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What Mothers Need to Know About Donating and Selling Breast Milk

Whether you're looking to give back or make some side money, this article will help you decide if donating or selling breast milk is for you.

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We’ve spent a lot of time recently talking about different ways to earn passive income.

If you’re a mother looking for a more active way to earn income, one thing to consider is selling breast milk.

There is a nationwide shortage of human milk, which has prompted mothers to donate or sell breast milk.

Selling breast milk could earn you a couple hundred dollars per week.

The number of mothers donating or selling breast milk has increased dramatically over the past few years.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about donating and selling breast milk.

Whether you’re someone looking to give back to other parents or someone interested in learning how to make money fast, by the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of whether donating or selling breast milk is the right option for you.

The Best Places to Sell Breast Milk (Overview)

Best to Donate

The best way to find a milk banks to donate milk to those in need

Best For-Profit
Mothers Milk Cooperative

One of the most prominent for-profit milk banks

Also Great
Buy, Sell, and Donate Breast Milk

A private Facebook group with over 5,000 members to buy from and sell to

Full List of Places to Sell Breast Milk

We’ve included an overview of our top picks above. For a full list and detailed information on each pick, scroll down.

  1. Nonprofit Milk Banks
  2. For-Profit Milk Banks and Sites
  3. Online Sites

Nationwide Milk Shortage

A bottle of milk with a mom and baby playing in the background

The primary reason for milk banks is that there’s a shortage of human milk in the United States.

Studies show that 60% of mothers do not breastfeed as long as they intend to. Common issues preventing breastfeeding include:

  • Problems with latching and lactation
  • Health concerns, regarding either the mother or the baby
  • Medications
  • Traumatic delivery
  • Lack of parental leave at work
  • Lack of family support
  • Unsupportive hospital policies

This problem is exemplified when mothers cannot breastfeed at all.

Many parents deal with a shortage of breast milk at home. However, it’s even more significant when these issues occur with premature babies.

A premature infant’s digestive system cannot process formulated milk or cow’s milk.

Human breast milk is essential because it won’t harm the baby’s digestive system.

It also provides them with vital antibodies needed to grow. Thus, the most significant need for milk donors comes from neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

According to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies weighing under 3.3 pounds should feed on breast milk.

Additionally, NICUs are fuller than ever before. Hospitals now have the technology to save babies younger than ever.

Two decades ago, doctors could not save a baby if it was younger than 27 weeks. Now doctors can save babies as young as 22 weeks.

The most critical element in all of this, of course, is human milk.

Board-certified lactation consultant Mistelle Okada told AP News regarding formula, “You could resuscitate them, you could get their hearts going, but their guts would die.

Using breast milk in any form for our micro-preemies — it’s made the difference of whether we can save their lives or not.”

Premature babies in the United States require 80 million ounces of human milk each year, but there are only roughly 15 million ounces of breast milk available annually.

And this statistic doesn’t even account for shortages elsewhere. For instance, the World Health Organization says that babies should be fed human milk exclusively until six months of age.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, only 25.4% of babies are breastfed exclusively through six months.

The reasonable conclusion through all of this? There is a need for mothers with extra breast milk.

The Problems With Selling Breast Milk

Selling breast milk provides an opportunity for mothers looking for extra money.

Although breast milk sales have been trending over the past few years, it’s not without concern.

The Food and Drug Administration considers breast milk a food, which means it’s not nearly as regulated as the sale of other bodily fluids, organs, or tissues.

Milk banks institute screening processes that can include blood tests for things like drugs and infectious diseases.

But mothers have also sought to buy milk online.

Purchasing breast milk online occurs on unregulated websites like Craigslist and Facebook.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee that “what you see is what you get.”

One study found that 10% of breast milk sold online was mixed with cow’s milk.

Mothers can also buy or sell milk on volunteer sites like Only the Breast.

Although these sites offer a sense of legitimacy, they too disseminate milk without screening donors.

These groups do not take any responsibility for the milk they provide.

So if you’re looking to sell breast milk, know that these are some of the concerns you may run into.

Some parents looking to purchase breast milk online may request to see medical records or independent third-party lab testing to ensure the milk is 100% natural.

Obviously, you may have some legal concerns about doing so.

And what if a mother claims you sold milk that ended up harming her child?

It’s perhaps in your best interest to contact an attorney and doctor before selling breast milk online.

How to Sell and Donate Breast Milk

vector graphic showing an illustration of selling breast milk

If you have extra breast milk, you may have trouble figuring out the best way to pass it along to parents so they can use it for their own baby.

Below are some of the most popular methods to do so.

1. Nonprofit Milk Banks 

If you prefer to donate your excess breast milk, the best way to do so is through the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).

This group provides a list of milk banks where you can go to give donor milk.

You won’t receive any funds for your milk donation.

Additionally, breast milk is not a tax-deductible donation.

However, you can deduct any costs associated with the donation process, such as mileage to the milk bank or the cost of the breast pump.

The nonprofit milk banks will take your milk, process it, and pasteurize it so that it remains safe for babies.

Then hospitals will purchase the clean milk for approximately $4 an ounce.

According to HMBANA’s website, “Member milk banks follow strict screening, processing, and dispensing guidelines that were developed by HMBANA in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and US Food and Drug Administration.

Member milk banks also follow the regulations set forth by their state departments of health.”

Although there are no strict guidelines regarding the sale of breast milk, HMBANA sought out two prominent government agencies for advice.

Mothers can trust that the milk they receive from the agency is clean, pure, and free of diseases, which is vital when attempting to keep a newborn healthy.

2. For-Profit Milk Banks and Sites

These milk banks will pay you for your milk.

One of the most prominent for-profit milk banks is Mothers Milk Cooperative.

This organization pays $1 per ounce of breast milk.

It requires you to pass screening tests before donating by having your blood drawn and analyzed by LabCorp.

You’ll also need to pay taxes on any money that you make while selling milk.

3. Online Sites

The most lucrative way to make money selling breast milk is online.

As mentioned, sites like Only the Breast facilitate the sale of milk.

There are also random Craigslist classifieds and private Facebook groups.

For example…

Typically, mothers sell their milk on these groups for around $3 per ounce.

However, some mothers will sell their milk on sites like Only the Breast for as much as $16 per ounce.

If you choose to sell online, you’re responsible for storing the milk correctly so that it doesn’t spoil.

You’re also responsible for coordinating a pick up with the buyer or shipping it to them.

However, these are all write-offs that you can consider when filing taxes.

Suggested Reading

To familiarize yourself with selling online, we suggest you read the following:

Is Selling Breast Milk Right for You?

A mother's hands hold a baby's feet

As a mother, you may find yourself wanting to learn how to make money on the side.

Perhaps you’ve stopped your full-time job and are looking for ways to bring in some money to help pay for your newborn’s diapers.

Maybe you want to start saving for your child’s college fund.

Whatever the case may be, earning money from a side hustle could provide you with more financial freedom.

If you breastfeed and find that you have more than enough milk, then you may want to consider selling the rest.

Excess breast milk is like liquid gold.

You could find yourself earning a few thousand extra dollars per year by selling breast milk.

If you choose to do so, you should consider finding a milk bank in your area that will buy your milk.

Coordinating the sale of breast milk online could be challenging.

You’ll need to organize how to ship it to the recipient.

And if something were to go wrong, there could be potential legal concerns.

A milk bank is the safest way to earn money selling breast milk.

Of course, you could also consider donating your excess milk as well.

While you won’t earn any income, you’ll likely help save lives.

NICUs and parents around the country need breast milk, which is critical to a newborn’s development.

Make sure you consult your doctor before donating or selling.

Your doctor can advise you whether you are producing enough milk to give some away.

Your doctor can also put you through a screening process to determine whether your milk supply is healthy enough for other babies.

Although screening may not be required by a milk bank or to sell online, doing so is ethical and worthwhile.

If your doctor does deem you qualified, then donating or selling can provide you with personal fulfillment and potential cash on the side.

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