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Your baby can get donor human milk at home

Who is eligible to receive milk?

Who is eligible to receive milk?

Donor human milk (DHM) is prioritized for those babies whose lives are saved by human milk, most often the babies born too soon, too sick, or too small. As with other tissues, such as blood, gatekeeping is necessary to make sure that the babies with the highest priority are provided milk first. Once needy hospitalized babies are fed, milk can be dispensed to babies at home who fall into the following categories:

For premature or sick babies

Babies at home with a medical need for human milk can get donor human milk if their physician provides a prescription and letter of medical necessity that justifies why human milk is needed. For instructions on obtaining a prescription and letter of medical necessity, click here.

If your baby received donor human milk in the hospital and is being discharged, we recommend asking the hospital to send you home with enough milk to feed your baby until services can be established.

For newborns leaving the hospital

Congratulations on the birth of your baby!  Now that you are ready to go home, you may wish to have donor human milk on hand for your healthy infant until your milk supply comes in.  MMBA can provide up to 40 ounces of milk without a prescription and if more is needed, a prescription is required. For instructions on obtaining a prescription for donor human milk, click here.

For healthy infants

Many families of healthy newborns wish to supplement with human milk instead of formula, providing babies with health benefits and parents with peace of mind. MMBA can provide up to 40 ounces of milk without a prescription and if more is needed, a prescription is required.  For instructions on obtaining a prescription for donor human milk, click here.

To request more information about donor human milk or set up services for your baby, email orders@milkbank.org or call 512-494-0800 (877-813-6455).

Local pick-ups for babies at home are available by APPOINTMENT ONLY and take place during regular business hours (M-F 9am-5pm).  Shipping is available Monday through Thursday for families outside of the Austin-area.  For emergency pick-ups outside of business hours, call the number above and follow the directions for urgent needs. We will try our best to meet all needs.

Families are responsible for paying a processing fee for donor human milk services provided at home. This fee reflects the milk bank’s costs for making milk safe.  Insurance may cover a portion of this fee for infants with a medical need for milk.  Medicaid, Tricare, and most private plans require additional paperwork to determine coverage. Funding may be available to families with a medical need for milk and no insurance or financial resources. Recipient Program staff can provide more information if you’re interested in exploring this option.

Families of healthy infants will need to pay out of pocket for this service, but may be able to seek reimbursement if donor human milk is a covered benefit under your plan.  Reach out to your insurance company for more details.

For physicians

For physicians

Donor human milk (DHM) is prioritized for infants with a medical need both in the hospitals and the homes. MMBA works hard to have enough milk for all, but will prioritize the hospitalized and ill infants at home before serving healthy infants if the supply is limited.  If you have a patient at home who would benefit from donor human milk services, please review the information below and have the family contact us to establish services.   

Outpatient physician responsibilities

  1. Submit the prescription and a letter describing medical necessity via fax to 512.428.8950 or via email to orders@milkbank.org.
    • The prescription should include:
      • Name and date of birth of recipient
      • Amount of milk needed per day or week
      • Number of refills allowed or time frame for services
      • The child’s diagnosis or “healthy infant”, as applicable
      • Prescriber’s name, address, fax, and phone number
  2. For infants with a medical need for milk, write a letter describing medical necessity, including the diagnosis of the recipient that warrants donor human milk and the ICD-10 code(s) for this diagnosis.  Include information on formula trials, if appropriate.  For specific instructions on providing a prescription and letter of medical necessity, click here.
  3. Instruct a family member of the patient to contact us.

Medicaid and Tricare: Medicaid and Tricare clients require specific forms to be completed by a physician before milk can be dispensed. Milk bank staff will fax these forms to the physician once an order for DHM has been received, and then send them to the appropriate offices to obtain authorization.

Common diagnoses

Common diagnoses

Common diagnoses of donor human milk recipients include:

  • Preterm birth, especially VLBW or ELBW infants
  • Failure to thrive
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Short-gut syndrome
  • Renal failure
  • Inborn errors of metabolism
  • Immunological deficiencies
  • Formula intolerance
  • Cardiac anomalies
  • Gastro intestinal anomalies, including gastroschisis
  • Intrauterine exposure to drugs

Financial assistance

Financial assistance

We’re committed to equitable distribution of donor human milk for all babies with a medical need. The processing fee charged by the milk bank represents the cost of making each ounce safe for babies. This fee is often covered at least partially by insurance companies, but insurance companies do not decide who gets donor human milk. If your baby’s health care provider feels that it is important to receive donor human milk we will help you. MMBA is one of the few milk banks in the country to offer a Charitable Care Program that covers the fee for donor human milk for families with a medical need who lack insurance or the resources to cover the milk processing fees.

MMBA also recognizes that infants sometimes do not have access to their own mother’s milk due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, or catastrophic events of life in general.  MMBA is eager to help in emergencies, so please contact us if this applies to you.

The Charitable Care Program is made possible by the generous financial contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations.  To learn more, please contact us at  orders@milkbank.org or call 512-494-0800 (877-813-6455) for more details.

In the meantime, families can begin gathering some information so that MMBA can determine your baby’s eligibility for the program: 

  • Prescription and letter of medical necessity from the child’s physician
  • W-2’s, recent pay stubs, or other evidence of financial need

If you are not eligible to receive donor human milk through the Charitable Care Program, we may be able to establish a billing plan where the milk processing fees are paid over time.

Free counseling services for Austin-area families

Free counseling services for Austin-area families

If your child spent time in the NICU within the last 3 years, you can qualify for 8-12 free counseling sessions through our partner Hand to Hold. We highly recommend applying for this free service if you live in the Austin area. Learn more and apply online.

 

 

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