I love the bond that is formed between mother and child.
I love the convenience.
I love the cost-effectiveness.
I love the health benefits for both of us.
I love the ease of feeding.
I love that there is no waste.
While I always intended to breastfeed, before having children, I didn’t expect how it would become one of my favorite parts of the baby stage.
Now, I am not in the if you feed your child formula, you are a bad mom camp. In fact, with Elias and Adeline, we began supplementing with formula by the time they were six months old. With working full-time and pumping, my production never seems to keep up and by six months, I simply didn’t have enough milk. (And yes, I have tried everything.)
With Ezra, things are a little different.
He’s seven months and I definitely don’t have enough milk. In fact, my supply is probably the worst it has ever been. Some days I am lucky to pump 2 ounces all day (he needs 9 ounces a day for day care).
But instead of supplementing with formula, we are supplementing with donated breast milk – from my sister, Melissa.
You might remember, our babies are just a month apart. Melissa has never worried about her milk supply. Unlike my two ounces in a day, she gets 15-22 ounces every time she pumps, and she pumps twice a day when she doesn’t work and four times when she does.
She literally has thousands of ounces of milk in her chest freezer – and she has given hundreds of ounces to Ezra. She gave us 80 4-5 ounce bags at the beginning of June. We were down to just a few bags left when we went to Wisconsin last week. She said, “bring an empty cooler and I will give you more milk. She gave us roughly 500 ounces, which will be enough for more than 100 bottles.
I first learned of milk sharing from my friend Sydney, who had hypoplasia/insufficient glandular tissue and couldn’t produce breast milk. She turned to donors when her daughter reacted negatively to formula. (Read her story here.)
While some might think breast milk sharing is weird, I think it is an incredible gift when mothers give of themselves (literally) to help another child in addition to their own. If someone doesn’t have a friend or family member to help them, like I do, several organizations including Human Milk for Human Babies and Eats on Feets can pair donors with families.
For Ezra, he hasn’t seemed to notice a difference between my milk and my sister’s milk. I am so grateful to my sister for all the extra pumping sessions to keep her supply up and ensure she has enough milk for her son and her nephew.
Would you ever consider milk sharing? Have you ever donated milk? Share your story below.