Sunday, December 18, 2011

Donating Breast Milk

As I mentioned in my last post Pumping...A Love ~ Hate Relationship. I was able to store up about 5000+ ounces and we bought a deep freezer to store it all. When my son turned nine months old I realized there was no way we would use all of of this milk... Yes, I could give it to him in a bottle or a cup, use it for cereal, but our BFing relationship was going strong and I saw no immediate future need for all of it. I tried to make Breast Milk Butter out of it (I wasn't successful), even looked into Breast Milk Recipes. I didn't see a need for that.
What I really wanted was the milk to be used for babies who need it. I looked into donating it to a Milk Bank, but everywhere I looked someone was profiting from my free breast milk. That just didn't sit well with me. I wanted it to go to babies in need at no expense to the parents. I could not find a place like that. After countless hours scouring the Internet I started reading more and more about mom to mom milk sharing. Really this idea isn't new. Women have used wet nurses and crossed nursed since the dawn of time. How else did babies survive before formula when a mom was unable to nurse?



I decided that was what I would do. I found a few resources Milk Share and Human Milk 4 Human Babies. I posted on the sites that I had breast milk available to donate. I was surprised at the many responses. I was able to donate to a few different women. I didn't want to give it all away at once in case something happened and I did end up needing it. I donated frozen breast milk on four different occasions twice to the same baby. These moms were so grateful! They truly believed in the importance of breast milk and really went out of there way to provide it to their babies. I even had the privilege of acting as a wet nurse on one occasion.

I know that this subject makes a lot of people uncomfortable or grossed out. I had friends tell me that it was gross and they couldn't believe I did that. To me it was just what seemed right. Breast milk is made for babies, cow's milk is made for cows. Who else would I give this milk to. There was no way I was dumping it. It was hard work! This was the perfect solution! I donated the last of my frozen stash when my son was about 14 months old.

Maybe this is why I was so open to sharing breast milk. My mom went back to work when I was a few months old and her sister nursed me while she worked (my cousin and I are a month apart). I am so grateful that my aunt did this. I was able to receive breast milk longer then I would have and I am sure it took some stress off my mom. As far as bonding went, my mom is my mom and we are so close! She means the world to me, I know I can count on her for anything. We have a great relationship. She has all ways done what she thought was best for her children. And you know what, my aunt is pretty damn special to me too. We are very close, but it never interfered with my relationship with my mom.

My goal is to help normalize breast feeding and this was just another way to help a fellow mom. Nursing is hard, pumping is hard, but you know whats harder??? Wanting to be able to give your child breast milk and being unable to do so. If you were blessed with a surplus of breast milk consider donating it. Did you know that World Health Organization order of recommendation for women who are unable to provide their infant with there own breast milk is breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank then formula?

20 comments:

  1. How awesome that you donated your extra milk! I'm sure there are some very grateful moms out there, thanks to you :-)

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  2. That is so cool! What an amazing stash, and an incredible gift. I like mom-to-mom donation, too.

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  3. What a precious gift! I fully support informed milk sharing and am so grateful to see moms like you spreading the word, and giving freely. You rock! :)

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  4. This is so fantastic, well done! I would love to help out other moms (or babies) in need... I must look into it.

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  5. This is awesome! I also donated my extra pumped milk and felt so blessed to share :)

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  6. That is wonderful! I would love to up my milk supply so that I could help others!

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  7. I think it's fantastic what that you donated!

    My sister and I have sons less than a month apart and we both gave each other some of our pumped milk when we needed it in certain circumstances.

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  8. Thank you all for you comments! It really was just what seemed right! And I hope it inspires other to think about donating milk or even using donated milk!

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  9. That's fantastic! i've just registered with my nearest milk bank for the second time - i donated for 6 months after having my third child, now number 4 is 10 weeks old and we've got a couple of litres in the freezer waiting to be collected! Anyone in the UK interested in donating should see the UKAMB on facebook (UK Association of Milk Banks). :)

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  10. From a mama who is receiving donor milk from other mamas - thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

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  11. Becky Thank you! I would do it again in a heart beat!

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  12. Good for you! I have been trying to find somewhere to donate milk to for ages here but have been unsuccessful as of yet, this has spurred me on to try a bit harder!

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    1. Holly that's awesome so many babies need breast-milk, their moms would be so grateful!

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  13. Man, I wish I had seen this post earlier! I had so much breastmilk to use up (from when my baby was in the NICU) and I was told that I cannot donate my milk. Never thought of just posting it and seeing which mothers would take it!
    I still ahve 24 ounces, but it needs to be used by next week (as it will be 1 year in the deep freezer by then).

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  14. Lani, I am so proud of you for doing this. You know how I support breastfeeding since I nursed your hubby and his siblings.
    Before my 1st son, I told my gynecologist that I was going to breastfeed. His reply "So you're going to try that eh?" I said, "Yes I am and I will succeed." I did.

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  15. Thank you so much for donating. I am so grateful to my husband's cousin who donated her frozen stash to my daughter when I was sick and hospitalized.

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  16. Awesome to know that there are ways to donate without corporations benefitting. What really kills me is that there ARE babies in NICUs that NEED our milk. But the only way to really get it to them is through the monetarized ways. Those moms don't know about milk share necessarily. I wish we could just pull up to the maternity ward with our freezer stash and say "here! Free! nutrition!" And they could actually use it:)

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    1. I know I wish for the same thing... I wish there wasn't a market for breast milk. It seems so wrong to charge parents for it. I mean the formula is free to the parents so shouldn't donated breast milk. Or the Insurance companies should have to pay for it.

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  17. Good on you for sharing this post- I couldn't agree with you more and I just wish there had been the facility to donate milk when I was lactating, I think it's a brilliant idea!
    I'm so glad you dropped by and I really welcomed this contribution last week to the Seasonal Celebration Linky- a great collection of seasonal recipes, homemaking, crafts, homeschooling and motherhood thank you so much!
    Seasonal Celebration is live once more, so feel free to pop over and join this wonderful celebration of creative talent! http://naturalmothersnetwork.com Rebecca x

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Thanks for commenting!