But for a few minutes on Monday I felt like I could do no wrong. I felt like $1,000,000. I felt like a superhero, er, well... superheroine.
To say I've been abundantly blessed with an overflowing fountain of... er, well, breast milk, would be an understatement. One of my great fears while pregnant was having an inability to nurse or problems with production and neither of those fears have come true, Praise God! For that I am so very thankful. After experiencing a pretty significant drop in production after a nasty stomach virus last month, I am acutely aware of the fear, anxiety, and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy that can accompany not making enough milk to feed my boy, so my heart goes out to the many friends who have problems with production and supply
Of course, since then, my milk supply is back to "normal" (aka: copious amounts) again which means daily problems with engorgement (Which is fun if you like sleeping on bowling balls or waking up in a puddle each morning). How I've escaped plugged ducts up to this point is totally beyond me.
Far be it from me to withhold an abundance of milk from those who so desperately need it. So yesterday I walked a Sam's size bag of frozen expressed milk to Driscoll Children's Hospital and deposited it in the Milk Bank.
|(there's also a branch/bank in Corpus Christi.)|
Aaaaaaaaaand that always gets a few weird looks. "You're donating breast milk? Don't you think that's...er, well, gross?"
And here's why:
First, I had to go through a MAJOR screening process including a 15 minute screening interview, multi-paged health history, records from my obstetrician and pediatrician, and several vials of blood for testing. Definitely sounds like a lengthy process, but seriously, the milk bank takes care of 98% of it. So it's crazy easy on my end. Secondly, don't people donate blood & plasma all the time? What's the difference, really?
Here are a few facts about donor milk:
- It is thoroughly processed and pasteurized to eliminate bacteria and viruses, making it completely safe for consumption. All those under-the-table websites where women pay other women for their milk IS gross. Hello Hepatitis C.
- Some common reasons for prescribing donor milk include: Preterm birth, Failure to thrive, Malabsorbtion syndromes, Allergies, Feeding/formula intolerance, Immunologic deficiencies, Post-operative nutrition, and Infectious diseases.
- One in 8 babies is born preterm. Breastmilk contains vital antibodies and growth hormones not found in formula which helps these littlebitties grow and be healthy. Its not uncommon for mothers of preemies to have problems with breastfeeding, which is where donated milk steps in.
- Breast milk can prevent NEC (Necrotizing Enterocolitis, a devastating disease that affects the intestinal tract of neonates) and has shown to decrease the incidence from up to 17% of infants (formula fed) to 1.5% of infants (breastmilk fed).
- It's dispensed by prescription only. (find these & lots of other factoids/FAQ's at MilkBank.org.)
Isn't that incredible?? I am so thankful and so pumped (Ha! Punny!) to be able to give to fragile little lives. It just gives me the warm fuzzies. In the back of my mind, there's a little voice that nags me about the possibility that I'll need that milk for Isaac one day, but I hope to donate a few more Sam's sized bags over the next few months. I wasn't even aware that we had a Milk Bank drop-off here in Corpus. I know what you're saying... "Why would you even care to know before having a baby?" Maybe I didn't care, but here's the thing, I didn't know about it until I was already back at work, complaining to our Lactation consultant about engorgement. She encouraged me to donate some of the extra milk. If it took me that long to become aware of what's out there, then there must be TONS of nursing moms who have no clue that banking is a possibility.
But now you know.
But now you know.