If you are thinking about being a surrogate and want to continue providing assistance for the baby and new parents after the birth, you could consider pumping breast milk for the baby. This way, you have a hand in feeding the baby, which is a unique way to continue a connection with your intended parents and their new addition. Of course, surrogates often live in a different city or state than the baby and his or her parents. If this is the situation, you might need to ship your breast milk if you plan to pump. Fortunately, it is easier than you might think to do this. Here’s what you need to know about shipping your breast milk donations after your surrogate baby is born.
Get the Supplies You will Need.
First, you will need a breast pump. You can often get one for free from your insurance provider, as most cover this during pregnancy. But if this is not the case for you, you can buy or rent one. And if the parents-to-be are excited about the possibility of you pumping breast milk for their baby, they will pay for the costs of the breast pump.
Next, you will need to acquire the following supplies for shipping breast milk:
- Breast milk storage bags
- Styrofoam cooler
- Large box that will fit the cooler
- Dry ice
- Packing paper
- Packing tape
Once you have the supplies, get into the habit of pumping as often as you can. As you put the milk in the storage bags, try not to fill them all the way since the milk will expand a bit as it freezes. And when you place the bags in the freezer, store them flat, as this will make it easier to fit several of them in the cooler.
Pack it Properly.
After you have a few dozen frozen bags of milk, you can begin packing the cooler with them. Lay each one flat and make sure there are no empty spaces between bags. The more frozen bags you have in the cooler, the longer the bags will stay cold.
At the same time, save some room on top for the dry ice. Once the cooler is mostly packed with milk storage bags, place some packing paper or newspaper on top. Then put your dry ice inside a paper bag and place it on top of the paper. Cover the bag of dry ice with another piece of packing paper, making sure the ice is securely inside the bag, so it doesn’t fall out during shipping.
Send it Off!
Now it is time to put the cooler into the shipping box and use the packing tape to seal it shut. Remember to write “perishable” on the top and every side of the box, and then decide if you are going to ship through FedEx or UPS. Before you choose, keep in mind that you will need to ship priority overnight, so it arrives to your recipients quickly. Also, it is a good idea to call ahead of time to find out if there are any special policies regarding dry ice, as some shipping centers will give you specific directions on how to handle it.
Learn More About Donating Breast Milk After Being a Surrogate
Remember that surrogates are not required or expected to pump after delivery. But if you are interested in doing so, talk to the parents of the baby (or your Case Manager) to discuss the details, such as whether you will need to ship the milk. If they decide to pass on the breast milk and you are still interested to help babies by pumping, consider becoming a milk donor for other babies, as breast milk is always in demand. And if you have any questions about other aspects of the surrogacy process, feel free to contact us today; many of our own Family Source Consultants team-members have been surrogates, and have also pumped themselves for their intended (new) parents, or have pumped for milk banks.