Have You Ever Been Curious About Breastmilk Donation
I am a mom who has thankfully been able to produce an abundance of milk for my baby. But, I always wondered, what will I do with all of this milk? Donation had never entered my mind. I would joke with my husband, “Who needs chicken for dinner when Landon has all the food he will ever need in here?” The milk in my freezer was seriously starting to take over…
From the day that I brought Landon home from the hospital, I knew that I wanted to create a decent stock pile of milk, to make my transition back to work as easy and worry free as possible. I wanted to make sure that I had enough stored away, so that on a ‘bad day’ I wasn’t stressing over where my baby’s food would be coming from.
I have to take a moment here to acknowledge how lucky I am that pumping and breastfeeding came so easy for me- as we know, this is not the case for all mommas. Thinking back now, I have an idea of why I was blessed with a plethora of milk. It was not only my purpose to feed my own little one, but to help supply milk for another baby in need too. What an incredible feeling.
So, you may be wondering.
How did she do this?
One day when I was re-organizing my milk supply and having a mini panic attack about where I would stockpile it all, I had a thought run though my head — what about breastmilk donation? I have heard of little preemie babies needing donored breastmilk in the NICU of the hospital, but wasn’t sure If I could be a donor myself. What are the requirements?
I quickly whipped out my iphone and pulled up my best friend, Google. A quick internet search for breast milk donation led the way. I quickly wondered, how I would get my milk from point A to point B. Who would actually take it? What I started to realize was that most milk banks were requiring intense questionnaires and interviews, as well as blood work for screening and in some cases, even a doctor’s consent.
I dug a little further and submitted a question to my FB breastfeeding group. To my surprise, got some really great feedback. A bunch of moms responded telling me to checkout the informed milksharing network, Human Milk 4 Human Babies. The mission of HM4HB is to promote the nourishment of babies and children around the world with human milk. They are dedicated to fostering community between local families who have chosen to share breastmilk. This is exactly what I wanted to be a part of.
The most convenient part about this network is that each state has their own Facebook page, which helps mothers in need link up with potential milk donors.
I quickly discovered that there were more mothers in search of breast milk donations than I thought. Surprisingly, there were two women, whom I personally know, who had requested breast milk on this page in the past. I submitted a post to the group, stating that I was a non-smoking, alcohol free, Registered Nurse from Northern, NJ looking to donate over a month’s worth of milk to a mother in need. To my surprise, within a half hour I was linked up with a momma who, believe it or not, lives practically in my backyard. I was floored. How could it be that the baby who needed my milk, lived just five minutes away. It was meant to be.
The mom and I quickly got to chatting. I soon found out that she was a nurse too (what are the chances?). And she was having a problem with her supply. I was so happy to be able to help out. I now knew that the milk that I had stored up in my freezer was not only for Landon. It was for Emilia, too.
Being able to donate my milk has been such an honor. Knowing that I could take part in helping baby E get the nutrients that she needs, is an extraordinary feeling. By being able to help out this momma in need, I, in return was touched.
What is your experience with milk donation? Have you ever given or received? We’d love to read your story in the comments below!