Our breast milk donors are special people who give for many reasons. Their stories can be moving and inspiring. We want to share one with you here.
JourneyGrowing up I was exposed to breastfeeding as I have siblings much younger than me. It was always just a natural part of infant/baby life so I never questioned whether I would try it or not. My pregnancy was really, really rough but I was determined to at least try to breastfeed. I had read all about supply issues, clogged ducts, poor latching and sore nipples so I felt pretty prepared for challenges to come my way. When my daughter Hazel was born, we had a slightly traumatic birth so I wasn't able to try to feed her until she was about 24 hours old. I worried this would hurt our journey, but thanks to the wonderful nursing staff at the hospital, I was able to get it going pretty easily. By the time we came home from the hospital, we had a routine and my daughter very quickly became a "booby baby" as we still call her. Without realizing it, I had a large over supply. When I went back to work and had to start pumping, I quickly amassed several hundred ounces and that's when I started looking into donations. I contacted my lactation consultant who helped lead me in the right direction and that's when I found Mothers' Milk Bank of Mississippi. My daughter turned 1 on February 25th and to date, we've been able to donate about 1,200 ounces. I plan to do one more donation of about 500 ounces as we round out our breastfeeding journey and I completely stop pumping. I have been so very blessed in this journey and it has far surpassed my expectations of what I have been able to provide to my daughter and other babies in need. I encourage any mother with an excess of stored milk to donate!
Beautiful ExperienceI had my son, Martin, on June 13th 2019. Martin passed away unexpectedly shortly after he was born. Breastfeeding was something that I was, and still am, so passionate and excited about. So rather than dry my milk up, I decided to pump as much as I could for 6 weeks and donate to Mothers Milk Bank in hopes of helping other mothers and babies along their journey. It was such a beautiful experience. Pumping Martin’s milk helped me to feel like a mother in a situation where my arms felt particularly empty.
I had my daughter in June, and realized pretty quickly that I was going to have a huge oversupply! I spoke with a friend of mine who works in the local NICU, and she referred me to The Mothers Milk Bank of MS. A few days after my daughter turned a month old, I made my first donation of approximately 1500oz! I have donated several more times since then, and the ladies at the women’s hospital that I drop off at have made me feel so good. The last time I donated, the nurse said “We love to hear that you are coming, you have helped so many babies!” You just can’t beat that feeling!
Thank y'all for making this possible for me and for so many other mothers to be able to contribute!
I've donated hair, blood, toys and clothes to orphanages, food, money ... Now, I can add milk to the list.
Right after my son was born, I never thought of donating. The thought emerged when my supply came in strong and I pumped for a little relief and quickly my freezer space began to lessen. I exclusively breastfed my baby and I stayed at home, so I didn't really need to have a stash. That's when I began thinking about what I could do with the extra milk. The fire began to ignite when I thought of giving my milk to babies in need. I started researching places to donate and through a local support group someone recommended the Mothers' Milk Bank of Mississippi. I gave them a call and proceeded with the interview. After approval and receiving my donor number, I was a little disheartened by the closest milk bank drop off. I actually stopped pumping about 4 months in and allowed my supply to regulate.
There were rumors that a drop off site would come to my hometown. A few months later, I was tagged on Facebook in a post about our local hospital having a ribbon cutting for a Mothers' Milk Bank drop off site. The fire was re-lit to donate. Once I completed my blood work at our hospital, I dropped off my first donation of the required 100oz. At this point, I made it my mission to restart pumping to increase my supply for donating purposes specifically. It took about a week and a half of dedication to get my supply back up. I did this all while exclusively nursing on demand. Talk about exhausting, but I DID IT!!!
With pumping once or twice a day, from June to October, I had donated a total of 690oz of my milk; that's a little over 5 gallons of milk! I had a goal of 1000oz, but my baby has been so active it became difficult to get in a pumping session. I still hope to be able to meet that goal when my son decides to wean. If not, I am still proud to know that my milk has helped many babies!
The Gift of Liquid Gold
My name is Samantha Wheat and I am 26 years old. I am blessed with a wonderful husband of 8 years with our three precious children Anna, Elizabeth and Jonathan. We are so honored to be their parents.
I recently gave birth to our third child, Jonathan. I have had the privilege of breastfeeding him and all of our children. However, with Jonathan it has been a different experience. Though my lactation was good with all the kids, I have had a more than abundant supply with Jonathan.
I am a stay-at-home mom now, and I nurse on demand and pump as well. I am producing anywhere from 40 oz. to 60 oz. a day. I started knowing pretty quickly that there was no way he was going to drink all this “liquid gold,” and I thought surely there is a place and use for it. I couldn’t bring myself to think it would go to waste. That’s when I started researching what to do with an extra supply of breast milk. I came across many sources, but I chose the Milk Bank of Flowood. In my search, I wanted to be able to help local babies in need and with a company that does just that.
The Milk Bank of Flowood was the perfect fit for me. They not only have been super helpful but they have been very supportive and excited to take my extra supply of milk. I am honored to be able to share with so many precious babies who need it and to help save their lives. The process was very smooth making it easy to donate my milk. They are so helpful and answer any questions that I’ve had. I am blessed to be able to share this gift that God has given me. So far I have donated 17 gallons, and I plan to continue to donate as long as I am producing.
Thank you Milk Bank of Flowood for all your hard work, and thanks to all the donor mamas for their dedication and hard work making this precious milk better known as liquid gold.
GratefulThis is my second time donating to a milk bank and I'm so grateful to be able to contribute again. I'm a former Labor and Delivery nurse and I know how important breast milk is for babies and also how difficult it can be when your baby is sick and in the NICU. I have loved breastfeeding my 3 boys and I'm so happy to share with babies in need. Thank you to the Mississippi Mother's Milk Bank for all your hard work and your commitment to healthier babies!
Because of Finn Powell — 1200+ ounces
I remember the moment I found out that I lost Finn. Immediately my head swarmed with one million thoughts. Among other things, my thoughts were immediately changed from getting to have a baby sometime within the month, to going to the hospital right away to have our baby. Having given birth before, and being medically educated ... I knew. I knew everything that was about to happen. I knew that regardless of whether I was ready or not, whether Finn was alive or not, my body was about to endure one of the toughest and most dangerous and sacrificial things a woman can do — endure labor, and birth, and delivery, and everything that comes with having a baby. On top of all of this, I also knew that because she was so near term, my body would produce milk.
Breastfeeding, among many other women's health topics, has always been something that I am very passionate about. I ultimately do believe that "fed is best" and however you nourish your baby is wonderful so long as they are fed; but for me, continuing to feed the life I bore with my body was my ultimate goal. Because of my success with feeding Harper as a newborn and into her toddler life, I had a feeling that it would be the same way with Finn. However, now Finn wasn't alive. I would no longer have the chance to feed her, to nourish her, to be blessed to be able to form that special connection with her like I did with Harper. That was all stolen away from me in the instant I found out that she was no longer living.
I refused to let her life be in vain. I couldn't let her life for 35 weeks and 5 days, the way she changed my body, the way my physiology changed for her, go to waste. So somehow, in the immediate midst of deep suffering and darkness, I knew I had to donate. I really didn't know where to donate, or how, or if I even qualified for donation, but I had a peace that if I had the strength to try, then we would find a way to make it happen. I knew this was part of the Lord making beauty from Finn's ashes. I really felt called to do this. I knew that if I could no longer feed Finn – my second baby girl, the beautiful life that I so longed for – that I would choose to feed other babies who needed it. Babies that, because of Finn Powell, because of how she changed me, would hopefully be able to live a long fruitful life ... even though she did not.
So, I set out on a mission. I set a goal of 6 weeks and 1,000 ounces. And for 6 weeks I exclusively pumped nearly every 3 hours throughout the day. Because even though I did not birth a live, screaming, breathing child, I knew my body thought I did, and I was determined to use it for good. In the early days, pumping was the main thing that gave me purpose – to eat, to stay hydrated, to nourish myself so that I could nourish others – even when the thought of what had just happened to us made me a complete sick, nauseous, not hungry, not thirsty, emotional wreck.
As the days went on, and my maternity leave entailed healing myself from a traumatic birth that left me with empty arms, I was grateful to be able to continue to be able to pump. Though I didn't have a baby to rock, and nurse, and cuddle, and bathe, and clothe, and put to sleep ... I felt that because of Finn Powell I had a job to do. Brent and Harper were an integral part of my success while exclusively pumping. Because, if you know anything about breastfeeding, exclusively pumping or otherwise, you know that it is hard work — especially in the first few weeks. It is rough and messy and painful and exhausting … and takes every extra ounce of energy you have to produce milk for another human. I actually read that it takes more energy for a woman's body to produce milk (~25%) than it does to operate her brain (~20%) and her heart (~20%). This was a great comfort to me, considering my brain and heart felt so broken and clouded by death, that I chose to use that extra energy instead to produce a life giving substance.
During all the time I spent pumping, I found useful ways to make the time pass by. I started by using this time to pray. If you were to come to my home, you would find a list of women. A list of women that is longer than it should be, longer than I wish it was. Women who have reached out to me after learning of Finn's passing to share with me similar stories of pregnancy loss that they had endured. I kept this list nearby and prayed for each woman by name, and for the child or children that they had lost. This was sacred time to me. I still keep this list, and continue to pray for these women each time that I pass by. Women, who because of the unfairness and sadness of the death of a child or children, feel more like sisters to me.
I also used this time to bond with Harper. If you know anything about her, you know that she loves to learn, and that I love to teach her. I love that she asked questions about my pregnancy, and subsequently breastfeeding, and pumping, and donating milk. I loved that I was able to describe to her all of the ins and outs of what I was doing and why … down to the pathophysiology of how and why women's bodies make milk in the awesome way that they do. I loved that she knew about my pregnancy, how Finn was growing and her milestones in the womb week by week, what happens when you give birth (sorry PDS 4K parents and Mrs. Douglas). But now, I also got to teach her about breastfeeding. I got to teach her how incredible a woman's body is so that she would hopefully be able to better appreciate her own one day. I felt that it was my responsibility as her mother to show her the strength of a woman, even and especially amidst such tragedy.
One of my favorite memories of my pumping days was Harper watching Brent help me. He would bring me water, and snacks, make sure I was comfortable, and often stay up with me at night while I pumped, and then take the bags to the kitchen to help me label them with the time, date, and ounces. We got to celebrate together and he would cheer me on as the ounces continued to increase. Harper would see him doing this and then start to offer the same. "Mama, have some water", "Mama, here's a snack", "Here Mama, I got you a pillow", "Mama, I'm so proud of you!". So I wasn't shocked when she asked to help me label one of my bags after a pumping session. I walked to the kitchen with her and watched her grab the sharpie we used to label the bags. And in the space where we would label with date, time and ounces ... she just simply wrote "Mama." ♥
I am so proud that I was able to reach my goal of 6 weeks and exceeded my goal of 1,000 ounces by a couple hundred. It made all of our hearts happy to be able to donate this week. I am thankful for my doctor who supported me from the beginning, for Chelesa Presley for helping encourage me and immediately setting me up with Mothers’ Milk Bank of Mississippi, and for Mothers’ Milk Bank for being such an incredible and beautiful resource for NICU babies across Mississippi. And again, I am so thankful for Finn Powell's life. I honestly believe that part of her coming, was so that others could live … and that because of Finn Powell, beauty from ashes will continue to grow in the lives of others we don't even know.
“To appoint unto them that mourn, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3
“But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12 9-10