I am a mother of two beautiful girls. I have a 2 1/2 year old and a little 4 month baby. I became pregnant with my first baby at age 19. My husband and I were thrilled to find out that we would be having a little girl in April of 2012.
We prepped her nursery and made sure we had our hospital bag packed weeks before her due date. We had gone through all of the new parent classes provided at our local hospital and had taken extra breastfeeding courses to prepare me for her first year of breastfeeding. I thought I had it all figured out...
No one prepared me for the heartbreak I later had to face with my daughter at 4 months when I could no longer feed her myself.
My husband and I have been together since junior high. First loves. And we have dreamed of having children ever since. We planned every step of the way through our journey that finally led to the birth of our beautiful baby boy Canon Christopher.
He is everything that we hoped for and more from the moment my husband pulled him out into this world, (yes, lol, he wanted to be able to do as much as possible since most men are left out) to every little giggle and grunt. He is the funniest little baby I have ever met and I’m not just saying that because he is mine. I've taken care of several babies from newborn to preschool age in the past. I have over 5 years experience as a preschool teacher. Still, I have never met a baby so precious and unique.
I knew instantly that I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him and so we decided that I would be a stay at home mom. I needed a way to continue to bring in a little income to make this possible. After researching, I came across MMC. What a blessing! Not just for me, but for the many babies around the world in need. After realizing not only can I provide for my baby, but I can also help other babies…I mean…it was just common sense from there.
I was 2 months postpartum when I read a news story about this “unique milk bank” that paid mothers for their milk. It was just one in a dozen headlines I skimmed as I was browsing the news, but as a lactating mother, I was interested and read the article. My eyes popped when I heard how much money these mothers made selling their milk to Mother’s Milk Coop! I was incredulous and told my husband about it, in a “that’s crazy”, kind of way. But it didn’t take long for the wheels to start turning in my head. “Huh….I could do that…no really, I could….” Until 10 minutes later I was looking at their website and filling out the application. I was so intrigued!
In the winter of 2006 I gave birth to my first child—my 34-week, four-pound little fighter. They lost me twice on the table while doctors tried their hardest to save us. I had been in a coma and felt as though I failed my sweet baby boy.
Breastfeeding was important to me. I grew up hearing the story of my great grandmother’s fight to save her own children. My grandfather was the first, and survived thanks to a farmer's wife who hand-expressed into mason jars. It was 1942, and every hand was needed on the farm, but this woman gave her time to help save my grandfather’s life.
As a little girl, I listened to his story of my aunts and uncles dying, of him as a small boy standing outside of local stores during the Great Depression, watching his mother beg women to nurse her babies in hopes of saving them. Out of seven children, only three survived. If not for the farmer’s wife and that chance encounter outside a feed store, I wouldn’t be here today. And I wouldn’t know until years later what his story and my grandfather’s words would mean to me, and how they would directly affect my life in the coming years.
I have had three children who were unable to nurse therefore I have to pump. My second child was born at 31 weeks and while my first child received only my breast milk until 16 months it was not until my son did I fully realize how important breast milk was. I would hear the neonatologists beg mothers to pump instead of formula because there was so little donor milk available and babies’ stomachs do not handle formula well. My son was able to start on milk 2 days after he was born because he was getting breast milk. Later I would work with the NICU on playing with how to increase my calorie content of the milk to plump him up. I was able to get my son from 2.6lbs to 19 pounds at one year from good fat milk production.
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.
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 had been doing a lot of research on the subject of selling my breast milk. I came across a few sites that seemed promising and I saw women selling their milk for almost $5 per oz!! Fantastic! This is huge! Right? Well, before I made any kind of contact or posted my milk for sale I decided to look more into who actually bought milk. I was not happy with the things I found.