Donating Milk

It’s a double post night, but it’s because I think this is important.

I made my first breast milk donation almost two weeks ago and it is my favorite thing I’ve ever done (you know, outside of marrying my husband and having my baby).

Listen, I am TOTALLY a “fed is best” kind of girl in EVERY SITUATION EXCEPT NICU babies. The science is just there that the breastmilk is easier on the super tiny tummies. It’s also a pretty good chance that if you have a baby in a NICU, you’ve been through a trauma and breastfeeding could be pretty tough for you. This is why I felt strongly about donating my excess to a milk bank that is a part of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. I thought about donating to a local mom and if I’m still pumping after 12 months I might do that (the banks only take donations up to 12 months PP), but for now I feel like the excess milk can best be used by the babies who really really need it.

So three weeks ago I started the process. I got screened over the phone, filled out the paperwork, got cleared by my OB and C’s PCP, and got my blood drawn. Once I was fully approved we loaded up 600 ounces in a cooler and took it to the local depot that accepts it on behalf of the closest milk bank (which is a state away). I reserved 200-300 ounces in the freezer just in case of a rainy day (read: a nursing strike) and now I’m building up for my next donation.

Donating milk makes me feel like I’m giving back to the universe for giving me my baby. At first the oversupply was hell. It was hard on C until she worked it out and I got it slightly more under control. When I decided not to go back to work I thought about not pumping anymore-I had plenty banked to cover the one afternoon a week I spend away from my baby, but then I thought maybe I could do something for someone else. I only pump twice a day-I can handle doing that for what is a relatively small period of my life.

I’m not doing all this to say “Hey look at how great I am.” but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud. I took a picture of C with the cooler the day we were dropping it off so that someday I can show her that just by being born she helped out hundreds of babies.

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She was too fascinated by the lady making room in the freezer to look at her dad when he was taking the picture. Then they sent me this t-shirt this week on a day when I really needed some reassurance that I was a good mom:

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When I posted it on facebook a friend of mine who is a nurse said that this milk bank supplies the NICU at her hospital and thanked me on behalf of the premies and their mommas. And I cried. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a premie in the hospital. The last thing those moms need to worry about is how to get their babies the milk they need if they are struggling with supply.

Anyway, I know oversupply isn’t common, but if you have extra milk I encourage you to look into donation. It is a gift like no other and I’m really glad that I was given the honor of giving it.

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33 thoughts on “Donating Milk

  1. I tried to do this with my surplus milk but they wouldn’t take it because we lived in England for 5 years. I can’t donate blood either. I was really disappointed. I was so excited to donate. And I have so much extra.

    • Pretty much, yes. I wouldn’t have except that we had latch problems so we started giving bottles for a few days until I could get in to see an LC, so I needed to keep my supply going until that happened.

  2. I’ve thought about doing this with my oversupply. I don’t have a massive freezer stash because I hate pumping so I only pump at work but now I’m thinking more about it after reading your post!

  3. This is great! I think I may look into local milk banks so I can have some lined up in case my daughter is premature so they don’t give her formula in nicu like they did with my first.

  4. I don’t have much of an over supply, but I pump regularly after my little one eats and I’m on my second donation. I never am able to do much, but some is better than none. I LOVE it. I love being able to help. I’m very proud of you!!!

  5. What an awesome idea and I love that they sent you a t shirt, it’s a small but very thoughtful thing to do. You should be proud of yourself and I’m sure Charlie is too 🙂

  6. You are AWESOME for doing this! Seriously, I am giving you the biggest round of applause right now.

    The NICU in my area had donor milk available, and it was wonderful. My daughter (28w4d preemie) got a couple feedings of donor milk in the very early days when I’d pump and get nothing. Prematurity makes establishing a breast-milk supply such an enormous challenge. I never was able to establish anything close to a full supply, even with a huge amount of work.

    Breast milk saves preemies’ lives. As a preemie mama, my hat is off to you and Charlie for helping so many other parents and babies!

  7. Yeah! This is such a great post. And I think it’s such a wonderful, kind thing to be proud of 😍😀. It’s funny, this am I went from reading about one of our blogger friends who pumps exclusively, someone with a low supply thinking about supplementing and then you with an over supply you donate – it just goes to show, you never know what situation any of us will be in, but as you pointed out, a fed baby is the best kind of baby 🤗

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