“I had my second baby in January of this year. Becoming a second-time mother was always a dream, as I wanted to grow my family. Breastfeeding was also a part of that dream, so when my son latched right after he was born it was the start of something great.
I was producing milk on the fourth day as it took a bit for my milk to come in. Once it came in, there was no stopping how much milk I was producing. By the end of the first month, I had roughly over 400 ounces stored away in the freezer. The milk just kept coming and the freezer kept getting full.
I took it upon myself to research milk banks in Canada as I didn’t know if human milk was being accepted. Within a few seconds, I got the search results of milk banks. I was drawn to the Roger Hixon Milk Bank in Toronto. It was the only one that was accepting breast milk. I started researching and realized breast milk was needed for preterm babies and those that are in the NICU ward. I researched and found that more than 1000 babies across Ontario could reduce their risk of medical complications by receiving breast milk, 70% of preterm babies don’t have access to a full supply of their own mother’s milk, putting them at risk and that over a million ounces of milk have been donated to sick and preterm babies. This was both alarming and an eye-opener for me.
Fast forward to late February and early March and I had my fridge freezer full of milk and an additional freezer I bought full of milk. I didn’t know how many ounces I had at this point, but I knew it was a lot. I decided I didn’t want the milk to go to waste, so I inquired about how to donate. I followed the process on the website and received a call a few days later. There were some questions I had to answer and then some blood work that needed to be done. The process from start to finish took about 3 to 4 weeks as my doctor was delayed in completing her part of the paperwork. Once that was completed, I set up a time for someone from the milk bank to come to collect the milk.
I was given seven boxes that were lined and had instructions on how to pack the milk. I learned the individual would come by, so start packing. One by one the boxes started to fill up. I never knew the quantity of milk I had until I was packing and realized how much milk I had stored away. My husband had to help me as it was becoming too much for me to do alone. It took us around 15 minutes to pack all the boxes. In total, I had over 2000 ounces of breast milk I was donating. I was overcome with joy as I knew, had I not researched this, the milk would have gone to waste. Keep in mind breast milk is only good for 6 months in the freezer and 12 months in a deep freezer. After packing all the boxes, they were picked up and taken to the hospital.
2 days later, I received a call from the registered nurse I was communicating with the entire process. She called to confirm I donated 58 liters or 2000 ounces to the hospital. She thanked me for my contribution and was overwhelmed with the amount I was able to provide. I was ecstatic as I didn’t realize how much I had actually donated. It was such a joy to know that whatever milk I donated would go to helping all the babies strive. Today, I received a thank you card from the milk bank for my donation, which was a nice surprise as it shows they care and wanted to say thanks.
I posted about donating on my Instagram account and most of the comments were ‘Amazing job,’ ‘You’re awesome,’ ‘way to go,’ ‘incredible.’ My husband said, ‘You’re an amazing person to do this. The amount of work and time that you put into storing up so much milk is incredible. I’m so proud of you.’
By doing this, I not only feel an immense sense of joy knowing the breast milk will go to those babies that are in need of the milk, but it will help strengthen them and make them feel better. Seeing pictures of babies with cords all over them is heartbreaking as they are fighting for their lives to survive.
To anyone considering donating breast milk to the milk bank, I highly recommend doing this if you have a surplus of milk. Knowing how many babies will benefit from this milk not only makes my heart happy but makes the initiative even more important as the milk goes a long way to ensure preterm babies are cared for and nursed back to good health.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kowsilia Umadas from Richmond Hill Ontario, Canada. You can follow her on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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