I am pumped about something that I have the opportunity to participate in as a mom. Literally pumped! I had no idea this existed previously and I feel like it is worth passing on to y’all because I know some of you are pregnant, have just had a baby, or know someone in the same situation. So what is this about?
It turns out you can donate breastmilk. I know, the initial reaction I get from most people is ‘ew’. I get that, and felt the same way, but got over it when I realized I had an opportunity to help out premature and sick infants whose moms can’t breastfeed. Doctors will often prescribe human breastmilk for babies and I have the opportunity to help.
Austin is home to one of the larger milk banks in Texas, the Mother’s Milk Bank. If you have a good supply of milk, you can donate your excess much like you donate blood. There is no financial or tax benefit but somehow that doesn’t seem to matter.
When I was still considering going back to work, I started pumping during our night time or morning feedings (your body naturally produces more milk at night and in the morning). I started creating a stash of milk in our freezer for fear that I would not be able to keep up with Jude’s need for milk once I was back at work. Work = stress and stress can mean a drop in milk production (not to mention the logistics and frequency needed of pumping at work). Now that I am staying home, I have no worries about feeding him. Sure, we may use the occasional bottle or two so we can go on a date night, but I have no need for the 200+ ounces in the freezer! So today I am donating it all.
If this is something you are interested in then contact your local milk bank to find out more. They often prefer that you use their containers for storage as milk fat can stick to the plastic in most storage bags and the fat is most needed for the premature babies growth. They also will have some guidelines about donated milk and medicines and alcohol, as well as requiring a blood test and medical history.
As a woman and a mother, I feel lucky to get to help out other mother’s babies that are in need. Maybe you will consider donating if you are able?