And now for something completely different! Well, sort of….Have you ever heard of Milk Banks, had an over-supply of breastmilk or had a preemie baby? Well all of those are linked together in the story below from Abi Ross and her story about donating her breastmilk…
“I was inspired to donate milk after my first daughter was in SCBU having arrived 6 weeks early – I had plenty of milk and expressed regularly for her for 6 months as she needed it – and kept feeding her till almost 2. I knew I produced a lot and wanted to pay back a little for the care we had received for those first two weeks she was in special care. There were so many more, much sicker babies than mine and I knew that giving them EBM would help them no end to grow a lot stronger than on formula. So for my second I decided that if I could I would donate and give some others the same start mine had – it didn’t matter what the issue the mother may or may not have had it was good for the baby.
Initially my second also had sucking problems to begin with and wasn’t gaining enough. Therefore at two weeks old I started expressing again. I was again producing a big surplus for what she needed – small top ups – so thought what better thing to do than give it to babies that need it. I was already going with it so contacted the milk bank. I had to go in to the hospital for an appointment anyway so combined it with one of those visits to sort it all out i.e. do the bloods they needed. They were happy if my hygiene was good to accept the milk in the bags I had been storing it in until I could change to their bottles. I filled many more than I think they were expecting and still kept a little back for my daughter.
I had to stop a few times as I had a cold on more than one occasion and they don’t want that milk. I only pumped once a day, after the morning feed and got between 6 -10oz. After a while I was solely pumping for the bank although I could keep some for S if she needed and so had an emergency stash in the freezer! I had a double pump with variable speed and suction so it was quite efficient and so I still managed to be out of the house at 8.45 to get my oldest to nursery despite expressing in the morning. I used to set up the steriliser the night before and turn it on and it would stay sealed and sterile until the morning.
I donated from when my LO was 6 weeks old until she was about 6mo – I went away and stopped pumping that week as it didn’t make sense to carry on while I was away. It was a natural point to stop; S certainly wasn’t affected at all by my donating – she is healthy and sitting on 75th centiles for height and weight at 10 months old. It was a good experience and something that was easy for me to do. Although I couldn’t carry on donating for as long as I would have liked, I was pleased that I was able to donate the early milk in particular, as it is richer so it was the stuff they really wanted. I hope my litres helped a few babies grow bigger and stronger and it did help me lose a bit more of the baby weight quicker! “
I would have loved to donate milk but didn’t have a big excess. If you’re interested in finding out more about donating, visit the UKAMB website and you can follow them on Twitter. You can also contact your local hospital/SCBU department to see if they will accept it. If you’ve considered donating – or have donated – please do tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
Becky + Baby Thor