COVID-19 and Milk Donation
When COVID-19 first hit, our staff received a lot questions about the how to donate (and receive) human milk during a pandemic. We always stay informed of the latest research and remain as dedicated as ever to providing safe, healthy, and accessible milk for all babies who need it. Our milk bank remained open since day one, proudly serving both hospitals and outpatients.
As we all settle into the “new normal”, we know these are still uncertain times, and are here to support our donors and community however we can. The need for milk has increased significantly since the pandemic, so if you are comfortable and have extra milk to give, we encourage you to send it our way. As always, we want to be sure you keep enough milk stored for your baby to have.
Here’s a bit more information about how Mothers’ Milk Bank has adapted to COVID-19, and what you can do to ensure safe donation:
- Regarding COVID-19 and donation, we are following the same precautions that we do for other upper respiratory viruses. If you or anyone in your house has a fever, cough, or other symptoms of an illness please contact Mothers’ Milk Bank and we will help determine the hold dates in which we ask you to not send in milk.
- Excellent hygiene, hand washing and pump part sanitation techniques are always important when collecting milk for donation and we ask donors to remain diligent in this protective measure.
- Our pasteurization process is a key part of how we make sure that our milk is safe for our tiny recipients, and we are monitoring information as available to make sure that we are following the current best practices.
- Studies have documented complete heat inactivation of genetically similar viruses such as SARS and MERS, specifically heat treatment of 60°C for 30 minutes (Miriam & Taylor, 2006; Rabenau et al., 2005; van Doremalen, 2014). All donor milk dispensed by HMBANA member banks undergo heat treatment using the Holder pasteurization method of 62.5°C for 30 minutes
Breastfeeding and COVID-19
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that lactating persons continue to breastfeed and feed their breastmilk to their children during this pandemic. Breastfeeding and human milk are protective against infection and illness and remain a critical element of early nutrition and development. Here is the center for Disease Controls and Prevention recommendation on breastfeeding is confirmed or under investigation for having COVID-19.
Additional information about donor human milk and COVID-19 is available on the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA)’s website here.
If you have specific health concerns regarding this virus, please contact your health care provider.
If you have milk to send in, we want to encourage social distancing while also maintaining our necessary supply to keep medically fragile babies healthy. If you have been dropping off at a Donation and Outreach Center, we will happily send you a box to ship your milk overnight to us via FedEx. To request a box, please e-mail email@example.com.