Giving Up The Stash
It’s World Milk Sharing Week, so I thought I’d share a little something about my limited donor experiences.
My supply was so low at the beginning that I had to supplement with formula. I had no idea that donor milk was so widely available. I knew nothing of milk sharing schemes and milk banks. All I knew about donor milk was that it was given to premature babies. I didn’t even really consider where it came from, as ridiculous as it sounds.
I don’t even know if I’d have gone down that route if it was available to me. I was cut to pieces that I couldn’t feed Moo. Giving her breast milk from a woman that had a plentiful supply might have been a kick in the teeth. But perhaps my absolute love affair with breast milk might have over ridden that.
I didn’t have any milk to freeze until Moo was four months old. I’d fill the available bottles and then freeze any over. The occasional bag here and there. We bought a chest freezer, the idea was it’d be used for storing fruit from the garden, but it soon became rammed with bags of milk. I needed to do something with it. I’d dropped some pumps, but still had ounces to store. I preferred to use fresh milk, so much of it had been frozen for at least 6 months.
I could not formally donate, as I’d had a blood transfusion after Moo was born. Then a friend was wrongly advised to stop breastfeeding due to a medication she was taking. By the time she’d been made aware of the mistake, her supply had gone. I lent her my breast pump, but juggling an active baby, a university degree, a job and the amount of pumping to relactate just wasn’t doable.
So, I gave up my stash. Well, a large chunk of it. I worked out at the time that it had taken me at least 11 hours to pump. Totally worth every minute. It meant that her daughter had mostly breast milk until she turned one, and not one drop of my pumping efforts had been wasted.
Big love to all the milk donor mamas. To those pumping right now, for NICU babies, for friends and family, for low supply mamas, for two dad families and adopted babies. It’s the worlds most incredible gift.