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November 16, 2017
Donating breast milk. Three words that have been forever stamped into my being and have changed my life. To this day I have donated over 17,000 ounces of my excess breast milk to over 30 different mamas in several different states. However, most first-time moms don’t know about this side of motherhood – I sure didn’t!
Shortly after I had my first child in May of 2013 I realized I had an oversupply problem – I was making way more milk than my son was taking in. Thanks to my trusty breast pump, I was able to pump, pump and pump some more to build up a nice little freezer stash. However, soon that stash was literally spilling out of our deep freeze and I didn’t know what to do with it. Buy another deep freeze? Pitch it? Surely I couldn’t keep jamming more in there, and there was no way my son was going to consume all of this milk. I told my mom about my dilemma and she asked if I’d want to donate some – she had a friend who’s daughter just had a baby and she couldn’t keep up with the baby’s demands. YES! That was it – a perfect solution to my problem.
However, I didn’t immediately accept her proposal – I had this attachment to ‘my’ milk and all of these what-ifs kept running through my head. What if my supply suddenly tanked? What if something happened to me and my plentiful freezer stash was gone? I think I went through about 100 what-ifs and finally, my wonderful husband told me, “Alex, it’s fine. You have plenty of milk and if one of those happens - we deal with it. Because as long as he’s eating, that’s all that matters.” And he was right. I picked up my phone, called the mama, and told her I had 1000 ounces for her.
As scary as it was with that first donation to ‘let it go’, it made me feel so good knowing that my milk was going to another kiddo who loved her some mama’s milk. Over four years and two kids later from that first donation, I am still going strong in my milk donation game. I just sent off my 17,300th ounce of milk last week and have another couple hundred ounces in my freezer waiting to head off soon.
Donating that first time opened my eyes to the world of milk sharing and breast milk donations and I haven’t looked back. I’ve found over thirty mamas looking for milk, thanks to social media, who have come to me to pick up my excess breast milk. None of this would have been possible if I didn’t have an amazing support network and a hard-working breast pump. Donating breast milk is one of the most altruistic things a pump can do – not only expressing and collecting milk for your own baby, but for other little ones as well. If you find yourself coupling with a plentiful supply, keep that pump going, collect that extra milk and share. I promise you won’t regret it.
Want to learn more about where to donate breast milk? Doing your homework is important, and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) is a good place to start.
Alex Mooney is a mother to 3 humans (a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and a 9 month old) and 1 wannabe human (Scooter). She is the educational technology specialist at a private girl’s high school and the owner of Pics+Paws Photography.
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