Can You Really Make Money Selling Breast Milk? Yes, and Here's How
If you're thinking about selling breast milk, you're probably wondering if it's safe and legal? There are legitimate ways for lactating people to make extra money.
For anyone who has thought about unique side hustles, selling breast milk is probably not the first idea that comes to mind. However, there's a market for breast milk from healthy lactating people. If you're willing to do the work, it could be a good way to supplement your income. Here's what you need to know about selling breast milk.
Selling breast milk is a legal and legitimate way for a nursing mother to earn some money, and for some it can be quite lucrative. While there are opportunities for you to donate excess breast milk to an organization, plenty of moms want to make a little money for their extra time and effort.
How much can you make selling breast milk?
The answer to this depends on how much excess milk you are able to produce and where you are selling it. Lactating people need to provide enough milk for their own babies, but many can also pump extra milk to freeze and sell or donate. According to Gigworker.com, you could potentially earn "a couple hundred dollars per week" with this side hustle.
According to financial bloggers at The Savvy Couple, the most common price is between $1 and $2 per ounce of breast milk. Using that guideline, you could make $1,200 per month if you produce an extra 20 ounces a day and sell it at the high of $2 per ounce. Many people won't be able to sustain that level, though, or get that high of a price.
Where can you legally sell breast milk?
There are a few places that facilitate the breast milk business. OnlytheBreast allows people to donate, sell, or buy breast milk through their classified-ad style platform. You must pass a donor screening to qualify.
Look up other milk banks online to find out where you can donate or sell your milk. Also, many milk banks call it "donating" but do provide financial compensation, so read their terms to be sure of the agreement beforehand.
Resources for donating your breast milk (not for payment) include:
What are the qualifications for selling breast milk?
Since breast milk is going to feed babies of parents that may be unable to provide breast milk themselves, it's essential that all donations of breast milk be safe. There's typically a screening process that may include blood work and provision of your medical history to verify that you don't have diseases like HIV or hepatitis.
In addition to the lactating person's health history and current health behaviors, the means of storing breast milk safely is important. Milk banks often require pasteurization done by a specific method.
The HMBANA says these may disqualify donors:
- smoking or use of illegal drugs
- risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
- non-approved medications
- risk of bloodborne illness
- recent blood transfusion
- organ or tissue transplant
- at-risk sexual partner
- travel deferrals related to CJD
- vegans not supplementing with B12
Is it worth the effort to sell breast milk?
Selling breast milk isn't exactly passive income. It requires a person to spend extra time pumping breast milk (time when she might be busy with an infant of her own). Not every lactating person has an easy time with pumping, so that could impact the efficiency of this side hustle.
You'll also need a designated freezer area for storage of breast milk and have to go through the screening process with a donor organization.
It can be financially worth it to pump extra and take advantage of what your body is doing anyway in the postpartum period. But it really depends on how much time and effort you're willing to put into it, and how easy it is for you to pump excess milk. Certainly, many families rely on donated breast milk to feed their babies and will appreciate your efforts.
How safe is it to sell breast milk?
The only risk is to the baby who will receive the donated breast milk, so it's up to you as the pumping parent to ensure you follow safety practices. Going through a reputable organization like HMBANA and following their guidelines will help ensure you safely pump, pasteurize, and store all milk to be donated.
From a legal perspective, selling of breast milk is unregulated by the federal government. However, you should not donate or sell breast milk if you are at risk of certain diseases or engage in the practices prohibited by HMBANA for donors.