My Experience, Storage, Process, and Awareness
Hear from NYMB milk donor Shradha about her experience donating her surplus milk to NYMB.
I am a mom of an 18-month boy currently living in the USA. I am a Native Indian. Breastmilk donation is not common in our culture and many people do not have knowledge about it. But it is an emerging concept and it has been initiated in some cities across India. Thanks to milk banks!
I really did not know about milk donation until my little guy (Eren) was born. Eren was admitted into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU after he was born. I had a fever during my induction, labor, and delivery process, which lasted for 32 hours. I started pumping immediately to initiate my milk supply; meanwhile, Eren was given formula for two days. On the 3rd day, I was able to express the first form of milk called colostrum, which I was able to provide to Eren who was still in the NICU. Colostrum is a thick, sticky substance that helps coat a baby’s digestive tract with nutrients that help the baby’s immune system. My little one recovered and we took him home with happy faces.
Breastfeeding was challenging for me as well as for my little one, as we were both learning and finding our rhythm. As the days passed, my milk supply increased and was more than sufficient for my baby.
A few days later, I became sick; I had a fever and tender and painful breasts. It was painful as hell, regardless of how often I breastfed Eren. Hats off to all Moms out there, breastfeeding is not easy, it is a labor of love.
At the time, I was not aware of the fact that we have to continuously express milk from the breast. My doctor suggested I empty my breasts to reduce the discomfort of tender and painful breasts.
For one night-time feeding, I pumped milk so my husband could feed our baby and I could get some rest. I continued breastfeeding and pumping for over a month. I learned that I can save 6-8 oz per day. Not wanting to waste my precious milk, my “LIQUID GOLD”, I started storing and freezing milk for future use.
Do you know that breast milk can be stored in the freezer for your baby’s future use? When Eren was four months old, we were planning to visit India and thus the stored milk won’t get used. Then how to make use of this nutritious liquid?
While surfing through the process of pumping and storing the milk, I came to know about milk donation. I found out that there are many for-profit and non-profit milk banks in the USA.
After consulting with my husband, we selected a non-profit, The New York Milk Bank (NYMB), and contacted them. They collect milk from carefully screened donors, pasteurize it, and distribute it to infants in New York State and the surrounding area.