“… even though i don’t know those children …
every time their mothers tell their stories,
they’re sharing a little bit of mine…”

~ Christine Babinski, donated breast milk in honor of her daughter, Poppy Delphine Babinski

Donate Milk After Loss

Following a pregnancy or infant loss, some families take comfort in donating their baby’s milk to a milk bank.

You may have stored breast milk at home or in the hospital.
Or you may be thinking about starting or continuing to pump.
We respect and honor any decision you make about milk donation.

Some mothers take comfort donating their baby’s milk to a milk bank.
If you choose to donate milk, we will help you through the process.

We appreciate the love and dedication that you put into pumping milk.

How to Donate Your Milk

  1. Complete an online donor interest form.
  2. We will contact you for a brief phone screening.
  3. We will guide you through completing the donor application.
  4. If you have milk at home, we will provide you instructions on how to bring your milk to a milk depot. If your milk is at the hospital, we will work with the staff to get the milk to the milk bank. 

Any amount of breastmilk will be accepted for donation.

Methods to Increase or Decrease Supply

To Establish or Maintain Full Milk Production

  • Your pumping routine should reflect your personal goals.
  • Some mothers pump for a few days or weeks, while other continue pumping longer.
  • Consider pumping 6-8 times/day. You may choose to pump more or less often. There is no minimum donation.
  • Pump for about 15 minutes, or until your breasts are empty and the milk flow has slowed or stopped.
  • Wash your pump parts in warm, soapy water after each use and air dry. Ask the milk bank for milk collection and storage instructions.

To Decrease or Stop Milk Production

  • Gradually decrease the number of times you pump each day. Milk production is a supply and demand system – your milk volume will go down as you pump less milk.
  • If you are full and uncomfortable, you may express milk “to comfort”. When pumping or hand expressing, express just enough milk to relieve the pressure. Warm showers can also help some of the milk to leak out.
  • You can use cold compresses on the breasts for 20 minutes to ease discomfort and swelling.
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help with pain or swelling.

Poppy’s Dream Memorial Program

We support you through the donation process and beyond. If you wish to participate in Poppy’s Dream Memorial Program, your donation and your baby will be honored. A beautiful mural featuring glass mosaic artwork covers an entire wall in our milk bank lobby. Custom stars are hand-painted with the names and birthdays of each baby remembered. If you would like, we will honor your baby’s milk donation by hand-painting their name on a star. 

You will be invited to come to the milk bank to place your baby’s star in the night sky. You are welcome to bring friends and family to this private event. While some families cherish the opportunity to place their baby’s star(s), others prefer we place them on the mural. We can honor this wish, and if you’d like, we can send a picture of your baby’s star. The milk bank is honored to support the decisions of our donor families.

You also have the option of sharing a photo of your baby for our digital picture frame next to the memorial wall. This provides another opportunity to remember and honor your baby’s legacy.

Each year, the milk bank holds an open house and candle lighting ceremony for Star families. In March 2023, we held our 6th annual ceremony, honoring nearly 500 star babies.

For Healthcare Providers

Some bereaved families do not know about the option of milk donation until it is too late. We are working to increase educational opportunities regarding bereavement milk donation. We offer in-service presentations to participating hospitals and other healthcare partners. By increasing awareness among healthcare advocates, we can help families who suffer perinatal loss make the choice that feels right to them. 

For more information about our Poppy’s Dream program, please contact Susan, our Program Manager, at susan@milkbankwgl.org.