When she was just a few weeks old and I was slightly more emotional than normal, having just given birth. I was up late feeding her and watching the TV. Some doctor show came on and in the course of the story, a premature baby died. Being a new mom, this seemed like the saddest thing in the world and all I could think was that if I could help a little, tiny, helpless infant, I would.
Now, some mother’s are very successful breastfeeding. Great for those of you that are. My little one and I did not fare so well and I ended up pumping exclusively. As time went on, it was clear that I made far more milk than my baby girl needed. I had heard that breast milk was something that could be donated and thought I might like to donate my extras, but first, I wanted to know more. I called a mother’s milk bank and this is what I learned.
*85-90% of all donated breastmilk goes to babies in the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) who were born prematurely. Often time, these premature babies were delivered so early that the mother’s body was not able to produce breast milk to feed their own child.
*Babies born prematurely have very sensitive intenstines and formula can eat away at their insides. This can be fatal
Ok, so I learned more than just that, but those were the things that stuck out and made a difference. I thought that if I had the ability to make extra milk and if this milk could literally mean life or death for a new baby, I couldn’t think of a reason NOT to donate.
And bottom line, being a mom, I just could not imagine the feeling of watching my own little girl, writhing in pain in the hospital, all because she didn’t have breastmilk.
Is pumping a pain? Kind of. Some times. ALWAYS. But, for me, it is worth it.