Thursday, March 15, 2012

Milk Donation

About 2 and a half years ago I found myself producing more than enough milk for my five month old and my almost two year old nurslings. I would pump the extra but neither of my children would drink what I pumped. They preferred it straight from the tap I guess. I couldn't bring myself to toss it so I looked around for other options. First was milk banks. Milk banks are great. Especially for hospitalized babies. But many families can't afford the $4-$5 an ounce that banks charge. That was only one of the reasons I chose not to go that route. I was also treating postpartum depression. I was on a breastfeeding safe antidepressant but I had read that banks won't take your milk if you regularly take meds.

So, I went the informal route and found a mom of a little girl named Emerson. Emerson's mom would send me a cooler and milk storage bags. I'd fill it up and the UPS man to take it to Emerson. I donated 800+oz to baby Emerson and she was able to make it to her first birthday completely on breastmilk. I'm extremely happy to say that I was one of the milk donors that made it possible. To the right is the cooler I filled a couple of times for her.

Not long after Emily was born I realized that I, once again, had oversupply. Over active letdown accompanied it and was making things difficult for Em. She would choke and pull off at let down. She'd also end up eating more than she needed and silent reflux began to show up. I could tell she was in pain. After nursing she'd gag and the look on her face told me it was coming back up in her poor little throat. I had to do something to help her out so I started pumping just to slow down the flow, hoping I wasn't making things worse. It worked. Then Em got an ear infection and had a hard time nursing off one side. That took care of the over supply on that side but since she was doing most of her nursing on the other, that side's supply increased. I'm now pumping again to make it comfortable for her and am easily getting 5 oz a day. She will not take a bottle but even if she would, she'd never drink the 81oz I have stashed in the freezer. I posted on facebook that I was ready to just embrace my oversupply and pump to donate. A friend commented saying that she had a friend that could use my milk. That was perfect because I wanted to find someone local this time. She put us in contact and now the milk in my freezer is for little baby London. I'm really excited to be able to do this again. Pumping when it was just to remove the extra milk to make breastfeeding easier was sometimes a pain. It's all changed now that I'm pumping to give the milk to a child that needs it. I'm more than happy to pump for London.

Do you have extra milk? Here's a few links for banks and informal donation groups:
Milk Share (where I found Emerson's mom)
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  1. Yay Momma! Little London is very lucky! :)

  2. Yay for milk donation!! I hope I can do it one day, when and if we have more kids. :)