I first heard about donor milk when I was taking prenatal classes at IU North while pregnant, during a discussion about options for if my twins were to come early and need time in the NICU. I didn't think about it very much at the time since I was very optimistic about carrying my twins to term and breastfeeding. However, Allison and Cecilia ended up arriving at only 31 weeks 3 days and spent 6 and 7 weeks in the NICU working on breathing, eating, and growing.
I asked for a pump right after they were born and pumped every 2-4 hours around the clock for weeks while my girls received tube feedings of my milk mixed with fortifier.
My wonderful husband was right there with me all night long, washing my pump kit at 3 in the morning and putting milk bottles into the fridge for me. I was so worried about not being able to provide enough milk for them that I pumped and pumped and pumped and ended up producing way more milk than they needed since they were so tiny.
When I got to bring my babies home they still needed to have fortifier added to their breastmilk for half of their feedings, so I continued pumping once I was able to nurse them as well. My oversupply actually led to some nursing problems (combined with their very small mouths), but by the time I managed to get my supply matched to their demand I had built up a huge freezer stash of milk. We had to stop buying frozen vegetables and meat because there was no room left in our freezer at all!
Eventually their demand increased and I stabilized at producing just barely enough milk, and we used frozen milk occasionally. Around that same time Allison and Cecilia's reflux started to get worse and they were having a really tough time with their digestion as well as nursing, so I gave up dairy and soy and switched to exclusively pumping. Once I gave up dairy and soy they were doing better, but I had this big stock of milk in my freezer that I couldn't give them. I didn't want it to go to waste and I remembered hearing about the milk bank, so I sent an email to The Milk Bank and started the donor approval process! I donated my entire freezer stash in two lump sums which added up being over 500oz of milk, including 297oz of preterm milk. It feels really good to know that my frozen preterm milk went to help someone else's preemies!
Allison and Cecilia are now nine months old, seven adjusted and are over 16lbs -- more than four times their birth weights of 3lb 6oz and 3lb 10oz! I'm still pumping away at work and at home and producing about 55-58oz per day. If I had extra milk I would definitely donate again, but for now I'm just happy that I am still able to provide enough for almost all of their feedings.