  • If you have a breast infection, which may or may not require antibiotic treatment, please contact us.
  • If you have a yeast infection on your nipples, if you have fever blisters, or if your baby has thrush, please contact us it may be necessary to exclude your milk during this time frame.
  • Please remember, if you drink alcohol, do not donate milk that has been pumped for at least 12 hours.
  • If you take occasional medication, i.e., antibiotics or any other prescribed medication, please contact us to let us know.
Please call us with any questions or if there are any changes in your health, risk factors for disease or medication use.

Medication and Lifestyle Guidelines

Please DO NOT donate if:

  • You or any member of your household becomes ill. Not including an uncomplicated cold, seasonal runny nose, or allergies in which the sick person’s temperature is no higher than 100°F orally. The sick person must not be in the same room with you while you pump. With all other illnesses, we cannot accept milk collected in the 24 hours before the person became ill and until the ill person has been well for 24 hours. Illness includes active herpes, any sore in someone’s mouth (including a cold sore), or thrush in the baby’s mouth. Please call our Clinical Coordinator with any questions.
  • You have ANY breast tenderness. In the presence of plugged ducts or breast infection, unacceptable bacteria may be present in the milk. Do keep nursing your own baby and collecting milk even though it cannot be donated.
  • You smoke cigarettes or use tobacco.
  • You use recreational drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, etc.
If you need to start a medication that The Milk Bank is unaware of, PLEASE CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY.If any of the above circumstances have occurred and your milk has already been sent to The Milk Bank, please contact us immediately.

  • All Nursing mothers need to eat a balanced diet with at least 8 glassed of fluids per day.
  • Vegans should be taking a daily multivitamin and B12 supplement.
  • Any alcohol intake requires a 12-hour waiting period before donating pumped milk.
  • Caffeine from tea, coffee, soda, or chocolate is acceptable if no more than the caffeine equivalent to that in 24 ounces of coffee per day. Soda and tea have less caffeine than coffee. Please contact us if you are unsure of your intake.
  • Herbal teas are OK but limit to one cup per day. If greater than 1 cup the restriction will vary by type.
  • Vitamins and minerals are acceptable in usual dosages. No mega-dosing and no vitamins containing herbs. Fenugreek is NOT allowed.
  • There is an 8-day waiting period following you or your partner getting a tattoo at a regulated site using sterile needles and single-use dyes. Please contact us if you or your partner get a tattoo.
  • If you are temporarily not saving your milk to donate, continue to pump. This will help to maintain your milk supply and minimize breast discomfort.
  • If there are any changes to your health or risk factors for disease, notify The Milk Bank immediately.

Information On Medication Use

  • The medications and waiting periods listed here are guidelines for milk donation. Theseguidelines do not necessarily reflect how long you would need to wait before feeding your ownbaby your breast milk. Please consult a healthcare professional for guidance on safety for yourown baby if you need to take medications.
  • If you are taking a larger dose or more than one dose, call the Milk Bank for specificdonating instructions.
  • There may be drugs with similar names, or that have additional ingredients. CALL THEMILK BANK at 317-536-1670 if you are taking anything that does not exactly match theingredient/product listed above.
  • If you take a medication and are unsure of the waiting period and whether your milk maybe used for donation, write down when you took the medication and contact The Milk Bank.
  • If you are prescribed any medication or if there are changes to your current medications,please contact The Milk Bank.

Notice of Privacy Practices

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) took effect on April 14, 2003. One of the goals of this legislation is to set standards for the security and privacy of health information. The Milk Bank understands that medical information about clients is personal and we are committed to protecting this information. This notice describes how medical information about clients in our office may be used and disclosed, and how clients can get access to this information. We also describe client rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information. Please review this carefully.

The HIPAA law of 1996 requires The Milk Bank to:

  • Keep medical information that identifies clients private
  • Give clients notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about them
  • Follow the terms of this notice
Any protected health information (i.e. individual identifiable information such as name, date, phone/fax numbers, email addresses, demographic data) may be used in connections with our services to a client, payment of an account or health care operations. It is expected that any organization with which we share information is HIPAA compliant and therefore ensuring the security of client information.

These are ways in which we may use or disclose medical information about a client:

  • Health care providers may request information about a client to meet our needs. For instance, a prenatal care provider may request verification of a patient’s birth date before releasing results of their prenatal blood work to us. In another example, a baby’s pediatrician may request information on how milk has been supplied for the baby receiving donor milk.
  • Medical information may be discussed with health insurers to verify eligibility for benefits, obtain prior authorization, or to bill and receive payment for the treatment and service provided by The Milk Bank.
  • Certifying, licensing and accrediting bodies may request information about our donors or recipients to verify our operation and compliance with standards.
  • Staff of The Milk Bank may use information to contact clients to check on pumping progress, paperwork needs or to inquire how an infant is progressing on donor milk. If we try to contact a client and they are not available, we may leave a message with a family member or on an answering machine unless a client specifically asks us not to do so.
  • We may display photos on our office bulletin board of donors or infants if they are sent to us by the donor or infant’s parent.
  • We may provide medical information to our business associates so that they can perform certain functions or services on our behalf. The associates could include hospitals, blood and tissue laboratories or fundraiser organizations.
  • We will disclose medical information about a client if we are required to do so by federal, state or locallaw.
  • We may disclose medical information about a client when necessary to prevent a serious threat to a client’s health and safety or that of another person or the public.
  • We may disclose medical information about a client for public health activities. These activities may include the prevention or control of disease, reporting of donor milk recipients, or reporting laboratory test results.
  • We may disclose information to researchers when their research has been approved by an institutional review board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of a client’s health.
  • Inadvertent disclosures of information may happen as a result of people overhearing conversations in The Milk Bank offices. Every effort will be made to prevent this from happening.
These are the ways in which we keep personal health information private:
  • Personal health information is kept in individual locking files in our office. The office is unlocked during office hours when staff members are present but locked at all other times.
  • Staff and volunteers who access files will be trained in issues of confidentiality and privacy.
  • Publications coming from The Milk Bank office will contain no personal health information.
  • If someone requests information from a medical record for a legitimate reason, this will be documented in the client’s file.
  • Personnel trained in confidentiality and privacy issues access the electronic records only through The Milk Bank computers.
  • Milk containers with personal identifiers on them will be kept in bags in the freezer, accessed only by staff and volunteers trained in confidentiality and privacy issues.
Persons potentially inadvertently exposed to private information include:
  • Volunteers
  • Staff of The Milk Bank
  • Breastmilk donors
  • Vendors
  • Students working at The Milk Bank
  • Breastmilk recipients or their guardians
Individual rights under this agreement:
  • A client has the right to inspect or copy their record. To do this, please submit your request in writing to the privacy officer of The Milk Bank.
  • Amend the information contained in your record. Please send your request to the privacy officer in writing.
  • Request an accounting of all disclosures of health information. Please send requests to the privacy officer.
  • Request restrictions of access to a client record. Please send written request to the privacy office.
  • A client may also issue a complaint, without risk of retaliation, to the privacy officer of The Milk Bank or to the US Department of Health and Human Services. You can learn more about your rights, including how to file a complaint, from the website at or by calling 1- 866- 627- 7748.
Privacy Officer:
Janice Sneider O’Rourke, MPA, RD
Executive Director
The Milk Bank
5060 E. 62nd Street, #128
Indianapolis, IN 46220

Please keep this notice for your records. When you sign the Donor Consent Form you acknowledge that you have received and understand this notice. Thank you.

Packing & Shipping Instructions



  • Dry ice can be purchased at grocery stores, pharmacies, ice cream stores, butchers, or large medical institutions (hospitals, labs, etc). Most large metropolitan areas also have ice distribution companies that sell dry ice to the public. You can find dry ice sources at and
  • You will need approximately 5 pounds of dry ice per cooler box shipped.
    • Dry ice is usually about $1 per pound. If you wish to be reimbursed for this cost, please place your receipt in an envelope with your name on the outside and include with your shipment.
  • Plan to obtain the dry ice on the day you ship, as dry ice sublimates quickly in air. DO NOT store dry ice in your freezer or in an enclosed area.
  • CAUTION: DO NOT touch dry ice directly with bare skin as it can burn. The dry ice will likely be provided in a brown paper bag for safety.
  • NOTE: Do not put regular ice in with your milk to be shipped. Ice freezes at a warmer temperature than your frozen human milk and will thus cause the milk to thaw quicker.
  • If you are unable to locate dry ice, PLEASE let us know so we may help you make other arrangements.
  • Bubble wrap, brown paper sacks, and packing paper work well to ensure the milk containers are not damaged during shipment. Try to avoid newspaper, if possible, as it stains the coolers.
  • Place the dry ice on the bottom of the cooler. Add a layer of packing material to ensure the milk storage containers do not come in contact with the dry ice. Neatly pack your milk on top.
  • Please fill your cooler as full as possible with milk to maximize cost-effectiveness and decrease movement during shipping. Fill empty space in cooler with additional packing material.
  • DO NOT tape the lid of the Styrofoam cooler itself; the dry ice will sublimate and will need space to escape.
  • ONLY tape the outer cardboard box where it has been previously taped. It is unnecessary to completely seal every edge.
  • Please make sure the blue UPS Dry Ice label is attached to the outside of the box. In addition, please mark 2.3 kg in the box provided.
  • Drop the shipping box off at any UPS shipping location (refer to or call 1-888-PICK-UPS) PLEASE ENSURE YOUR SHIPMENT WILL BE PICKED UP BEFORE THE LAST UPS PICK UP TIME.
  • You may also contact us to schedule UPS to pick up your cooler(s) directly from your home. Please call at least 24 hours in advance.
Do not hesitate to call 317-536-1670 with any questions!
Thank you for helping us provide safe mothers’ milk for fragile infants!

Depot Drop Off Instructions



  • If you are donating milk that has been pumped and stored prior to contacting us, you DO NOT need to go back and label each individual bag with your name and donor number.
  • Milk must be labeled with date pumped, including year.
  • You may bag up your milk in large zipper storage bags or double-bagged and tied grocery bags. Please label the outside of the bag with your name and donor number (assigned upon approval).
  • If you do not have large zipper storage bags, the depot will have them on site.
  • We ask that you contact the depot prior to dropping off to ensure that they have the staff available to receive your milk and enough room in their freezer. You may find our depot listing here:
  • Please note that depots may not ship milk immediately after receiving a donation. Depots tend to ship once the freezer reaches approximately 2/3 capacity or if milk is going to expire soon. If your milk is nearing expiration, please let the depot staff know, so that they may ship it out soon.

    Do not hesitate to call 317-536-1670 with any questions!
    Thank you for helping us provide safe mothers’ milk for fragile infants!