Milk sharing is the most self-less act a mother can do. Milk sharing is the donation and sharing of breast milk between mothers who have, and mothers who do not. The following is my story.
Anabelle was born at 41 weeks, and she was absolutely perfect in every way. I had always known that I would breastfeed my children, because my mother breastfed me and my sister. It’s what was just natural to me. I thought for sure that after my fertility battle, that it would be smooth sailing from then on after I got pregnant. Boy was I in for another shock!!
I’m a firm believer that God chooses certain people to be set forth on certain paths and this was my path. At just over a week old, Anabelle was hospitalized for failure to thrive, she had lost over 10% of her birth weight, dropping to under 5lbs. I worked with lactation consultants and pumped every two hours around the clock. We found out that my body was not producing the normal amount of milk that a mother should at one week postpartum. I was producing an ounce every two hours and was struggling to give Anabelle just a two ounce feeding every two and a half hours. During that five day stay, I also developed mastitis, that is a special pain that I hope to never endure again!
Anabelle started on formula, and I was determined to continue to work on my milk supply. I cried every time I fed Anabelle formula, she didn’t like it, she became fussy, gassy and constipated. I called my Doula crying asking what could I do, why wasn’t pumping and herbs working!! She told me about another option and my heart jumped and I had thought that things would be easier if it were the old days and other women would actually nurse my baby, or if I could have a wet nurse. Dani told me about milksharing and I said yes, I’ll do it, I can’t watch my baby be so unhappy anymore.
She showed up at my door within two hours with 40 ounces of milk from our first donor. I was utterly amazed and eternally grateful. At that time, I didn’t know that this would be a permanent part of our lives. I continued pumping, taking supplements and was even prescribed medication. I was prescribed Reglan, which has a terrible (but rare) side effect of extreme anxiety and depression. I had an anxiety attack one day at work and had to leave. I discontinued the medication and gave up hope of producing enough of my own milk to feed my child. I had immense guilt, what kind of mother can’t provide the most natural thing for her child. I felt that I had failed my baby and that I was not a good mother.
A few months later, I tried another medication, Domperidone. It was too late in the game for this medication to work for me, but I finally had peace of mind knowing that in 9 months time, I had truly tried everything to produce my own milk and feed my child.
In the last ten months, we have been touched by the most amazing generous women I have ever come into contact with. Women who have fed my child when I couldn’t do it myself. Women who love children so much pumped their milk to feed my baby. I am forever indebted to these women for the gift they have given me and my daughter.
I ask that you now pass my story on so that others may know about milk sharing. It’s a long hard road wondering where your next donation of milk will come from and the farther the word spreads about milk sharing, maybe the road traveled by us moms who use donor milk won’t have to be so rough in the future.
World Milksharing Week: http://www.worldmilksharingweek.org/
Share your breastmilk/request breastmilk: Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB)