When do you start?
What should I know?
Am I crazy?
I have! I've donated a thousand ounces and am getting to the point where I'm considering donating again.
The first question I'd ask you: do you prefer to donate to other moms or to a milk bank? The processes are very, very different. (Also, if you wanna email about this instead... alibee at gmail)
I donated to other moms using Milkshare. I started when I had 700 ounces stored (this time I would start WAY earlier) and donated 100-200 ounces at a time, to three different moms. All I asked for in return were milk storage bags and all they asked for were my OB medical records. It was really great, and really rewarding.
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I researched it a bit. Mostly when I first went back to work, had a freezer full of BM and Ellie was refusing a bottle and i was pumping a surplus during work hours. There is actually a milk bank in Sacramento, and I felt like that was the 'safest' way to go about donating. BUT, they have the most strict guidelines. Basically, no caffeine or alcohol ever, and no meds. I'm taking Zoloft (and have a cup of coffee a day and drink some wine sometimes) so I was out. I think this milk bank sells the milk to hospitals for use in NICUs.
I then researched private donation and found a few message boards where people donate to each other. But I never got further than that. I think I just felt weird at the thought of donating to a stranger, and would much rather donate to someone I know.
And then Ellie started taking a bottle and eats more than i produce each day, so i'm happy to have my freezer stash.
I think you should wait and see how BFing goes for you. Pumping is hard, and takes extra energy and time, something you will have little of the first few weeks and months. You don't want to start pumping until your supply is established and you find a rhythm for BFing your own LO. If you have an oversupply, then maybe pumping an extra bottle a day may be easy for you and donating will be no problem. But if you have to work for your supply, it might be difficult.
One thing I've learned in my 4 short months as a mother, don't set expectations for yourself in the first weeks and months. And be flexible. So I say just wait and see how it goes after the fist month or so of breastfeeding.
Ditto ladipale I was ready to donate because I had about 200 oz in the freezer and then my supply dropped and I am not pumping as much as she is eating.
So personally I would wait, and make sure that you really do have an over supply before you start doing a lot of research and getting ready to donate.
If I did have enough I would have used Milkshare.