My oldest of four children was born in 2006, and I was not able to breastfeed him past 5 weeks old. My goal was one year, but we didn't make that goal. I did not have a good support system in place. When my son was three weeks old my mom had her first heart attack, and when he was five weeks old I had heart surgery. So I had the cards stacked against me as far as making breastfeeding work. Looking back on it, I wish I had done more to make it work for us both.
When my son was born, I had never heard of a milk bank, or milk sharing. If I had, I would of had him on donor milk, since we went though more formulas than I can count before we found one that worked for him.
When baby number two came along I was determined to make breastfeeding work. And I did! My daughter self weaned at 16 months old. I also donated about 400 oz of breast milk to a friend of mine who was unable to exclusively breastfeed her children at that time.
Baby number three was weaned around 22 months because I was pregnant with my fourth. While I was nursing her, I donated about 60 oz to a momma through Eats on Feets.
My fourth born is now 6 months old and going strong. He was an emergency C-section - the first C-section of all four of my babies – which was a whole new experience for me. Also, when I got home from the hospital with him, I knew I was going to have kidney surgery in a few months and would need milk for him. So I started pumping the day I got home. I wanted to be prepared if my surgery made it difficult or impossible to nurse for any period of time. When he was three months old, I had my surgery and I had 300 oz stored in my freezer ready and waiting for him if he needed it.
When I came home from my surgery I donated that 300oz to a momma through Eats on Feets that was local to me. After that donation I wasn't sure I wanted to keep pumping, seeing as it takes so much time to pump, and being a mom of four my time is very important and limited.
When my friend Laura told me about the MMC, I didn't think too much about it. But then I started to look into it more and really liked what I read. A milk bank that will give back to its donors and that says more than just “thank you” – that gives moms more then that just that good feeling inside for doing something good for others.
Not only does the MMC pay its donors, but it also makes the milk more affordable for babies who need it. The coop will also will take milk from moms nursing older babies. It's a lot of work to pump milk, and for other milk banks that don't pay their donors or even replace milk bags - which can get it expensive - it's not surprising that there is a shortage of breast milk for babies in need. The MMC is working on closing that gap, by accepting more milk from more women, rewarding them, and making the milk more affordable for babies. It’s a win-win if you ask me. Now I have been telling all mom friends who nurse about the MMC in hopes to get more donors for the milk bank, for them to make a little extra spending money, and to help more babies that need this milk.