My friends always joked how I was a human cow. With my previous two babies, I was able to pump enough to feed them and have leftover to freeze. It wasn’t until my girls both refused my frozen breastmilk that I had that feeling of tossing my milk down the drain because no one would benefit from it. As I got ready to have baby #3, our pediatrician joked how I would have even more milk this time around, and it would come in much quicker because my body just knew what to do. He was right, and within a few hours of giving birth I was already engorged. Previously, my milk didn’t come in until day 5 post partum.
I knew this time around I wouldn’t want to waste my precious milk. What I didn’t know was that I would be pumping nearly triple the amount that I was previously able to pump with my first two. After trying unsuccessfully for over a week to taper my milk supply, I started researching milk donation groups. I had settled on privately donating to a family who needed milk, but that would mean I would be meeting a stranger in a public area and hand off my milk, not knowing who was using it and for what purpose. (I mean, you would HOPE it’s for a baby, right?)
Then I stumbled on a post in a local NYC group where another mother spoke about her milk donation journey. Initially, I didn’t want to donate to a milk bank because not only do they pasteurize human milk, taking away so many of the valuable properties, but also they would be charging families to have access to my milk. After thoroughly researching the company, I realized that handling, storing, and shipping my milk costs money, I realized they had a valid reason for charging these families a fee. Who else would cover these charges?
So, I filled out the form, spoke with the representative at Human Milk Banking Association of North America, and started my milk donation journey. Every morning I pump 16-18 ounces. 8 ounces goes into bottles for two feedings for my baby (which he gets until my morning coffee is cleared from my milk) 4 ounces goes into the freezer for his stash, and anything remaining goes into my milk donation pile.
Some might think milk sharing isn’t for them, but think of it this way- many NICU babies can benefit from human milk as opposed to formula. Human milk provides the proper nourishment for their delicate bodies as they grow and repair. I’m very excited and humbled to be able to share my milk with families who can benefit from it.
I’ll be updating soon with my first donation box as it is shipped off!