Breastfeeding no matter how hard it may be is an experience I wish everyone could have. The way that baby looks up at you and snuggles in close is just amazing. Of course every baby does this, but when they do it while you are continuing to grow their tiny little body it is life changing. I couldn’t imagine not being able to produce enough for my little ones, or having a preemie and needing breast milk but the stress and lack of skin on skin is making it hard to pump. Which is why I was so happy to be able to donate breast milk.
When I was blessed to have 500 ounces of breast milk in the freezer and Adella was only 4 months and refused to take a bottle I knew I wanted to donate breast milk, that is a thing right? Yes, it is an amazing gift! I searched for a milk bank but at the time Illinois didn’t have one so I found one in Iowa. It was rather easy thanks to Google!! It was easy to find by simply searching “milk bank in (insert state)”, I was able to find a website which had a form to fill out. I filled out the form and the following day I received a phone call and did a phone interview. After that I had to do blood work and have my doctor and Adella’s doctor sign off. The milk bank sent everything for the blood draw and once they received everything I was cleared to donate.
I was able to take the milk I currently had in the deep freezer, and was sent containers to put new pumped milk in so I could continued to pump and donate breast milk. We took two trips to the hospital drop off, and when I saw those little babies in the NICU I wanted to pump forever! Of course that wasn’t possible as I became pregnant when Adella was 10 months old and my supply dropped.
How much did I donate
So in all I donated a little over 1000 ounces and still had some milk left in the freezer as my just in case something happened, milk baths, or medical needs. A few months later I reached out on some Facebook groups to donate what I had left. Some I gave to a mom I went to school with and some a family drove 3 hours to get and I was their 51st donor of breast milk. The family that drove out we took to the park and then for ice cream and it was so nice to visit with them and they were beyond grateful for the gift I was giving them. Seriously made me wish I could keep pumping and give milk to all the babies who needed it! We stayed in contact and still message back and forth once in a while.
Donating while tandem nursing
After Delta was born I knew I wanted to donate again if I could, but since I was tandem nursing I wasn’t sure if I would have enough milk to pump. Well turns out I had plenty. This time I decided to just donate breast milk locally as I didn’t know how much I would be able to pump or if I would even want to. I again posted on Facebook and had a mom reach out to me. They drove 2 and a half hours to our house and brought replacement bags. Our kids were about 3 weeks apart in age and they would come out every other week and pick up about 100 ounces. This went on for about 4 months and we really grew a nice relationship with each other. We went for ice cream and swapped garden produce and messaged often. The gratitude shown to me kept me going.
Now that Delta is almost a year I haven’t been pumping but maybe once a month and I have about 200 ounces in the freezer that I will use for other things (post to come). I will pump again when we decide to have another one because I am capable and it takes me just a few minutes which for me is totally worth it. To date I have donated roughly 3,600 ounces and have more in my freezer, seriously so humbling.
A little extra information, I was perfectly fine to donate while taking Zoloft and the milk bank allowed 4 servings of caffeine a day. The milk bank did require 24 hours to pass after consuming alcohol and not all medicine is compatible but a simple phone call will answer any questions you have regarding medicine.
The Facebook groups: Search Eats on Feets (state name) or Human Milk 4 Human babies (state name)
Have you donated breast milk, or needed any?