Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Experience as a Breast Milk Donor

A while back, I had a request to do a post on my experience as a breast milk donor. I donated through private means, not to a milk bank.




Breast milk donation is something I learned about when I became a mom of three. I began to pump and intended on donating my milk, but never did. By the time I was pregnant with my fourth child, I had joined a local natural moms group. Some of the moms in this group used or relied on donor milk for various reasons. One gal was some one I knew from youth group in high school and she couldn't produce enough for her son. He had a medical condition that prevented him from gaining adequate amounts of weight at a time. She wanted to avoid using formula.

Something stirred in my heart when I heard this mama's story. I had to supplement my breast milk with my first two children. With my first child, my supply wasn't adequate enough due to introducing formula in the beginning. I didn't know anything about breastfeeding. With our second child, she had trouble latching in the beginning. She only nursed off of one side to start off with, so I pumped the other. Later on, my milk dried up due to pregnancy, so we supplemented with formula and goat's milk. I had mass amount of guilt over this, so I could empathize with this mama.

With an established milk supply, I knew I made way more than my third child needed (he was exclusively breastfed without supplement). I figured I would have the same outcome when Hallie was born. And it was! Before I had her, I told my friend that I would love to provide what milk I could. Soon after she was born, I was able to start pumping. I wasn't able to donate mega amounts of breast milk like some donors, but what I was able to donate helped her son, even in the smallest way.

We were also able to donate milk to two other moms on a one time basis. Unfortunately, near Hallie's birthday, my supply regulated and I quit responding to a pump. I haven't donated breast milk in several months now. I am so glad I was able to donate what I could. Even if it was only 20 oz here or 50 oz there. I knew every drop of the precious liquid gold was beneficial to those babies.

If you are able to, I really hope you will consider donating your breast milk. This absolutely means NOT selling it, but giving it to babies in need. Human Milk for Human Babies has chapters in every state and some internationally where you can get connected whether you are a donor or a mom of a baby in need of milk. It's a great feeling to be able to help! Some moms will provide storage bags or a pump (our recipient gave me a pump since I only had a manual).

Have you donated breast milk or been a recipient? Share your experience in the comments.

3 comments:

  1. Milk donation is a very special gift. I am very thankful for my large freezer stash every month now that my period has come back so I know my daughter can still get breastmilk. If I didn't have it then I would be relying on generous mamas like you! I hope to be able to donate some of what we have soon.

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  2. What a wonderful thing to be able to do for others! I never could have been that generous. I always wished I could have. My body didn't respond well to pumping, so I did good just to get milk for my baby for when I was not with her/him.

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