Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mother's Milk Bank

If you've seen Colin lately, or even just a picture of him, you've probably noticed that he's not had any trouble eating or gaining weight!  Colin and I have had a happy and surprisingly uncomplicated breastfeeding experience so far.  Our biggest problems were oversupply related, and Colin adjusted like a champ.  While Colin was in NICU, I was unceremoniously introduce to a pump.

Since then, we've been freezing whatever extra milk we have.  The amount has varied, but there's always been extra.  Our freezer started getting fuller and fuller of little milk bags.  I gave up on the 'freeze 2 oz at a time' advice, but we both still realized we had a bit much.

While we talked briefly about getting another freezer, but I couldn't figure out why.  What were we going to do with all of this milk??

I started looking into donating it.  I quickly found that most of the milk banks in my area are for profit.  (The milk is still donated by the mothers, but the processing company is a for profit business).  I can't explain exactly why, but that bothered me.  So I found a nonprofit milk bank instead.  The San Jose Mother's Milk Bank provides milk primarily to hospital NICU's.

The application process was fairly straight forward and after a blood test and confirmation from my doctor and Colin's doctor, we were ready.

I didn't anticipate the emotional aspect of donating.  I've always tried to be a blood donor (low iron and my last few years of health issues have affected that goal) and I've never felt any type of connection or any feelings other than perhaps pride.  Still, as I got ready to donate our milk, I felt anxious and worried.  What if we didn't have enough?  What if... well, there weren't really any other what if's... there were just other slightly anxious thoughts.  Gavin and I spent a lot of time talking about it before I was ready, and as a result, the ice chest sat in our dining room for a while.

Yesterday, I finally got everything ready and packed up.
Notice the calculator... Clearly an engineer was involved in this process. (I also calculated the weight, at the request of FedEx)

There are 206 ounces of milk on their way to help. My mother in law joked that we'll know when they start using it when all of the NICU babies in California are suddenly plump little guys.  What can I say, we grow them big in this family!      

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