How to Buy Breastmilk

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If you experience problems breastfeeding, you may think that formula is your only option for feeding your baby. Instead of reaching for infant formula, you might consider purchasing breast milk through a milk bank. Although you could find more casual options for buying breast milk, a milk bank utilizes strict safety measures that help ensure quality. After donor screening, pasteurization and laboratory testing, the bank freezes the breast milk prior to culturing it to make sure it does not develop bacteria. Breast milk that passes this final test is ready for purchase by families or hospitals.

Things You'll Need

  • Physician prescription
  • Select a reputable milk bank for purchasing breast milk. The Human Milk Banking Association of North America recommends selecting the milk bank closest to you to reduce the shipping distance. Contact this milk bank to inquire about ordering donated breast milk.

  • Follow the milk bank’s procedure for ordering breast milk. It’s likely that you will need a physician prescription to purchase the milk. A milk bank may need information about your circumstances to satisfy eligibility requirements. Possible circumstances include a premature infant, an adopted infant, maternal health issues or infant health issues.

  • Fax your physician prescription to place your order with the milk bank. The prescription should include the baby’s name, the current date, the amount of breast milk needed each day, the number of days the baby should receive donated breast milk and the reason the baby needs the breast milk, according to the Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation. Parents must provide written permission. The milk bank may also require you to fill out a history form. Provide payment and mailing information to finish placing your order.

Tips & Warnings

  • The price for donated breast milk varies, but averages $3.50 per ounce plus shipping costs, as of 2013. Contact your insurance carrier to inquire about benefits that would cover some or all of your costs for purchasing breast milk.
  • Ongoing payments for an extended use of donated breast milk varies for different milk banks. If you need to purchase breast milk for an extended period, inquire about setting up a payment plan that enables you to pay as you go.

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