Milk Sharing: a generous gift

In an effort to demystify milk sharing, for the next few weeks we will be sharing stories from breastfeeding moms who either donated their excess breastmilk or supplemented their baby with someone else’s milk.  For more information about milk sharing, both informal and through milk banks, please visit our article: Supplement Options: Donor Milk, Milk Banks, and Formula, as well as our Boob Group podcast episode, Low Milk Supply: Donor Milk, Milk Banks, and Formula.

 

Today on the San Diego Breastfeeding Center blog, I am honored to share Elizabeth Pasimio's story about supplementing with donor breastmilk.  If  you would like to submit your story to be shared with our readers, please email me at robinkaplan@sdbfc.com.  Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for sharing your powerful story with us!

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I tried everything under the sun to give my baby my breastmilk.  

 

I tried to nurse him at first and when that didn't work out, I exclusively pumped for him.  There were three main issues we were struggling with:  my baby had a weak suck, I had a very slow let down, and a low milk supply.  Later, I found out that I have IGT (Insufficient Glandular Tissue), which means my breasts never developed the appropriate amount of milk-producing tissue.  It was both devastating and relieving to find out there was an actual medical reason for my difficulties.  

 

I had to start supplementing when my baby was 2 months old, so I chose to use formula and with a small amount of milk that a close friend pumped for me.  I did not want to vaccinate and understood the benefits of breastmilk so I desperately wanted to find a way to keep giving breastmilk to my baby.  I saw an offer for milk on a local mama-centered Facebook page and I contacted the mama.  I was terrified at the thought of the risks involved in trusting someone enough to give their milk to my precious baby.  On the other hand, I was also elated at the thought of being able to give my baby the benefits of breastmilk, so, ultimately, I decided to take the donation.  My baby did very well with the milk and so we continued to receive milk donations.  

 

Since I made the decision to use donor milk, donations have come from mamas who are close friends, friends of friends, members of Facebook mama groups, and other mamas who posted donations on sites such as Eats on Feets and Human Milk for Human Babies.  There have been about 45 generous mamas who have donated milk to us.  We are so incredibly grateful for the labor of love in producing the milk, pumping it, storing it and then giving it to us.  I believe that each mama is making this precious milk with all of the loving intentions they have for their own babies and so it is an amazing gift for my baby to receive.  

 

It has meant the world to me to be able to give my baby breastmilk, even though it’s not coming from me.  Not being able to breastfeed was one of the most traumatizing experiences of my life, but being the recipient of milk donations has been one of the most miraculous ones.  I am so humbled by the generosity and selflessness of the donor moms.  Thanks to them, my baby is now a thriving 10 month old.