I’m sure that conventionally your first post should be about yourself & your blog, an introduction of sorts. Sorry to disappoint you traditionalists. I am way too excited about what I did last night for all that!
Last night I fed another woman’s baby with my breastmilk. Not with my actual breast, but I donated 50 ounces of expressed breastmilk from my freezer to a woman who needed it. I connected with her through a facebook site called Eats on Feets Texas. I had a freezer full of milk that I had pumped for my own son and never used. She has a baby with GERD and elevated liver enzymes (due to low calorie intake) who she didn’t want to feed formula. It was really a simple process, her husband is a musician and had a gig in the vicinity of where I live. He stopped by last night and picked up the frozen bags of milk from my husband and put them in a cooler full of ice his wife had provided.
Hubby said he was extremely grateful when accepting the milk. I can understand that. I was dead set on breastfeeding. After all, breast is best and we all want the best for our children. I knew the statistics - The most recent CDC data shows that 3 out of every 4 new mothers in the United States now starts out breastfeeding. However, rates of breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months as well as rates of exclusive breastfeeding at 3 and 6 months remain stagnant and low. I also knew it would be hard, could hurt, and I would want to give up. I didn’t know that my milk would take over a week to come in. I didn’t know that my son would lose 11% of his birth weight (getting down to a scary 4lbs, 15oz) and get jaundice. I didn’t know that the hospital would supplement with formula without my permission or knowledge. I didn’t know that at 2 weeks my pediatrician would recommend supplementing with formula because the gnome was still not gaining any weight and still had elevated bilirubin levels.
4 days old, before going to get bili levels checked at the hospital
4lbs, 15oz and very orange
I also didn’t know what a failure this would make me feel like. I am a woman. My body’s purpose is to create and sustain life and my body was failing at this. It was failing me, and worse, it was failing my tiny son. At first, my milk wasn’t enough for him. So after I cried about how life wasn’t fair, I nursed the gnome and then I opened the can of formula the pediatrician’s office sent me home with and I made my son a bottle. And then I pumped. And I pumped. After every feeding I pumped. And slowly I was able to supplement with my own milk and not formula. And slowly he started gaining weight. And I stopped having to supplement. And I kept pumping. I filled up my freezer with 100 ounces of breastmilk. Any woman who’s pumped knows what an accomplishment that is.
I was scared to part with all of it. But I was thrilled to be able to give half of it to a woman & baby who needed it. And yesterday, I also finally threw out that 1/2 a can of formula that has been sitting in my kitchen for two months. I know now that my body just needed a little help. Now not only can I sustain my son, but I helped sustain someone else’s daughter. I am not a failure. I am a mother.
3 months old & all mommy’s milk from 3 weeks on
What do you think about milk sharing? Let me know in the comments section! If you enjoy reading about The Gnome, like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter! While you’re at it… check out our Networked Blogs box in the right sidebar and consider joining through Google Friend Connect, will ya?