By: Michelle Pacheco
My milksharing journey started when my baby was about 5 months old. I had 2 freezers full of breastmilk, and I started to panic because we weren’t using it. I was continuing to add to it, and quickly running out of room. By December I started throwing milk out because someone told me that after 6 months it was no longer good. After that night and tons of guilt I started googling. I posted on a breastfeeding forum that was part of the message boards that I used while I was pregnant. Someone reccomended I donate it to a milk bank. I looked into it and when I found out about the pasteurizing and that they charge $2.00 an ounce I was sickened. I couldn’t believe they would charge so much for something that is FREE, and more importantly who on Earth could afford that? I came across a website called milkshare.com. I read through some posts and realized that this was the only option for me….and my milk.
I saw a post that really touched me, and I contacted the person who wrote it. The mom that I spoke with had just had her second child. Her first baby had milk from over 20 different donors until the age of 2. She knew when she became pregnant with her 2nd child that she would do the same for him. The mom has a deformity of her breasts that wouldn’t allow her to produce milk. She didn’t know about this until after her daughter was born and losing weight. I remember thinking to myself, “Oh my goodness, what if that happened to me? What would I do? Who would help me?” From our first conversation we clicked. A few days later she sent me a cooler. The following day I packed the cooler and as I placed it on the scale at UPS, I felt kind of sad. The bulk of the milk in that cooler was pumped while my daughter was in the NICU. It was a time that was so incredibly difficult for me and for my husband but a time that was also full of memories of our brand-new tiny baby. Each date written on each bag held something special in my heart, Whether it be when they took my baby off of the oxygen or they increased her feeds, or a day where I got to hold her skin to skin for a few hours. So it was a very bittersweet moment. However, I knew in my heart I was doing the right thing. I felt so grateful that I had it to give and that there was someone out there who trusted me enough to give my milk to their precious little baby. I have since stopped pumping…only about a month ago. My daughter is 14 months old, still breastfeeding like a beast, 4-5 times a day…. it took her 4 months to figure it out but once she got it she never looked at a bottle again. I have shared 2,100 oz of frozen breastmilk. I have about 300 oz that I will be sending out next Monday, and that will be end of my 2-freezer stash and my milksharing relationship. However, we plan to still stay in touch.
Milksharing has been so incredibly rewarding. When I see my little girl crawling around, and when I see pictures of Jacob, its amazing to me that my body produced exactly what these 2 beautiful babies needed to get through the first year of life, and the fact that they are healthy thriving toddlers.
Needless to say, I plan on doing it again
World Milksharing Week: http://www.worldmilksharingweek.org/