Until Evan, I had never thought about donating breast milk. Actually, I didn’t even know that it was an option. After spending months at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas in the NICU, I learned that they were using donor milk for some of the babies. I am a firm supporter in “breast is best” and nursed my son, Emerson for a little over twelve months. When I wasn’t nursing I was pumping. Don’t get me wrong nursing and pumping, took me about 15-20 minutes with a hospital grade double pump, was painful (at times), and had to be done on a schedule throughout the day, for months. But, I did it!
When I was pregnant with Evan, there was no hesitating about nursing him. The only problem I had was— I didn’t get to nurse him. He went straight to the NICU due to being born at 24 weeks gestation. My decision to nurse, was now my decision to pump. I had to pump in place of nursing and then take it to the hospital for him. What I pumped for the day, I would take to the hospital (they have special bottles and labels for you to use). When I was home I would just freeze my milk and store it in the deep freezer.
After about four months (maybe five) I finally got a chance to nurse my little one and experience that bonding with him. Those moments didn’t last long for me because Evan passed away after six months.
After coping with his loss, I was left with all of his breast milk. What was I going to do with it? And, could I get rid of it? I mean, breast milk is like liquid gold! I couldn’t just pour it down the drain. I remembered one of the mother’s from the NICU whose baby was receiving donor milk the ladies in the gift shop telling me about the Mother’s Milk Bank. I’ll bet you are wondering, “How did she remember that?” Well, it was months after Evan’s death and you would be surprised at what you will remember when you don’t want to deal with your emotions. 🙂 I went to the internet and looked up the Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. I called and was given all of the information about the donation process. Now, they don’t take milk from everyone (just saying) and there is a screening process to go through that includes paperwork and blood testing. Can you believe that I met all of the requirements and was able to become a donor? The hardest part for me was not going through the screening process, but actually taking my milk (Evan’s milk) out of the freezer in my home to put in a cooler to take to the hospital. In the end, I took it myself to Baylor Hospital to the gift shop area where they sent it to the Milk Bank.
So, if you are going to donate, donate breast milk because there are so many premature babies in dire need of the best nourishment and the best source of antibodies to help build their immune systems in hospitals and homes across the United States. If you know a nursing mom, please share this information to get the word out about becoming a donor for the Mothers’ Milk Bank.
Don’t worry if you don’t live in North Texas—you don’t have to live in Texas to donate. They have locations all over and will send you all of the materials that you need with instructions on shipping. Happy pumping! 🙂
For more information go to: http://www.texasmilkbank.org/