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Supply and demand

March 30, 2011

Right after I had the baby, I, like many other mothers had serious concerns about my supply. Would I make enough? How long would it last? Well, it turns out I made plenty and it has lasted well into her 19th month and counting. As I’ve admitted before, I made so much I almost don’t like to talk about it b/c there are so many that don’t.  I would pump 12 ounces twice a day and know that she couldn’t eat it all, and I really wanted to help out other mamas who couldn’t produce that much or any.

So I started searching for a milk donation center or milk bank. There was only ONE  on the east coast near Richmond at WakeMed in NC. To donate, you must have a minimum of 200 oz. Okay, I was making and storing a lot, but not that much! And moms can’t combine shipments. Which, I understand, but if both mom passed the donor criteria and everything was well labeled, it should be fine to ship together. Especially considering the reason shipments are so huge is to keep shipping costs down. So unfortunately, I was unable to share. We did end up using all of the milk I made, mixing it with her cereal as she got older. But it was still so disappointing to not be able to help other mamas who needed it.

I suppose for some, there is an ick factor sharing milk. I don’t really see it. I would hope that mamas would look past the initial discomfort in using another mom’s milk when she realizes how much that mama cares about helping another child. Breast milk is full of so many vitamins, nutrients and antibodies that are impossible to recreate in a formula that I would much rather my daughter get someone’s milk than have formula. A brand new study conducted by doctors at Prolacta shows that babies fed an exclusively human-based milk diet as opposed to a human/cow’s milk diet had significantly lower rates of NEC. The company has conducted a significant amount of research in human milk benefits for  premature babies and uses donated milk to produce a number of milk supplements. What they do is intriguing, especially to the scientist in me. You can read more at Prolacta Bioscience.

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America is a wonderful resource for potential donors and recipients. And I’ve just read that Virginia is getting their own milk bank! The Mothers Milk Bank of Virginia is in the process  of finding a location and funding. There isn’t a lot of information on the website but I hope this happens soon, or at least by the time I have another baby!


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