Our bodies are remarkable machines, producing milk to nourish the bodies of our little ones.
It is an incredible feeling that after 40 weeks of growing a baby in your womb, he continues to grow because of the milk you make for him after birth. While breastfeeding is natural, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are many different circumstances that can effect a nursing relationship. I have been blessed with an abundant milk supply, but that is not the case for everyone. Some women just are not able to nurse their children for one reason or another, but still want to provide their baby with breast milk. That is where milk donors come in!
Moms Helping Moms
As a first time mom I had no idea what I was doing. I ordered a breast pump from insurance as soon as I could. I registered for storage bags, bottles, and extra pump parts. I thought building a freezer stash was what you were supposed to do, so a few weeks after my son was born I started pumping. It didn’t take long before our freezer was full of milk. I quickly realized there was no reason for me to keep this huge freezer of milk since we never needed to use it; I was always available to nurse straight from the tap.
I began looking into ways to donate my extra milk. I soon found Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Eats on Feets.
Along with their websites, each group has a corresponding Facebook page designated by state. Moms in search of donor milk can post to the page asking for milk donations, they will typically explain their situation, where they are located and any special dietary restrictions their babies may have. Donors are also able to post and share information about the milk they have available.
Over the next few months, I donated hundreds of ounces of milk to 5 wonderful moms.Each had their own story as to why they were looking for donor milk. A couple hundred ounces went to a sweet 2 year old boy with leukemia. Milk baths were one of the only things that helped heal his skin from the reactions he had to radiation and chemo. Another mom’s milk supply drastically dropped during pregnancy. I donated to the mother of a 33 week old preemie who suffers from low milk supply. The next child was having medical issues and he tolerated breast milk much better than formula and mom herself had a medical issue that prevented her from nursing. Recently, I donated my remaining “stash” to a sweet little boy who was only born a few days apart from my son.
I feel so fortunate to be able to have helped these 5 women in feeding their babies. It has been wonderful connecting with these other moms and seeing that the milk I pumped has played a part in the growth of their babies.
Some women just are not able to nurse their children for one reason or another, but still want to provide their baby with breast milk. That is where milk donors come in!
Giving the Gift of Milk
I want to applaud every other mom out there who chooses to donate the milk they produce for their child, to help feed other people’s children.
Pumping is time consuming. Finding 10-15 minutes to sit down to pump is not the easiest thing to do, especially when you have a sleeping baby and a warm bed calling your name. Cleaning bottles and parts, storing the milk, purchasing bags, everything adds up but donating is a selfless gift to another family who just want the best for their child.