Category Archives: Donor Milk

Donor Milk / Milk Sharing

So I first heard about donor milk from my parents who said that during their time, they had two friends who donated regularly and were feeding another baby on top of their own.  This was when I had just given birth and had a low milk supply.

At first I was skeptical, who on earth would be so generous this day and age?  So I just dismissed this idea as myth.

One month in, and my relative who had a little girl just two weeks after me, offered me some milk.   I was over the moon.  It was as though someone had just offered me liquid gold.  I readily accepted.  The milk was so useful because it helped me along as I was on my way to increasing my supply.

When Baby E was about 3 months, I stumbled across Human Milk 4 Human Babies.   I read through the page and then found that they had country specific Facebook pages.  I found Singapore’s page and YAY it was as though I had found the mythical pot of liquid gold at the end of the rainbow.  There were so many kind and generous souls who were giving away 20-50 bags of pure precious milk.  Each bag typically had about 150-200 ml of milk.  It’s crazy.  The kindness, the generosity, the love that is poured into each bag cannot be repaid.  I am tearing up just thinking of how generous these ladies are.  Each bag takes time, energy and pain to create.  We all know that milk doesn’t just pour out of our bodies!!

At that time, I didn’t really need the milk because my supply had already increased and I was producing enough for Baby E and enough for my small growing stash I was keeping for when I went back to work.  However, before I went back to work, I decided to try.  I knew that I wouldn’t be able to pump as much and I would need the supply to get to six months.  I contacted at least four to five ladies and didn’t get a response before I found my current donor (whom I love and appreciate it).  It seems as though the milk is in such high demand!

If you are thinking of receiving or donating milk, it is important to note the following:


2) Both donor and recipient must be comfortable with each other.  The recipient should not feel shy to ask the donor if she has any pre-existing illness that renders her milk un-drinkable like if she has AIDS/HIV, untreated, active tuberculosis  smokes or takes drugs.  It really is based on trust, that is why you should meet your donor first and talk things through.  You can normally tell when you meet a person, mother’s instincts are (mostly) right.

3) It is recommended and expected that the recipient bring along milk bags to replace the bags that the donor is giving her.  I suggest checking with the donor first on her preference of brand.

4) Always find donors that have babies that are the same age as yours so that the milk content is similar.  As you know, milk varies according to the age of the baby (how marvelous is mother’s milk) so it is not advisable for a one month old baby to be drinking milk from a mother that has a six month old.

5) Always tell your donor how much you appreciate her.  Seriously calculate how much time it takes to produce 40 bags of milk and then feel the gratitude swell up in your heart.

If you do have excess milk, I STRONGLY urge you to donate it because it really could save lives.  Some babies have an allergy to cow’s milk and some are born pre-mature.  Breastmilk contains antibodies, proteins, vitamins, probiotics and scientists haven’t even scratched the surface yet.  To NICU babies, breastmilk is like medicine.

Donor milk may not be for everyone, and that’s ok.  But it is for Baby E and me.  My gratitude to my donors is immense.


Boy Milk or Girl Milk?

Just two weeks ago, findings from a new study by Katie Hinde of Harvard University took the media by storm.  Read articles found here, here and here.

It found that mothers of baby girls and baby boys produced milk that was different in content.  Apparently, mothers of boys produced milk that was richer in fat or protein presumably because boys are much more active and expend way more energy than girls.  It also found that mothers of girls produced 21% more milk than mothers of boys.  This is so that in accordance to evolutionary biology, girls, by drinking more milk, can reach sexual maturity faster so they can reproduce sooner since it takes so long for a woman to grow a child inside them.

By the way, one bag of milk is mine and one is from my donor.  Can you tell which?  Answer below.

It seems that this is just the beginning of a study that begets more questions than it answers.  The study concludes with a series of questions that it had yet to answer like how different the other constituents in the milk are, how do boys and girls utilize differently and what are some signals and mechanisms that the body uses to tell the mammary gland to produce a certain type of milk.

As a recipient of donor milk, both from mothers of baby girls who are roughly the same age, I am intrigued and I think I will continue to follow the progress of this research closely.

A few thoughts have crossed my mind:

1) In the past, some people used to feed their babies through a wet nurse — I don’t think people bothered what sort of milk she was producing and whether it was gendered.

2) What if a woman had twins? One boy and one girl?

3) Many women nurse their children of different ages and sexes simultaneously – what then? This has been going on for years. I don’t think it means you should stop tandem nursing.

4) I believe that breastmilk is always better than formula milk, especially for babies who are in the NICU, even if the milk is from a mother with a baby of another gender.

The one on the left in the Avent milk bag is mine!