Our Stories

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Karissa P

Milk Donor

"Thank you NYMB for making it possible to help fellow NICU babies and for providing mothers with another option to feed their babies."

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Ann Marie

Milk Donor Recipient

"We are so grateful to the milk bank and all of the mothers who have donated. You literally saved his life and Linus wouldn’t be where he is today without you!"

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Elizabeth A

Milk Donor

"Both of my boys were NICU babies and while I was lucky enough to produce milk for them, I know not every mother can. I love that I am able to give those moms that option when so many things are out of their control."

When I had my first son prematurely, I learned that many NICU moms struggle with producing enough breastmilk. Then, as he grew bigger, I was grateful to have enough supply for him but not enough to donate officially!

After a second trimester loss a few years later, The New York Milk Bank gratefully accepted the few ounces I pumped in the early days of grieving when my milk unexpectedly came in. I think it was around 50oz; they usually ask for a minimum of 200oz but waive that for bereaved mamas.

When our newest son was born (surprising our medical team and us by being nearly full-term and healthy!) early this spring, the lactation consultant recommended I pump one extra time per day just to make sure I was a little ahead of his needs (especially when he was a tiny new newborn). I’ve been lucky that things are going well, so I decided there’s no better use for the milk I’ve stored than to donate it to the milk bank again! In light of the formula shortage, I’m glad to do what little I can. But it also feels meaningful to connect the recent healthy birth of my newborn son to my history of loss and memories of looking at my firstborn in his incubator, hoping that my milk would help him grow enough to be healthy. I hope that this donation helps bring another parent, standing where I once stood, the ability to hope that their baby will grow and thrive one day, too.

-Ashley


"It's a privilege for me to be able to donate milk and to be a help. Just knowing that I’ll be giving to others and being a helping hand in their growth and health, fills me with joy. Knowing the benefits my baby has received from being 100% breastfeed and knowing I'm producing triple the amount of milk, the least I can do is pass those benefits forward to other babies. It's our first time donating and it definitely will not be the last."

-NYMB Donor


"Despite some challenges along the way, breastfeeding has been a wonderfully nurturing, nourishing, and bonding experience for me and my now 11-month old daughter Fiona. I feel incredibly lucky to have had a healthy full-term baby, to have been able to establish a strong breastfeeding relationship, and to have an ample milk supply that should allow her to keep nursing and receiving expressed breastmilk to 12 months and as long after as we both want. Especially during this pandemic – when opportunities to connect and help others can be limited, and pregnant women and new mothers face even greater challenges than usual – I so appreciate New York Milk Bank making it possible for me and Fiona to give back to our community and share the benefits of breastmilk with the babies who need it most."

-Elspeth, H


"God gives us blessings to share. I receive the blessing of producing extra breastmilk and I considered important to share with all those babies and moms that need it. If my baby would have needed breastmilk, I would wish someone would have done the same to help him."

-Sharon R


"Having seen how much my little one has thrived from the benefits of breastmilk, it makes me so happy to be able to share my surplus of milk to other babies who may be in need. I hope with each warm bottle of breastmilk, along with the love and care each NICU baby receives from their parents, doctors and nurses, will give that baby just a little bit more of a fighting chance. Thank you NY Milk Bank for all the help and support! This is our first donation and we hope to share more in the future!" 

-Lucy F


"As a mother of a baby born prematurely, donating milk is very important to me. During Logan’s earliest days in the NICU, he received donor milk until I was able to provide him with my own. I always knew that if I were lucky enough to build up a supply myself, I would pay it forward to other babies in need."

-Margaret R


"I’ve heard about the NYMB from another mom in my home board on WTE app. I’ve originally built a 250oz milk bank for my son, since I planned to travel for work. Then COVID-19 happened right when I got back from my maternity leave, and I was looking to donate the milk but wasn’t sure how. NYMB were very clear about the process and I was really happy to donate instead of letting it go bad. This experience motivated me to share this option with other mothers, I got so many positive feedbacks from everyone that I decided to do this again if I’ll have the option with the next baby. I feel really blessed for being able to feed my son and donate to other babies. This breastfeeding journey had a difficult starting point but everything was worth it. Thank you NYMB!"

-Keren M


"Milk donation is important to me because I like to help people whenever possible. I used to donate blood every 8 weeks before pregnancy, so this is just a different way to donate to those in need. NICU babies are so vulnerable, it’s nice for parents to have a choice between breast milk and formula."

-Rebecca S


"My daughter Ruth spent two days in the NICU as a brand new infant due to jaundice. Thankfully with time and lots of breast milk, Ruth is now a happy and healthy 5-month-old who is on track with growth and milestones. We now choose to share our excess breast milk for the health of NICU babies and their families. I love that I can teach my daughter the value of community at such a young age. I love that I will get to tell her ‘you helped tiny babies when you were only 5 months old!’ It’s my gift to my baby and our gift to NICU babies and their families."

-Candace M


"I never really knew about milk donation until my little guy (Tobias) was born. When he was born, he was very sick and was rushed into the NICU. Knowing he needed anything to help him get better, I started pumping immediately. Once I started pumping and my supply grew, the nurses and lactation consultants in the NICU told me about The New York Milk Bank. I knew after our NICU experience that I wanted to help out other new and sick babies anyway I could, and with an oversupply, milk donation would be a wonderful way. Pumping anywhere from 2 to 7 times a day, our kitchen and deep freezers were turned into milk storage (we didn’t have frozen food in the house for well over a year!).  In the course of over a year, Tobias and I donated about 7500 oz. to The New York Milk Bank, with our drop-off being Sister’s Hospital (where he was born and stayed in the NICU for 2 weeks). Without the support of the lactation staff there, I would have never made it as far as I did. We just finished our breastfeeding journey at 28 months, and one of the things I’m the most proud of is how many families we were able to help along the way." 

-Emily A


"As a new mom with NICU nursing experience, I felt privileged and honored to become a Milk Donor. I learned about The New York Milk Bank when the hospital I work for became a milk bank depot. At first, the thought of feeding a baby milk from someone other than its mother sounded bizarre. But once I was educated on the safety measures NYMB takes to ensure that the milk can be consumed safely, it was apparent to me that milk banking created a lifeline to the fragile babies I was caring for. I witnessed firsthand the benefits donor milk had over formula.  Studies have shown that preemies who receive formula grow at faster rates, but are at twice the risk of developing a serious intestinal disease. Knowing the benefits of breast milk, I was determined to exclusively breastfeed my son, Derek. After working really hard to build my supply, we later learned that he had a cow’s milk protein allergy which meant I had to change my diet to non-dairy in order for him to tolerate my milk. Heartbroken, I feared that I would have to get rid of my stash. That was when I contacted NYMB and learned that Derek and I would be able to help so many vulnerable babies by donating.  Knowing that Derek and I are able to help other babies in need of breast milk gives me a renewed sense of accomplishment. I understand how difficult and disheartening it can be for women who are unable to nurse, especially new mothers, and I hope this lets them know that they’re not alone. Motherhood is a community, and one that I am happy to be a part of."

-Marjorie P


"On May 31st, 2019, we welcomed Denver, who joined his big brother, Hudson, to complete our family. He was immediately and notably jaundiced, so I began collecting milk in a Haaka from day 1 to help top him off. Ounce by ounce, I collected leaking milk every single day while I nursed Denver. Before I knew it, my little stash grew to hundreds upon hundreds of ounces. I planned to save my stash to go back to work full time in March, but when COVID hit, my silver lining was to be blessed with more time with my baby. But what to do with my stash? I knew I wanted to help other moms give their babies the gift of breast milk. I previously heard of NY Milk Bank when a friend of mine was raising money to support the cause, so that was my first stop. While getting tested during the peak of COVID wasn’t easy, the NY Milk Bank tried to make it as easy as possible and my doctor kept me safe. Before I knew it, Denver turned one and helped me pack up nearly 1K ounces to donate! It was somehow bittersweet, but I’m so glad that I was able to donate!"

-Sara A

"I want to share my story because unfortunately pregnancy loss, stillborn, or infant loss is more common than we think. A bereaved mother is a tough position to be in but doing something in honor of the precious angel we gained is the best way to heal. Donating my daughter’s breastmilk helped me by knowing that she’s possibly saving another’s baby’s life; even if she isn’t here physically, she’s still a hero! On September 1st 2017 I gave birth to my babygirl April Naomi who unfortunately was a stillborn baby and for as distraught as I was, I wanted my daughter’s name to be honored and what better way to do it than donating her breastmilk to babies in need! I was producing a lot of milk and didn’t want it to go to waste. I was in so much pain emotionally since I lost my first baby but I  came across NYMB and they were amazing and supportive in my grieving process. It was a great honor and privilege for me to be able to donate over 2,000 ounces of breastmilk in my daughter’s name. It was also an awesome experience to be able to represent the New York Milk Bank as the first donor in Jamaica Hospital. My daughter may not be here physically with us but her legacy helped babies in need!"

-Conny S


"In the fall of 2018, I was fortunate enough to become a donor for The New York Milk Bank. At the time the decision was simple; I had milk that I could share and I wanted to donate it. In retrospect, I have realized that being a donor was a vital part of how I learned to parent my son.

I first found out about The New York Milk Bank through the hospital where I delivered my son. I distinctly remember having a final conversation with my midwife before being discharged. She asked if there was anything else she could help me with. I asked if she knew of anywhere I could donate my milk. She gave me a worried look falling somewhere between sympathy and concern. Politely, she reminded me that I had barely begun the third trimester, she was uncertain if my body would produce milk. She didn’t want me to get my hopes up. My son had just died. There was no hope, for anything. But I knew there would be milk.

Despite her caution she was able to look up the information for me, and I left the hospital with a piece of paper containing the information for The New York Milk Bank. It was mixed in with dozens of other pamphlets for bereaved parents, and it was the only piece of paper in the stack that I would look at for several weeks. The next morning I woke up, and I pumped. Four hours later, I pumped again. And again, and again. In those early days and weeks amidst the most devastating grief, I pumped. And my milk came in.

My first phone call with The New York Milk Bank was awkward, of course. It always is when you tell someone your baby died. But after the initial shocked condolences, each interaction with them left me feeling appreciated and respected. My contact at the milk bank was one of the very first people who treated my son like an actual person. She immediately began referring to my milk as Richard’s milk, because after all, it was. It made my heart swell with pride just to hear someone speak his name. He and I were doing something, together.

A few weeks after being approved as a donor I had over 300 ounces of milk and was ready to make my first donation. A few weeks after that, I had 200 more. Each time I labeled a bag with a date, name, and number of ounces I grew a little more as a mom. Milk. Love. Something I took so much pride in being able to give to my daughter, I was now also able to give in honor of my son.

Being my daughter’s mother has always come easily to me. Being my son’s mom has been much more of a challenge. I didn’t know how to parent a child that I did not have the privilege of raising. I had no idea what that world looked like, and sometimes I still don’t. But after my son died, donating his milk was the first thing I was certain of. As my world came crashing down, it was the only thing that made sense.

Although I didn’t fully realize it at the time, donating Richard’s milk helped me take those first frightening baby steps into living a life after his death. It showed me that the love I am able to give my son will always look different than the love I am able to give my daughter, but it will never be second best. And it taught me an early lesson in how to parent and love my son. I will always look back on being a donor as a bright spot during a time of chaos, and I will always be grateful that my love had somewhere to go."

-Nikki K

"We are a gay family, Aspen has two dads. He was born 5 weeks premature back in October 2020. We researched a lot of options and The New York Milk Bank was not only the closest but we’re willing to help us out with our insurance as the cost of breast milk can be challenging. The experience has been nothing but great I would encourage anyone who can donate to donate and provide the gift of breast milk to children who need it for development and have no other option like Danny and me."

-Ricky and Danny


"As a carrier of a BRCA mutation, I chose to have a preventative mastectomy to reduce my breast cancer risk and couldn’t breast feed my son. The New York Milk Bank made the impossible possible – my son has been fed breast milk for the first year of his life and I like to think he’s drawn his incredible strength from all of the amazing women who donate to The New York Milk Bank. We can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve all done for our family."

-Gilks Family


There’s something surreal about the calm moments spent feeding a young babe- getting to know one another and taking time to let all the newness sink in. Wrapped up in careful preparations and excitement, it’s easy to build expectations about how those moments will play out.

My husband and I knew prior to having children that I would not be able to breast-feed. Having had a double mastectomy, it just isn’t in the cards. We did our research and found an option that worked beautifully for our son. Naturally, we assumed that this would be the best route for our new addition. This turned out to be an expectation that needed some adjusting.

Elowyn Autumn arrived in late July and soon thereafter, we received news that would lead us to The New York Milk Bank. Elowyn has cystic fibrosis. In her case, this means that her body has a difficult time breaking down what she ingests to absorb the nutrients she needs to grow and thrive. Her father and I, in collaboration with her team of doctors, sought to find the way in which Elowyn would receive the best nutrition she can whilst putting the least strain on her digestive system. The solution was clear- Breast Milk. Not only would she be able to more readily absorb what she needs, but she would also receive the incredible protective properties that breast milk has to offer. Her team nutritionist and social worker directed us towards The New York Milk Bank and we received a warm welcome.

It’s not often that you call an establishment these days and get to speak to a live person let alone a person that bears with your thirty minutes worth of very specific questions. Any reservations I had prior to beginning this chapter were put to ease after that very first call and even more so with the next. From their organized and timely responses to their patience for busy background noise and five dropped calls, their actions speak volumes about patients and families being the utmost priority. Elowyn was set up to receive milk almost immediately and it has been an absolute blessing. She is a happy healthy babe who radiates joy within our household.

We feel a great deal of gratitude for the kind-hearted women who are going out of their way to make this a possibility and cannot thank the wonderful individuals at The New York Milk Bank who work to bridge those mothers with families like ours. Thank you for all that you do."

-Sullivan Family

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