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A Milk Bank Donor's Story

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sometimes I get an email that I really think is worth sharing with my readers. This one comes from Jessica Lietz, a Lactivist reader here in central Ohio.

...I made my first milk donation to the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio yesterday!

Yesterday was my 28th birthday and I was thrilled to do this. Georgia gave me the tour and I saw your name on the plaque as being one of the first donors. That is awesome! I am so excited to be able to have extra milk to donate. My only sibling, my sister Mary was born at 23 weeks gestation and could have benefited from a milk bank. Mary is 24 years old now but was never expected to survive the ambulance ride from Port Huron (MI) where she was born to Detroit Children's Hospital. She weighed 1# 2oz and was the length of a Barbie doll.

I was 3 when she was born. Our Mom had difficulty while pregnant with me and I was an emergency c-section. My Mom was 19 when she had me and 22 with my sister.

Mary is deaf, blind, has cerebral palsy and has severe mental retardation as a result of her prematurity. BUT, she has a beautiful smile and laugh, she loves to ride horseback, loves rides at the fair and likes to go for walks with my parents. My parents still take care of her at home and in MI she goes to school yet for another year.

I've been involved in OhioSIBS since I moved to Columbus almost 5 years ago, it's for adult siblings of people with special needs. I had a fellowship at OSU's Nisonger Center and was their first epidemiology fellow. So donating to the milk bank to help babies that need the benefit of human milk is an extension of what I've been doing for years. And not only is it me helping, but Natalya helping as well because if it weren't for her, I wouldn't have all this milk!

So, it was an unusual way to celebrate my birthday but it made me very happy.

And Georgia said they were getting low on milk and were looking forward to my donation (about 200 oz) so they really made my birthday a special one. I hope my birthday makes some baby's "birth" day special too :)

If you've never considered donating milk and live anywhere near a HMBANA bank, give it some thought. As I've mentioned before...every drop counts.


  1. Blogger Becky Miller | 8:30 PM |  

    I would really like to start donating milk. How do I know which milk banks are reputable?

  2. Blogger Jennifer | 8:43 PM |  


    The best way to find a non-profit milk bank is to visit the HMBANA web site. The Human Milk Banking Association of North America oversees the non-profit milk banks in the U.S. and Canada. There are only 12 right now (and a few more in development) but nearly all of them have additional drop off locations, so don't be put off if there's not one nearby. Call up the closest ones to you and see if they'll accept you as a donor.

    I personally would avoid any milk bank that wasn't affiliated with HMBANA. Most of the other milk banks in the U.S. seem to be affiliated with Prolacta, a pharmaceutical company that charges $30-$40 per ounce (10 times more than HMBANA banks!) for their milk.

  3. Blogger Becky Miller | 8:01 PM |  

    Okay, thanks for the advice. The nearest one to me is Delaware, so I was wondering if there was a different type of bank any closer (I'm in Rhode Island). I'll call the Delaware location and see what they say.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous | 8:10 PM |  

    I just wanted to say that I donated to the Ohio Mother's Milk Bank as well. My daughter was born silently at full term on Oct. 12, 2006. I was still nursing my almost 18 month old at the time and knew I would have more than enough milk for him, and I wanted to make something beneficial out of this tragidy my family and I were going through.

    By the time I got through the initial screening, I think my first donation was approximately 600 ounces (or maybe a bit more). Everything I pumped I donated, and I was pumping 5 times a day to donate.

    I was able to make one more donation about 2-3 weeks later of around another 200-300 ounces of expressed milk.

    I continued to pump, but caught a bad cold and wanted to get better, so I took a break for my sanity and my health. Around the time I was going to start pumping to donate again, I found out I was being blessed with another child, whose currend EDD is the same day as the daughter I lost was born silently.

    It is not hard to get the process rolling. It is an initial phone screen, to determine if you meet the threshold criteria to move onto the next level. If you pass this phone screen, you move onto filling out paperwork, and once you get past this point, there is just a simple blood test. If you past the blood test, you can continue to donate for 6 months and then have to re-test on the blood.

    And for me, it was very helpful to know that another child or other children would be benefiting from the tragedy that my family had been through. Even in my daughter's death something good was able to be had by someone.

  5. Blogger analisa_roche | 6:56 PM |  

    Anonymous, I'm so sorry for your lost. What a wonderful story you shared, though, thank you so much. Congratulations on the new little one.

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