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Frequently Asked Questions 
  • Who can donate milk?
    Our donors are healthy mothers who are in their first two years postpartum and reside in Tennessee. They have extra milk to share. Many of our donors are exclusively pumping while others are collecting additional milk while nursing.
  • What are the requirements to becoming a donor?
    An initial minimum of 100 ounces is required Complete phone screening interview and donor application Consent from your physician Blood test covered by MMBTN All of the milk has remained frozen since it was collected Every bottle/bag is clearly labeled with the date collected, including the year No donated milk has been frozen for longer than 8 months All the milk was collected before the baby's second birthday
  • What are the steps to becoming a donor?
    1. Count your ounces. Make sure you have 100 oz. of frozen breastmilk that is clearly labeled with the date collected (including year). Also, please check to make sure none of your milk has been frozen no longer than 8 months and that the milk was collected before your baby's second birthday. 2. Complete the prescreening form. Please complete the prescreening form to begin the screening process only if you currently meet the general criteria and have 100 oz of breastmilk. 3. Schedule your phone screening interview. Once you complete the form below, you will be prompted to schedule your 30-minute phone screening interview. 4. Complete donor application. After your phone screening interview, you will be given a donor application to complete if you meet the criteria to proceed in the process. Obtaining your doctor's consent will be a part of the application. 5. Bloodwork. You will have a blood test covered by MMBTN.
  • Are milk donors compensated?
    MMBTN does not compensate milk donors. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All milk donors are volunteers who produce milk in excess of their own babies’ needs. MMBTN covers the cost of the required blood test and the cost of shipping if you are not located near one of our Milk Drop Depots. We will also provide milk storage bags to our donors in need.
  • Can I become a donor if I take medications?
    It depends on the medication. Since we serve medically fragile babies, our guidelines for medications may be stricter than guidelines provided by your physician. Before beginning the steps to become a donor, please contact Angela.Plunkett@milkbanktn.org with questions about medications.
  • How do I pump and store my breastmilk for donating?
    Mother’s Milk Bank of Tennessee provides lifesaving donor milk to the most critical infants. Because our recipients are so vulnerable to infections, they need the safest possible breast milk, therefore we are extra conservative with donor milk expressing and storage guidelines. Please follow these guidelines. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your clean pump parts until you wash your hands. Once you wash your hands, don’t touch anything else to avoid cross-contamination. Sterilize pump parts: Pump parts must be washed with soap and running water after each use. Place parts on a clean towel to air dry or use a fresh, clean towel or paper towel to dry them completely. Pump parts should also be sanitized daily. This can be done by placing pump parts on the top shelf of your dishwasher or placing in 190 degree Fahrenheit water for 10 minutes). Pump cleaning wipes do not adhere to the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA)’s milk storage guidelines, as they do not reach into all the internal surfaces of the pump’s parts and may leave residue which is unsafe for medically fragile babies. Transfer milk: Pumped milk should be transferred from the pump containers into milk storage bags and refrigerated immediately. Label: Containers must be labeled using a permanent marker with the full date (including the year) that the milk was pumped, your last name and donor number. Storing Milk: Milk should be stored in the freezer as soon as possible, toward the back of the freezer where the temperature is colder and more stable. Ideally, only one pumping session should be stored in each milk storage bag, although it is fine to combine milk from both breasts into one bag. “Stacking” or “layering” (i.e. - adding freshly pumped (warm) milk to milk already refrigerated or frozen) is not allowed for donation, as this is an opportunity for bacterial growth in the milk. However, milk that has been refrigerated and collected on the same day, can be mixed together before freezing. Store milk in a container designed for breast milk storage, either a bag or bottle. Bags not specifically designed for breast milk storage may not be sanitized the same way as milk storage containers. Transportation: When ready to transport milk to the nearest depot or to the Milk Bank, place milk in a bag labeled with last name and donor number and place in a cooler with ice packs. Your milk needs to be delivered to the Depot/Milk Bank in a completely frozen state. Ask for help. If you are ill or have to take any medication, mark the bags from your pumping session appropriately, and call and ask the milk bank if the milk is eligible for donation or if you should keep it for your own child
  • What if my breastmilk is a few months old?
    We accept breastmilk up to six months from the date it was pumped if it has been stored in a standard refrigerator's freezer, Breastmilk stored in a deep freezer can be accepted up to eight months from the date it was pumped. All breastmilk must be pumped prior to baby's second birthday.
  • Who receives donor milk?
    Pasteurized Human Donor Milk (PHDM) is prioritized for the smallest and most medically fragile babies, for whom research shows the most positive benefits from human milk. At this time, Mothers' Milk Bank of Tennessee (MMBTN) distributes PDHM exclusively to hospital neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).
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