About a month after Henry was born, our freezer started filling up with frozen milk bricks. Adam and I found ourselves planning meals around what could be eaten to clear more space out of the freezer. First it was our frozen lasagna, enchiladas, and meatballs that we had made prior to Henry’s arrival. Once that space was gone, we had to stop buying frozen treats like ice cream and popsicles. More milk was going in to the freezer each day than was going out to feed Henry for his nightly bottle.
As we noticed our freezer getting more full by the day, I decided to look into breast milk donation. After researching and going through the application and qualification process, I put in my first request for a cooler and freeze packs to be sent to our house.
I was able to donate 255 ounces of breast milk to the Milk for Wishes milk bank in that first donation. I could have donated more (that only opened up space in about half of our freezer) but that’s all that I could fit in the cooler. The milk I donated will be processed and fortified for premature and critically ill babies in NICU wards across the U.S. In addition, $1 for every ounce I donate will be donated to the Make a Wish Foundation.
After making that first donation, I realized how incredibly lucky I am to not only have a milk supply that’s able to support the demands of my child but also an oversupply. Prior to being a mom, I had heard numerous stories of families who ended up buying an additional freezer to store breast milk. But after talking to several close friends who are new moms, I realized that what I had assumed to be the norm just wasn’t so. While I was rearranging my freezer for the umpteenth time to hold just a few more bags, they were doing everything in their power to produce just one more ounce or save up enough to leave the baby with relatives for the day.
Knowing their stories reaffirmed why I was donating my milk. I wasn’t doing it to have a more organized freezer. I was doing it to help those mothers whose supply, for whatever reason, wasn’t meeting the needs of their babies. I was doing it for those babies who are still too fragile to handle unprocessed and unfortified milk. I was doing it for those families whose children are dealing with terminal illnesses.
Since that first donation, our freezer has filled up enough to make two more donations, each of approximately 250 ounces. I have also offered and given some to a few new moms that I know so that some of their stress of feeding their child might be lessened.