How My Preemie Turned Me Into a Milk Donor
My son, Alexander, was born early at 35 weeks and six days, too early for my milk to come in. I was admitted for an induction, because I developed preeclampsia toward the end of my pregnancy, and I was devastated. After he was born, we were in the hospital for several days so they could monitor my blood pressure, and I was pumping as often as possible, trying to scour up any colostrum I could. My poor baby had such a hard time with formula, and he was hardly eating. What little bit he did take, he would throw up not long after. As a mother, I felt like a failure because the one thing I needed to be able to do for my son, I wasn’t able to. I didn’t know what we were going to do.
Thankfully, on the day we came home from the hospital, my milk had finally come in. Before we knew it, we had an abundance of milk, and we had no idea what to do with it. Our freezer was stuffed, and even after storing enough to feed him while we were working, we still had so much. I began doing some research and discovered Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin, and I immediately knew I wanted to become a donor. I read stories of how it helped so many babies, and I knew it was something I needed to do. Without skipping a beat, I submitted my information to begin the screening process. I was hopeful. If I could become a donor, I knew I’d be able to help another mother and her child in they same situation we were in.
My only worry with becoming a donor was my supply dropping. I was afraid of donating too much and not having enough for my son. I pump frequently, and he nurses constantly when I’m not working. So far, supply hasn’t been an issue for us. Half of the milk I’m producing daily gets donated. Of course I’ve been maintaining our stock as well.
I was hopeful. If I could become a donor, I knew I’d be able to help another mother and her child in they same situation we were in.
I have every intention of donating until my son is one year, because I want to help mothers and babies in need. I learned, firsthand, that not every child is able to drink formula. If my supply would not have come in and he was unable to drink formula, it’s reassuring to know that donor milk is an option. I wish this was something I knew while we were in the hospital, but I was uneducated on the subject. I want to continue donating because when asked what I contribute to the world and my community, I can proudly say that I help maintain life. As a mother, it’s an empowering feeling to know that something I do naturally helps so many families. It would be selfish of me to keep the milk all to myself when I have so much to offer.
It’s strange to think that being a donor benefits, not only the babies that receive the milk, but me as well. I’ve never been more proud of myself for being able to do this for other families. I had never done much to help my community before I became a donor, but after my first donation, I had a feeling of accomplishment. What had I accomplished? Maybe not much to others, but for myself and the families I’m able to help, it’s the biggest accomplishment I can achieve. Just the mere thought of possibly saving someone’s life is amazing. There are no words to describe the pride that you feel. I’m able to help babies, and possibly save a life, by doing something that is so effortless for me, by doing something that is so natural.
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