“Cynthia and Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast have been so helpful. I could not have come this far without them. Anthony’s good health progress is attributed to pasteurized human breast milk. My anxiety has subsided since I know that Anthony is getting the best possible source of nutrition. Thank you to all the mothers who donate human breast milk. You are truly making a difference, one tummy at a time!” Baby Anthony’s Story
A mother’s own breast milk is nearly always baby’s best first food; however, it is sometimes not available. In such cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the US Surgeon General, the World Health Organization, and others, safely pasteurized donor human milk is the next best option.
Reasons to Receive
Donor milk can be used as a temporary bridge until mother’s own milk comes in, or longer term as needed.
A baby might need donor milk for many reasons, including:
- low milk supply
- preterm birth
- failure to thrive
- weight loss
- malabsorption syndromes
- feeding/formula intolerance
- immunologic deficiencies
- pre- or post-operative nutrition
- low blood sugar
- high bilirubin levels
- baby’s inability to latch
- cleft/lip palate
- tongue/lip tie
- maternal health complications
- “bridge” milk to supplement baby until mother can feed
Ordering Requires a Prescription
Safe Milk Requires a Processing Fee
There is a charge for pasteurized donor human milk because of the process that makes it safe—thorough screening of donors, testing, pasteurizing, and careful shipping.
If your baby has a prescription for donor milk and you are facing financial difficulties, you may qualify for our Special Assistance Program. Read more about the program here.
If your baby is already home, then you must purchase the milk yourself. Although it is rare, health insurance occasionally covers some or all of the cost, so we encourage you to call your company to request coverage. For military families, TRICARE covers donor milk from HMBANA milk banks for certain conditions, when prescribed by a TRICARE-authorized provider. Currently Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, California, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Utah and Washington, DC mandate Medicaid coverage. Advocacy for coverage in other states is ongoing.
Storing, Defrosting, and Warming Pasteurized Frozen Human Milk
Thawing pasteurized donor human milk is easy. Please click on the following downloadable link for information on how to ensure that your donor milk is safely stored, defrosted and warmed, and ready to feed your baby.
As described above, outpatients require a prescription to receive donor milk.
How to Order Milk
Outpatient Donor Milk Dispensaries
Families who live near Belmont, New Hampshire; Lewiston, Maine; Northampton, MA; or Essex Junction, VT may be able to pick up milk at one of our four donor milk dispensaries. To learn more, visit our Donor Milk Dispensaries page.
Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast: Safe. Trusted. Lifesaving.