Benefits of donating breast milk

Donating breast milk isn’t beneficial just for the recipients, it has a number of advantages for the donor mother as well.

Your breasts feel lighter

Producing more milk than your baby needs can make your breasts feel full and hard. They may feel lumpy and more tender than usual. In some cases, the swelling may affect the armpits as well. As the milk collects, the condition gets more painful. An overabundant supply of breast milk may also plug the ducts causing swelling, redness and localized pain.

Donating breast milk can make your breasts feel more comfortable and, in turn, make you feel better. By doing this, you will also have fewer leakage issues to deal with.

Reduced Risk of Mastitis

Mastitis refers to an infection in the breasts. It is a common condition and can affect up to 20% of lactating mothers. Mastitis is associated with pain, swelling in the breasts, fever, flu-like symptoms, tiredness, nausea and body aches. Over-production of breast milk that is not drained away is one of the common causes of this condition. It can also be caused by plugged milk ducts and engorged breasts- both side effects of overproduction of breast milk. In some cases, medication may be needed to treat mastitis. However, by choosing to donate breast milk and pumping the extra breast milk, you can reduce the risk of mastitis.

Breastfeeding gets easier

Overproduction of breast milk is often associated with a strong let-down reflex. This means the milk is released in a strong jet. Your baby may choke or gag on this and have difficulty breathing and feeding simultaneously. Your baby may also end up swallowing a lot of air while feeding. In addition, breast engorgement may make it difficult for the baby to latch on while feeding. All of this can make breastfeeding frustrating for you and your baby. Pumping out the extra milk for breast milk donation between feeds can regulate the force of milk. This makes breastfeeding more comfortable. It also allows you to breastfeed your baby while sitting or standing as opposed to being limited to breastfeeding while lying down.

Your baby gets milk with more fat

There are two types of milk a baby gets while breastfeeding. Fore milk refers to the milk he/she drinks in the beginning. This has high lactose content but low-fat content. As the bay continues feeding, richer, creamier milk called hind milk becomes available. This has a higher fat content and is more filling.

It is impossible to tell how much of fore milk and hind milk a baby drinks in one feed. However, if your breasts produce too much milk, the baby may get more fore milk than hind milk. This may make the baby want to be fed more often, cause unhealthy weight gain, cause digestive issues and make the baby cranky. The proportion of fore milk to hind milk depends on how long milk has been collecting in the breast. Thus, if your body produces more milk than required, your baby may get more fore milk

as compared to hind milk. However, pumping the breast milk regularly to donate breast milk can balance the proportions and help your baby get more hind milk.

Where to donate breast milk?

Breast milk donation is easy. Always donate your breast milk to authorized and regulated human milk banks. They will pasteurize the milk to keep it safe for babies and ensure that it reaches babies who need it. Though you may not know the baby who ultimately gets to drink your breast milk, you would have helped an infant grow stronger and stay healthy. Isn’t that a happy feeling.