When I got pregnant with my first child there was never any question in my mind I would breastfeed. When he was born, I helped him latch and despite my milk not coming in for 5 days, and others telling me I should just supplement with formula, I persisted. My milk did come in, and my sweet boy enjoyed as much mommy milk as he wanted until the day he self weaned.
When I got pregnant with my second child, I already had all the know-how, and my understanding of the importance in breastfeeding was even greater. She was born, placed on my belly, and she literally inched up and latched on and basically stayed there for the next 4 years. I am now breastfeeding my third and final baby of my own. I will allow her to continue as long as she would like, just as I did with her brother and sister.
I love breastfeeding my children. I love being able to offer them the most amazing and wonderfully perfect food in the whole world. I believe it's something so right and so special that if a mother is not able to provide it for their child they shouldn't have to settle for processed powder in a can even if they are engineered to mimic the perfect infant food, breast milk.
When I was pregnant with my third child, still breastfeeding my second child. A friend of mine, also pregnant, became very ill. Ultimately, her daughter was delivered months early, and tragically my friend passed. Due to the fact I was lactating, I thought I'd be able to help supply her with milk, but given I was just about to give birth I was unable to do so, and then I got to wondering how safe it would be. It was then I realized that babies born to into the world like this, or other situations need milk, but they need safe milk. How I wondered would they get it?
It was right around the same time I had met Adrianne in a moms group. She had mentioned milk banking, a co-op, a place where the milk was respected on all sides of the story (donation, processing, banking, and delivery to precious babies). It was still in the talking stages, but I was drawn in! I picked hers, and others brains as much as I could. I learned the unique way this co-op was to function, and the moment it launched I was in. How could I not be!? The perfect food being provided in a safe way to babies while respecting the mothers who put time and care into donation. GENIUS!
I wish my ability to donate matched my heart though, because it has not been an easy road.
Since the birth of my last child I've had issues with supply leaving me to only be able to collect little bits of milk at a time for donation, Mastitis and clogged ducts countless times which caused me to take breaks, many, many breaks from pumping to heal, and then more recently, a refrigerator breaking and more than 100oz of milk going bad before I realized what had happened. You can imagine my devastation. Here I've already nursed 2 babies, I'm still nursing my littlest, my heart so set on being part of making changes in the world and helping little babies get the precious milk they so need and deserve, and all my hard work now gone.
I. Was. Devastated!
But then something amazing, something so unheard of, so generous happened. Something that made me realize it wasn't all for not. Something that helped me see that while I may have trouble, I'm just part of the bigger picture. I'm a piece to the puzzle like the rest of the moms working so hard to donate also. We are all working for the same team and toward the same goal. Another mom, another donor in the MMC read my post on Facebook. She recognized my hurt and wanted to help do something to make things right. She realized too the bigger picture, the pride that all of us have in being able to donate, and she so generously offered to donate on my behalf. When I heard this I was speechless, and I cried. I am, no, we all are part of something amazing here!
We might all be individuals, but we are working together collectively to change the way babies are fed. I'm so proud and honored to be part of something so amazing, with so many amazing mothers!