For various reasons, a mother may not always be able to produce breast milk for her baby. Perham Health’s breast milk depot makes it possible for women with an ample supply of breast milk to share that gift with an infant in need.

Second only to mother’s own breast milk, donated milk is a wonderful way for babies to receive the very best nutrition. Donor milk is often used as a bridge to help nourish premature or sick babies until a birth mother’s milk comes in.

Locally-donated milk is safely screened and pasteurized at the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Iowa (MMBI) and returned to babies in need in the surrounding communities. Donating moms are put through a screening process and blood test before their milk is accepted into the program.

You may qualify to donate if you are

  • Non-smoking
  • Not donating milk within 12 hours of alcohol consumption
  • Not taking herbal supplements (fenugreek, blessed thistle, mother’s milk tea, etc.)
  • Willing to donate a minimum of 200 oz. over entire lactation time
  • Not taking medication other than those listed below

Permitted medications while donating milk

You can continue to donate while taking the following medications:

  • Vitamins, minerals, fish oil, omega-3-fatty acids, probiotics
  • Non-sedating antihistamines (i.e., Allegra, Clarinex, Claritin, Zyrtec, etc.)
  • Birth control (progestin-only or low dose estrogen)
  • Colace, Mylicon
  • Ibuprofen, Tylenol
  • Insulin
  • Inhaled drugs for asthma, colds, allergies
  • Prilosec, Pepcid, Tums, Zantac
  • Synthroid
  • Fluvoxamine, Nortriptyline, Paroxetine, Sertraline
  • Allergy shots
  • Selected human immune globulin products (Rhogam, Rabies)

Previously expressed milk

Milk that has been in the freezer for eight to ten months (even that collected beyond the first year of lactation) can usually be donated once the screening is finished if:

  • It is dated
  • It is collected under sanitary conditions (hands, pump pieces washed/cleansed prior to each pumping) Learn how to keep your breast pump kit clean (from Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • It was frozen within 48 hours (less than 24 hours preferred) of pumping
  • Warm milk was not combined with already chilled milk
  • It does not contain restricted medication or alcohol

How to donate

  1. Contact Katelin Mohr at Mothers’ Milk Bank of Iowa at (319) 384-9930 or find more information at
  2. Complete a verbal screening
  3. Complete a written screening form
  4. MMBI will send you a kit to get the required blood tests done
  5. Bring the kit to the Perham Health lab to get your blood drawn. The blood test is paid for by MMBI. Perham Health will send the blood sample to MMBI.
  6. Once approved, contact Perham Health’s lacation team at (218) 347-1681 to set-up an appointment to drop off your frozen milk.