Receiving Milk FAQs

Thank you for considering donor milk as a way to promote the health and well-being of infants in need.

We hope that this resource empowers you with knowledge and confidence as you explore the path of receiving donor milk.


In these FAQs for recipients, we’ll cover the safety measures in place to ensure that donor milk is of the highest quality, addressing common concerns about contamination and infection.

Additionally, we’ll discuss eligibility criteria for recipients and guidance to those who may be considering this option for their infants.

We understand that the decision to use donor milk is often motivated by a desire to provide the best possible start in life for a vulnerable baby.

The decision to use donor milk is often a profound one, filled with questions and considerations. Here, we address some of the most commonly raised inquiries pertaining to recipients.

Embracing donor milk

If you’re considering receiving donor milk to provide your beloved infant with the highest level of care and added assistance, these motivations are paramount.

If diverse family situations and medical reasons have brought you to this decision, they too play a significant role in your choice.

Whatever the reasons, this decision has the potential to profoundly influence the lives of these vulnerable little ones and, in parallel, shape the dynamics of your own unique family.


Is it OK to feed my baby milk from another mother?

For all of human history, mothers have shared milk with other women’s babies. But medicines and diseases can pass into a mother’s milk, so you want to be sure that the milk your baby gets is safe.

Is Donor Milk safe?

We ask every milk donor many questions about her health. She also has to have a blood test for screening. We ask about all the medications she takes, even over-the-counter and herbal ones. If a donor mother gets sick, she should not send us milk until she is well.

We heat the milk to kill germs, and we test each batch of milk before we send it out. If the test results are bad, we throw out the milk, so the milk your baby gets is safe.

What about drinking, smoking and drugs?

Mothers who smoke or take drugs are not able donate their milk. If a mother has a drink, she must wait 6 hours before she pumps milk to send us.

How does pasteurisation affect breastmilk?

All donor milk is pasteurised to eliminate bacteria or other infecting organisms that may have been present.

A small percentage of nutritional and immunological properties is destroyed by pasteurisation, but pasteurised donor milk retains many of its most beneficial qualities. It contains many special properties that cannot be duplicated by commercial milk formulas.

What is the difference between receiving donor milk from a milk bank and informal sharing groups (e.g. Human Milk 4 Human Babies, Eats on Feet)?

While you might consider sourcing breastmilk through informal networks, such as family, friends or social media, please note that it isn’t tested or screened and could put your baby at risk.

All donor milk from a milk bank has been screened, pasteurised and independently tested to ensure that it is safe to use for your baby.

Your baby

Is my baby eligible to receive milk?

I’ve heard it is only available to premature babies.

At Mothers Milk Bank Charity, we believe that all babies deserve to have access to donor milk, regardless of whether or not they were born prematurely.

How can my baby receive donor milk?

You will first need to complete the Recipient Registration form. Once you have completed the registration form, you will then again access to our online ordering shop, where you can place your order.

How much milk does a baby need per feed?

The volume of milk your baby needs per feed is based on the weight of your baby X 150 & divided by the number of feeds in 24 hours to give an approximate volume you will need for each feed.

For example, a baby weighing 3kg x 150 = 450 millilitres divided by 8 feeds = 56 mls.

The volume of milk required naturally increases as the baby grows.


Who receives donor milk?

There are a multitude of reasons that parents/carers contact us. Some of those are:

• Low breastmilk supply – we often supply donor milk whilst mum’s own supply is being established. We refer to this as Bridging Milk®
• Premature babies >32 weeks
• Very Low Weight and small for gestational-age babies
• Gestational Diabetes (delay in milk coming in and potentially insufficient supply)
• Intolerance to formula
• Reduce incidence of Necrotising Enterocolitis
• Insufficient breast tissue and unable to provide sufficient breastmilk.
• Breast surgery: reduction or augmentation: mastectomy due to breast cancer
• Physiological breast and nipple anomalies partially or totally affecting exclusive breastfeeding and sufficient breastmilk production.
• Mothers undergoing medical treatments and taking medications incompatible with breastfeeding: radiotherapy, chemotherapy.
• Surrogacy, Foster Care, Adoption

Do you provide donor milk to adults?

No, we do not provide donor milk to adults. Donor milk is only available to babies.

Fiscal questions

Do you sell breastmilk?

No, we do NOT sell breastmilk. The fee that we charge is for our processing costs only.

Processing pasteurised donor milk requires trained milk bank staff to reach out to and screen donors, and then safely pasteurise, test, and distribute the milk. It also requires equipment, space, shipping to and from our facility, and administration costs. We also try to keep our overheads as low as possible.

If you are a Charity, shouldn’t your milk be free?

Unfortunately, without outside funding (financial donations/government funding/grants etc.), all of our costs currently need to be met by our recipients.

If your baby requires donor milk due to a serious illness, you can apply for a subsidy. This would require approval from our Advisory and Medical teams. A letter from your treating Doctor would need to be supplied advising us of the illness, as well as a timeframe that you would require donor milk.