Did you know that you can donate your breastmilk? It’s usually fine on supply and demand, so for most cases, you would never run out (if so, then obviously you would know about this). It works a bit like blood donation. You pump out the milk, then freeze it, and it’s collected and tested for diseases like HIV, syphilis, hepatitis and HTLV.
Breast milk is wonderful for preemies (premature babies) as they often have delicate guts. And many mothers can’t breastfeed for medical reasons. So if the mother can’t breastfeed, the next best thing is another mother’s milk (from a human). Just a few ounces can in some circumstances, save a life.
NEC (necrotising enterocolitis) is a very serious medical condition, that kills more babies each year, than childhood leukaemia. The best protection is human milk, so donating blood helps to prevent this in susceptible babies (it literally acts like NEC-prevention medicine). Preemies are at extra risk of this condition, as their immune systems are not yet fully developed. Donated human milk is mostly given to babies in intensive care, and also to mums who have cancer, so they can ‘breastfeed’ their child using another woman’s milk.
Visit UK Association of Milk Banking and Heart’s Milk Bank to find out more (there are milk donation banks worldwide, some regional and others national). You will usually be sent milk bottles (better to release the fat from the milk over bags, babies need high-fat milk to grow).