It’s a topic that seems to be taboo in today’s society, but it is one that I feel is so important to spread awareness about — donating breast milk. Sure, it’s not for everybody. But for me, it was something I am so appreciative of. I did not have the opportunity to breastfeed or pump breast milk due to me having a double mastectomy at the young age of 25. I go into detail about why in my personal blog here.
May 13, 2017 — It was my baby shower — constantly opening bags and packages filled with gifts, onesies, toys, all the baby essentials and must-haves. But one still to this day was my favorite. I opened the gift and saw it was from my friend and coworker Lauren. It was a book called When You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I still read the book to Maisyn to this day. But it was the note inside that made it such a big deal. On the note was a cute poem that said she was going to donate a month’s worth of her breast milk to me. I was SHOCKED. We hadn’t talked about this, I just expressed how I wished I could give Maisyn breastmilk when she was born. Lauren knew how much I wanted to have that chance and because of her I was able to do that. Now sure, it wasn’t from my breast and I’m 100% okay with that. I had a selfless friend donate a MONTH SUPPLY to me. Anyone who breastfeeds knows just how much that is.
In the hospital, I produced very little colostrum (which I definitely shouldn’t have due to my mastectomy) that I ended up giving to Maisyn via syringe and by her even latching a couple times with the help of lactation consultants at Woman’s Hospital. I am definitely grateful I was able to give her the small amount I could. When Maisyn was born and we were all settled in at home, I got the frozen milk from Lauren and put it straight in the freezer. I alternated between breast milk and formula. This allowed the milk to be extended for use about 2.5 months. And I am so grateful for those 2.5 months I had with that milk.
I had lots of questions about it and honestly a few weird looks when I told people. Why? I’ll never know. People are so quick to give blood but since it comes from a breast, it’s nasty?There are so many reasons why women are unable to produce milk. My child was healthy and given milk from a friend of mine who I knew what she was eating and knew how her diet was.
But not every mother knows their milk donor.
Woman’s Hospital has some information on milk donation to Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin and ways to give monetary donations. Ochsner Baptist in New Orleans is a hospital that accepts breast milk. Breast milk is very expensive and currently not covered under insurance for sick and premature babies. I know I was thankful to have the opportunity to have a milk donor and know it could help someone else.