Donate Milk

***** Covid-19 update re donor recruitment and blood tests****

Due to the current situation with Covid-19, GP surgeries are under increased pressure so it is very difficult for them to take blood samples for milk donors. Our donor recruitment policies have had to change to reflect this. We can only recruit milk donors in the following circumstances:

  • Donors within a 50 mile radius of the milk bank with 2-5 litres of milk to donate – visit by milk bank staff to take blood samples will be arranged when you have expressed over 2 litres of milk
  • Donors within a 75 mile radius of the milk bank with over 5 litres to donate – visit by milk bank staff to take blood samples will be arranged when you have expressed over 5 litres of milk
  • Donors with babies currently on neonatal units – we need neonatal unit staff to help us by taking blood samples
  • Donors with family members who are medical staff who can take blood samples

*****************************************

How do I register as a milk donor?

We try to make the process as simple as possible for you. The first step is to complete the online screening form on this page. After a member of the milk bank team checks your eligibility to donate milk, we will send you a more detailed registration form by email to complete and return. After we receive this form we will contact you to discuss our expressing and storage guidelines and send you a donor box containing everything you need to start expressing for the milk bank. You can start expressing and storing your milk straight away without your blood test results. When you have expressed the minimum donation of milk (2 litres within 50 mile  radius of Chester, 5 litres within 75 mile radius) or more we will arrange for a midwife from the milk bank to visit your home to take blood samples. The midwife will be equipped with relevant personal protective equipment to reduce any risk. All donors are tested for HIV 1-2, HTLV 1-2, Hepatitis and Syphillis, you will be informed of your results with 3 weeks.

You can donate if

  • Your baby is less than 4 months old at the time you register as a donor (your first donation must be  made before your baby is 6 months old)
  • You are and remain in good health
  • You are able to commit to a minimum donation of 2 litres
  • You already have stored milk that your own baby doesn’t need (following the screening process)

You cannot donate if

  • Any member of your household smokes
  • You use any type of nicotine replacement therapy including patches, chewing gum or inhalators (vaping)
  • You take certain medication (acceptable replacement drugs include Thyroxine, Insulin, Ventolin and Mini Pill (Progesterone only)) Please contact us for more information
  • You have had a vaccine to prevent you contracting yellow fever in the last six months
  • You or anyone in your household have experienced Covid-19 symptoms in the last 14 days
  • You have recently returned from an area of the world where certain infectious diseases are present (according to national guidance)

 Before expressing your milk

  • Please ensure  you have cleaned your breast pump in accordance with the guidelines we have emailed to you
  • Please wash your hands carefully following our hand washing guidelines

Expressing your milk

  • You can start expressing as soon as you have registered as a donor (you do not need to wait for blood test results)
  • Regular expressing ensures a good milk supply
  • Vary times of milk expression during 24 hours so the milk has a good nutrient balance
  • Stop expressing if you become unwell or develop any infections (including thrush or mastitis). Please inform the milk bank who will be able to advise how long before you can start expressing again
  • It is very important to inform us of any changes to medication, some medication may be safe when breastfeeding your own baby however you may need to stop expressing for the milk bank
  • Do not overfill bottles, please leave about 2cm gap at the top to allow for expansion

Storing your milk

  • Ensure you identify all bottles with your name and date of expression using the marker pen provided
  • Either freeze milk immediately or place onto a shelf at the back of your fridge (not in the door)
  • If you wish to mix milk from another expression please ensure that it is cooled in the fridge before mixing
  • If possible, please dedicate freezer space for 20-30 bottles away from other foodstuffs in your freezer
  • ALL MILK MUST BE FROZEN WITHIN 24 HOURS OF EXPRESSION
  • Please check the temperature of your freezer every day and record it on the temperature sheets provided

Collecting your milk

  • We will endeavour to collect your milk every 4-6 weeks
  • Please note we are unable to collect your milk until we have received your completed Donor Record Form
  • Please contact the milk bank when you have 2L or more to collect and we will aim to collect your milk within 2 weeks of request
  • When we have agreed a collection day we will give you an estimated collection time
  • We will contact you on the morning of the day of collection to check whether you or anyone in your household have had any Covid-19 symptoms, if anyone has experienced symptoms the collection will be cancelled
  • If there is any reason you wish to cancel the arranged collection please inform us as soon as possible to avoid any wasted journeys

On the day of your collection – NON CONTACT COLLECTIONS DURING COVID-19

  • The driver will have a cool box to transport your milk to the milk bank, they will place the cool box on your doorstep, knock on the door and move away to a safe distance
  • Please take your milk from your freezer when the driver arrives, place into a carrier bag and place into the cool box
  • The driver will retrieve the cool box when you have gone back inside
  • Please ensure that you have completed the freezer temperature sheet and checklist on the reverse, including declaring any medication taken along with the date taken

Thank you for your support. You can find out about how your milk will be processed and distributed here: