Saturday, July 26, 2014

Guest Post: Milk Sharing and Helping Another Meet Her Goal: A Breastfeeding Carnival Post Day 9

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about how you have helped another mom reach her breastfeeding goals. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

This post is on milk sharing.  I have been blessed and cursed with oversupply with each of my children.  With Monkey, I donated my excess to a Prolacta Milk Bank.  When I had Kangaroo I looked in to other options as well because we didn't have a local collection for the big milk bank and I didn't feel quite right about Prolacta that time around.  I learned about mother-to-mother milk sharing.  Because I am a LLL leader and my thoughts are a little different than LLL due to the fact that I'm on medications which aren't allowed through any milk bank I've been able to find (but are all class A or B and necessary for me to live because I have horrible asthma) I feel the need to share LLL's official policy on milk sharing.  Here are some other thoughts by LLL on milk sharing.  I am unable to find the resource right now (if you know where to find it so I can link it please comment!) but in the order of WHO's recommendations for milk for infants it is milk from baby's mother from the breast, pumped milk from baby's mother, milk from another breastfeeding mother, then formula.  I learned about this and was recommended to Human Milk for Human Babies and Eats on Feets.  I was able to find a couple moms in Utah who I donated Kangaroo's milk to and when we moved I continued donating to a mother in Portland for her little baby boy.  I was connected with Megan locally after Roxy arrived (and another mother in Utah who needed milk for her baby when we were there a couple weeks ago).  Because Megan had such a strong desire and goal to give her daughter only breastmilk I found it fitting that she share her story today.

My name is Megan and I am a 26 year old mother to an 8 year old son and 7 month old daughter. I am interested in many things, one of which is becoming a midwife.

When I was pregnant with my son, I had every intention of breastfeeding. I was eighteen years old but I knew it was the best option for him. But when he was only five days old I rushed him to the emergency room. He was unresponsive to stimulation and wouldn't latch. He spent three days in intensive care. We found that when he nursed he wasn't receiving anything from me. For the next six months I tried everything recommended to me, yet I remained completely dry. Nearly eight years later I was expecting my daughter, and again my goal was to breastfeed, however I knew I needed answers regarding my troubles with my previous breastfeeding journey. I ended up meeting with an IBCLC and learned that I have IGT.

IGT (insufficient glandular tissue) is a condition in which the breasts do not contain enough glandular tissue and therefor not enough glandular cells responsible for milk production. Based on my history regarding my son and the fact that my breasts had not changed at all at any point of my pregnancy with my daughter, I faced the reality that the chances of successfully breastfeeding my daughter were slim. I took what routes I could (Goat's Rue beginning at thirty-six weeks pregnant, Domperidone, lactation cookies and pumping after her birth) but I also acknowledged that I was not going to be able to supply enough (if anything at all).

It wasn't until after I stocked up on formula that I learned about milk-sharing. I'll admit that at first I was skeptical, and, quite frankly, a bit disgusted. But as is my nature, I didn't shun the idea immediately. Instead, I did a lot of research. My research won me over, and I was on the hunt for donor milk.

I picked up my first donation the day before I ended up delivering my daughter (perfect timing!) and received several one time donations thereafter as well as a couple of donations from a woman I befriended via the private Facebook group for the birth-center I had my daughter at.

My personal breastmilk production ceased at about eight weeks. I could no longer afford the herbs and medications and I was making a maximum of one ounce in a twenty-four hour timeframe. I feared the women who were donating to me would think I wasn't trying hard enough and would therefor not want to donate to me. Not only was I wrong, but I found two long-term donors in my quest to keep my daughter on breastmilk only. One of these donors is Ashley.

Not only is she my daughter's milk donor, but I consider her my friend. We talk about various things completely unrelated to children at all and she's helped me when I was incredibly sick and unable to pick up milk from her by bringing the milk to me and bringing me a care-box.

At the time of this writing my daughter is a little over seven months old and has still only ever touched breastmilk. She's thriving, she's happy, she's incredibly healthy. She is proof that donor milk is beneficial when a mother, for whatever reason, cannot provide breastmilk themselves. And Ashley is proof that when you have an overproduction, whether naturally or by working for it, you can help somebody else out. The gift of liquid gold is one that even when our journey ends, the gift will continue giving, and we will forever be grateful.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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