Becoming a Breastmilk Donor

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bags of breastmilk in freezer. breast milk donor. Des Moines MomIn the last few years we have had to deal with a fair share of shortages. Things like coins, toilet paper, Sriracha, and now even tampons. But recently there was a national shortage of baby formula that rocked our country and state. It was truly heartbreaking for me to see moms (and dads) desperately searching for formula to feed their babies. I never thought that would be an issue in our country.

Despite the desperation, what gave me hope was the way moms and parents came together to support one another in any way they could. I saw post after post on social media sharing what type of formula could be found and where in our state. Others were giving away formula they didn’t need or even sharing their own stock. It was a great example of how even though we may mother and parent differently when the well being and human needs of our babies are involved, we ban together.

Formula Shortage

For my baby, formula wasn’t something we needed since I was breastfeeding. But seeing others searching and struggling to feed their babies really impacted me. I wanted to do my part. I posted pictures of formula shelves at various grocery stores, shared others posts, and kept an eye out for certain formulas where I could.

But I wanted to do more. I began to look into breastmilk donation. When I started pumping after returning to work I quickly realized I had an over supply. I was consistently producing more than my daughter needed and filling up my freezer fast. So after a quick Google search I learned about the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa.

Breastmilk Donation

The Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa is an accredited member milk bank of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. In 2019 they provided nearly 7.4 million ounces to babies in need. August 2022, marks 20 years of human milk donation by the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa!

A few short weeks after getting connected, I became an approved donor and was able to start to provide my extra breast milk to help babies in need. The screening process was so easy and the actual donation process is easy too. If you are interested and able to donate your breast milk I highly encourage you to get connected, they are always looking for new donors!

There are certain qualifications for donors. You can read some pre-screening information here and if you think you qualify you will move forward with a verbal interview. Following that, you will complete a written questionnaire, allow your health care providers to be contacted, and agree to a blood test. The Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa pays for any costs associated with the blood test.

You may be an ideal donor if:

  • You are non-smoking
  • Do not donate within 12 hours of alcohol consumption
  • Not taking herbal supplements
  • Willing to donate a minimum of 200 oz.
  • Not taking medications other than those listed here

When needed, the Milk Bank sends storage containers directly to my house. And even though the Milk Bank is located in Coralville, they have a donation drop off at MercyOne downtown Des Moines. If you are unsure if you are eligible, reach out! You can contact Milk Donor Coordinator Heidi Baudhuin at [email protected].

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Casey is an Iowa captive by way of Alabama. She lives in Urbandale with her first responder husband Derek, black lab Dakota, and human daughters Avery (2018) and Nellie (2021). She loves being a mom and is navigating her journey with her own version of what motherhood looks like including shamelessly singing “Baby Shark” on command and eating Oreos during nap time so she doesn’t have to share. Casey works part time in the non-profit field supporting families that are grieving the loss of a child. In her “free time” Casey enjoys baking, specializing in boxed brownies and pre-made cookie dough. She also enjoys reading historical fiction books and watching Netflix. Her preferred forms of communication include sarcasm, emojis and gifs.

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