BCMC accepts milk from donors with infants up to 18 months of age. We appreciate receiving your milk as soon as it becomes convenient – the fresher your milk, the higher its nutritive value. Feel free to donate fresh, refrigerated milk.
Research is ongoing regarding changes in frozen milk composition over time, but consensus supports storage of safely handled milk up to 6 months in a refrigerator freezer and up to 12 months in a deep freezer. Please do not donate thawed milk. Defrosted milk quickly loses its antimicrobial activity and should be used within 24 hours. Please do not donate milk collected in breast shells or dripped during feedings.
1. Always wash and dry hands thoroughly before handling pump and bag/bottle equipment, as well as before and after all feedings, pumpings, and diaper changes. Lather hands with soap and water for 15 seconds, paying special attention to areas under your finger nails. If using bar soap, use a rack to allow the bar to dry between uses. Avoid antibacterial soaps and detergents. Normal showering or bathing is sufficient for breast care. Avoid fragranced and colored soaps, shampoos, and hand lotions.
2. Milk is accepted in BPA-free bottles or bags.
3. Please mark each bag or bottle with the following information, using a permanent marker.
- Your baby’s birth date (DOB) – we use this date to anonymously identify the source of donated milk. Each gallon ziplock of your milk (that we will pack upon donation) will also be marked with a unique barcode.
- Date of collection (DOC) – we use this date to help ensure that the oldest milk gets used first.
If you have a large amount of stored bags that are not marked with your baby’s DOB, you may place the milk bags in a large clean bag, and with a waterproof marker clearly mark the DOB on the outside of the larger bag.
4. You may refrigerate your milk for up to 72 hours before freezing. You may add milk to the same bottle or bag (previously pumped, refrigerated milk) within 72 hours from the time of the first pumping/collection.
5. Please underfill milk bags and bottles. When frozen, milk expands, and overfull bags will split at the seams. Any cracked or leaking bags and bottles will be discarded.
6. Stack milk bags flat in your freezer for most uniform freezing and efficient storage. Place milk in the rear or bottom of your refrigerator and freezer, where temperatures are coldest and most even. If you have a deep freezer, please stack your milk bags for donation there.
7. To clean your pump and bottles, separate each part that comes into contact with milk. Wash hands as above. Rinse pump parts to remove milk residue then thoroughly wash each part in warm, soapy water. Avoid antibacterial soap or detergent. Rinse clean and place on a clean dry towel to air-dry. Rinsed bottles and pump parts can also be washed in a dishwasher.
8. Check the pump tubing for moisture or mold. Moisture or mold in the tubing is a potential source of milk contamination. Tubing that contains moisture or mold should be replaced or cleaned by thorough washing and drying of the entire length of tubing. A blow dryer or running the pump with only the tubing attached can assist in drying.
Source: Human Milk Banking Association of North America, Best Practice for Expressing, Storing and Handling Human Milk in Hospitals, Homes, and Child
Care Settings. Frances Jones, 3rd Ed., 2011