Monday, 13 October 2014

Breastmilk Donation

I just pumped my first 200 ml of milk to donate! I am so happy to become a breastmilk donor for our local NICU. I have about 15 bags of milk that I pumped when Paloma was 2-3 months old and I was looking for a place to donate it when my husband heard on the radio that the NICU had just opened a milk bank. It is being run by a non profit organization in a neighbouring province and I called them to find out how I could become a donor. They asked me a ton of questions over the phone and after I passed the initial screening, they sent me more information and forms through email which I have to fill out and send back along with the results of some blood tests. I'm not looking forward to having my blood drawn, but I figure I've done it so much over the past few years what's one more time for a good cause? 

So this morning, I strapped Paloma into my carrier and walked down to my Doctor's office so he could sign a few forms saying that to the best of his knowledge I am healthy enough to donate milk to premature babies and also give me the lab requisitions for the required blood tests. I like my family Doctor. He was so helpful & supportive over the past few years as we tried to grow our family, even giving me hugs on a few occasions as I left his office in tears . I'll never forget the day he broke the news that we had severe infertility. It was Valentine's day 2012 and he had just received the results of our labs. He pulled his chair up close and told me the numbers. "Is that really bad?" I asked. He and his wife had personally been through numerous IVF cycles before moving on to surrogacy, so he knows his stuff. "You'll need IVF" he said. "So there's no chance we can conceive on our own?" he didn't give me false hope. I could tell it wasn't easy for him to break the news to me and I appreciated his honesty. When I became pregnant, he was genuinely happy for me. Needless to say, I didn't mind visiting my Doctor to get the lab requisitions.

After the Doctor, we stopped at the NICU on our way home (I live a 10 minute walk from the hospital. Let me tell you, I was SO HAPPY to live that close when we were driving there while I was in labour!) I met a few nurses and a nutritionist in the NICU and they were all so excited that I would be donating. They gave me a tote and FILLED it with sterile bottles to collect my milk in. Looking at so many bottles, it's hard to imagine filling so many, but I'm sure it will only take a few months. I wrote before about the challenges we faced in the beginning from my oversupply. Paloma just couldn't handle the forceful flow of my milk when she was a newborn. When she was 2 months old, I finally discovered that if I pumped first thing in the morning, the flow wouldn't be as fast and she wouldn't choke. Along with the milk I already had, I'm also pumping 100 ml a day to donate. I am so glad the NICU is able to take the milk. I couldn't think of a better place for it!

17 comments:

  1. I absolutely love this. What an amazing thing. xoxo

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  2. how wonderful of you. This will make a difference to so many babies!

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    1. I hope so! Especially considering how little newborns eat at a time, there will be enough milk for lots of babies!

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  3. As a premie mom who's babies started out on donor milk, I have to thank you. Though there is still debate about breastmilk, the data is very clear about the benefit to premies. Hence why donor milk is so important.

    Thank you for donating. It truly makes a difference.

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    1. Thank you! I read somewhere that the hospital considers the donor milk as much like medecine as food for preemies. We have a very close friend who delivered her son at 27 weeks so we have a special place in our hearts for the NICU.

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  4. I wanted to say thank you for giving such a special gift and all the other moms who do such an unselfish deed. We all know how time consuming pumping is. I am unable to give enough breast milk to both my girls in the NICU and we have depended on donor milk from day one along with mine.

    So thank you!

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  5. What a great thing for you to do!

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  6. 100ml a day? That's amazing!! What a wonderful thing you are doing.

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  7. Wow, you rock! What an awesome thing to do. I bet karma will treat you kindly for this one :)

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  8. What a wonderful gift, I am so proud of you xo

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  9. Well shucks! Wish you lived closer to me, because I'd totally take your donated breast milk! ha!! Seriously though, good for you. That is really special and must feel great to give back in such a much needed way. You are so awesome. :)

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  10. Love love love this! What lucky babies they will be thanks to you :)

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  11. Wow. Though I never used donor milk, as someone who had babies in the NICU, I really appreciate you doing this. It's amazingly generous.

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  12. Fantastic!!! Those babies immune systems will have a much needed boost!

    I wish we had a place to donate milk when I was nursing. I eventually just used it all mixed in with baby food.

    You rock! :)

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  13. As a mother of former 28 week twins I have to say thank you thank you thank you!! We had to use donated milk while my supply was coming in and I am so happy it was an option! What an amazing gift you are giving to those babies!!! Thanks you so much!!!

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  14. You are amazing, my friend! First of all, I can't imagine having that much milk! I was never able to supply my twins with enough. Second of all, you really are one of the sweetest, most unselfish people I "know."

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  15. You go momma! When we were in the NICU I think I was the only mom not relying on donor milk! You will never meet these families but they will really appreciate it!

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