On June 30, 2017, I got the opportunity to tour Mother's Milk Bank in San Jose, CA. It was such a heartwarming experience. When Olivia passed away, I was producing a good amount of milk. I'm really a cow when it comes to producing milk. I breastfed all my kids. David, my oldest son, never saw a bottle and was breastfed till he was 15 months old! So for me, my milk came in fairly quickly but trying to stop was a bit painful. Once I knew we were going to let our princess go, I stopped pumping, yet my milk kept producing. The hugs I received from family at that time were actually filled with discomfort. I wanted to just be able to hug my loved ones and process what was happening but I couldn't since I had to deal with breast milk and the reminder that I would never be able to give it to my baby. It wasn't until a lactation nurse came to visit me and asked if I would like to donate my milk that I was able to take this heartache and turn into a purpose. When Olivia died, a NICU nurse told me that they get donated breastmilk for their preemies. She said some babies can not take formula and need breastmilk to survive. This statement alone gave me a reason to give. My baby didn't make out of the NICU but I had the opportunity to help precious babies graduate from the NICU and to go home to their families. The thought of giving to preemies brought me a little peace to my upside down world. Pumping milk is no easy task. You have to pump every 3 hours and that machine just sucks your milk out for a good 30 mins. It can take a toll on you, but the benefits to you and your child outweighs your restless nights and discomfort. When you research the benefits, you will find babies who are breastfed are overall healthier. You will also find a number of benefits such as weight loss and reduced risk of cancer. Honestly though, the bond you create with your newborn while breastfeeding gives you an unexplainable joy despite how tired or sleepy you are. That alone is worth it. Mother's Milk Bank made it so easy to donate. They have a wonderful staff and care just as much about you as they do about your donation. Before I even went to tour, the correspondences from the staff were filled with compassion and it was so touching that they made sure you knew they were there to support you.. When you decide to donate, they will provide you paperwork and labwork. Of course they will need to screen you to make sure you are healthy and able to give. They send you milk bags while you your application is processing. Once I received the green light, they sent me a cooler and instructions on how to pack my milk. I didn't even have to step out of my house, they pick up your cooler from your front door. It was an emotional day when I took all my frozen milk out of my freezer and placed them in a cooler. My 6 weeks of waking up every 3 hours came to an end. My amazing, supportive husband no longer had to wake up a few times during the night to set up my pump, clean bottles, transfer milk into milk bags and write my name and date on them. I don't know many husbands who would do that while still having to go to work the next day. Ramsey contributed just as much as I did when it came to donating. He is such an exceptional man, he really is. Once I had jam packed my milk in the cooler, I added a photo of Olivia with a note: "Precious Babies, The breastmilk my princess Olivia was not able to receive, I give to you, along with a prayer that you graduate from the NICU and go home a happy healthy baby. With ❤ love, Olivia's mommy" That day, I gave preemies a fighting chance to survive, to grow and to come out of the NICU to be able experience life with all those that love them. On a side note, I gave 300oz of milk to Mother's Milk Bank and it only takes 1/2oz to feed a preemie. For my fellow mamas who would like to donate, please do. The people at Mother's Milk Bank in San Jose are both diligent and passionate in what they do. They are the only milk bank in California and they service a number of hospitals in the west coast. While I was touring the facility, I was told they had just moved there and was actually running the non-profit out of a 1,000sf trailer for a long time. That showed me that they put a lot of their funds into what is more important, getting breast milk into the mouths of babies in need. I commend the staff for everything they do. I don't think they realize how much of an impact they made on my life and for that I am so grateful. My hope is to bring an awareness to breastfeeding mothers out there, that the liquid gold they produce can help save babies. Not everyone can produce milk (and that is ok) but for those that can, use that to bless NICU babies and babies in need.
Check out our tour below
Check out Mother's Milk Bank link.
Ready to donate? Come to the Milk Drive on Thursday, July 20, see flyer below.
If you would like to help us raise funds for Mother's Milk Bank, please check back as we are in the works to do so through a 5k run.