By now you’ve probably seen me humble bragging about being a breast milk donor for Calgary’s NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank. I’m not as prolific a donor as my pal The Monarch Mommy, but I will be bringing my second donation down to the bank when we get back from holidays in January. My first donation, collected over the my first two months postpartum, was 5005 ml (170 oz).
The thing is, I feel kind of sheepish when I get accolades for my generous donation. People tell me I’m so generous, so selfless, such wonderful person. The truth is, I donate my breast milk for 99.99% selfish reasons.
1- It’s free.
With two kids and a mortgage, it’s not easy to find extra cash nor extra time to donate to worthy causes. Pumping my milk only takes a maximum of 30 minutes. I don’t have to do it every day, I can do it in my pajamas. It doesn’t cost me anything. I might not be giving cash, but I still get the warm tingly feeling of a let down and of giving.
2- It helps me write reviews.
I am pretty much exclusively breastfeeding Little Miss Cub, and don’t need much more than a manual pump to make a few bottles on the off-chance she’ll take one while I’m out. In order to generate content and traffic for this blog, I reviewed two electric breast pumps. I pumped my milk donations with those pumps, but it wasn’t just good for babies: it was good for business.
3- It’s a relief.
There’s nothing like going to bed with empty breasts. Being a girl of very small bust, I am very much unaccustomed to sleeping on anything but my pillows full of feathers. A good draining before bed means a much more comfortable send off to dreamland for this Mama.
4- It’s painless.
I’ve donated blood ever since I was old enough to do so (though not since I’ve had kids). Donating blood takes up a good chunk of time, and it does come with a bit of discomfort. (I passed out one time, and the time I tried to donate plasma was a disaster.) Plus, while you do have to answer a list of questions when you are first approved for milk donation, every single time you go in to donate blood, you have to answer a series of questions about your sex life whose most honest answers are probably: “I sure hope not.”
5- It feels good.
I’m proud to donate my breast milk. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I thrive on approval. I was the teacher’s pet. Doing something good, and having others acknowledge that good… that’s all good for me.
Unselfish reasons to donate your breast milk:
- Donor milk “help[s] protect the most medically fragile babies against life-threatening illnesses.” (source)
- “The bioactive components of donor milk, including cytokines, hormones, and enzymes, optimize the health and development of babies, and are unmatched by any commercial formula.” (source)
- “Human breast milk-fed infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) have fewer severe infections, less necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and a reduction in colonization by pathogenic organisms.” (source)
- Research supports “a decreased length of hospital stay for babies fed expressed human breast milk.” (source)
- “Donor breast milk… provides a tremendous relief [to the parents of preterm infants] knowing that their infant can still receive human breast milk.” (source)
Canadian Breast Milk Donation Resources
If you are not able to donate your milk via one of the four Canadian milk banks listed above (it’s a big country!), you can find a chapter of Human Milk 4 Human Babies near you!
Have you been a donor or a recipient of human milk?