Donating to CHKD Milk Bank: A Personal Story
Today, I wanted to share a personal story about why I chose to donate 273 ounces of breast milk to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughter Milk Bank. I hope my story will be an inspiration to Moms that are considering donating.
Why I Wanted to Give:
Before I had my daughter, I had heard from local breastfeeding support groups about donating breast milk to the CHKD Milk Bank. At the time, I thought donating milk was the coolest thing! The fact that science and medicine had advanced so much that doctors were able to use the milk of one Mom and give it to a baby in need was fascinating to me. I knew that after having my baby, if I was able, I would donate my milk.
Then my daughter was born and I became more passionate about donating to the Milk Bank.
You see, I didn’t have the easiest birth or recovery with my beautiful daughter. She was born with the cord wrapped around her neck twice and struggled her first few moments in the world. Without the amazing team of doctors and nurses I had, I shudder to think what could have happened to my beautiful little girl.
After all that my daughter and I had been through, I was so happy and blessed to have happy, healthy baby that was strong enough to nurse. I knew that I had gotten lucky and wanted to give back to the babies and families that were not able to nurse.
About a month into nursing, it became pretty obvious to me that I had an oversupply. Since I was heading back to work in a few weeks, I thought I would just keep pumping and store the milk for my “emergency” stash.
And then… I pumped
As time passed, my oversupply continued and my freezer got fuller.
I knew that there were things I could do to help manage my oversupply, but I also knew that was not for me.
In my heart, I knew my oversupply was a blessing to me and that I needed to use it to help others who weren’t as lucky. I immediately knew that I wanted to keep my oversupply going so that I would be able to donate my milk to the Milk Bank.
Daily, I would pump three times a day at work no matter what and come home with 18+ ounces every day. My daughter only consumed about 12 oz at daycare, so the extra 6 ounces I put in a bag and put it in the freezer with the rest of my Milk Bank stash.
My stash was starting to add up and pretty soon, we had no room in our freezer for steaks — as you could imagine, my husband wasn’t too happy!
At this point, I decided to reach out to the wonderful staff at the CHKD Milk Bank and begin my process to become a milk donor.
When my daughter was about four months old, I contacted the CHKD Milk Bank and spoke with a wonderful lady about donating my milk. She explained the program to me and we set-up a time to do a phone interview.
The phone interview was about 10 minutes and she asked me basic questions about my health, my daughter and our lifestyle — it was easy and painless and the staff member on the other end of the phone was amazing. She gave me time to ask questions and helped alleviate any fears that I may have had before starting the process.
Throughout the whole process, I never felt pressured to donate. The staff always double checked to make sure I had enough milk for my daughter and guidance on how much of my milk I should keep.
After the phone interview,I received a packet with information on the program and consent forms to sign so that the Milk Bank could get records from mine and my daughter’s doctors. I also had to go get the FREE blood test done.
Once you mail back the packet and do the blood test, the CHKD milk bank contacts you and informs you when you have been approved to donate.
Due to my work schedule, I chose a day in December when the Junior League would be collecting donations on a Saturday and went to CHKD to donate. My husband and daughter came with me and together we donated 273 ounces to the Milk Bank.
The whole process was easy and the staff at the Milk bank guided me along the whole time with a smile.
At the end of the process, I received a certificate and letter from the milk bank personally thanking me for my donation.
I am no saint for donating milk and never went into the donation process with the plan of sharing my story with the world via the internet, but here I am.
Breast feeding was an amazing journey for my daughter and I and I know that we were lucky to have this come naturally to both of us. Pumping on the other hand, flat out sucked.
I hated pumping, especially at work. Normally, my need to pump came at the worst time, when I was busy, had a vendor in the office or was working with staff. All the sudden I had to stop what I was doing, run into my office, set-up my pump and wait 15+ minutes to get my milk. It was exhausting and the prep time, cleaning up and cleaning my bottles every night was the worst!
A million times I would think about quitting pumping and just nursing at home. I knew I had more than enough milk in my freezer that I could quit toward the end and my daughter and I would be fine.
But, I didn’t.
Pumping as a working Mom is sometime the only time in the day where you can stop and only think a bout your baby. I would watch videos of her, look at pictures or just sit there in silence. Although I couldn’t be with my daughter, I loved the time I “got with her” when we were apart.
I also knew that pumping for the King’s Daughters Milk Bank was a calling for me. I wanted all babies that needed breast milk to be able to get it and knew that I could help a bit with that.
I hope that if you have any available milk that you would consider donating it to the CHKD Milk Bank. I personally know that this is a true labor of love, and we here at Hampton Roads Moms thank you for it.