At seven months pregnant, Kristin was rushed to the hospital ER from complications of what she thought was the stomach flu. Her blood pressure continued to climb, a sign of pre-eclampsia, as she progressed into early labor. She was quickly prepped for an emergency cesarean.
“When I finally became aware, I was taken to see my son on the third day,” said Kristin. “He’s a fighter and a hero to many of the nurses who saw how he fought to live.“
Baby TJ was born under respiratory distress at 2 lbs., 2.9 oz. and remained in the NICU for 10 weeks. Early on, the hospital gave pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) to TJ while Kristin remained on medications to combat high blood pressure. Though she was discouraged from pumping breast milk because of the prescriptions, she desired to regulate her body’s supply with the intent to breastfeed once able.
“I was so very grateful (for the PDHM), although I tried to continue to pump because I felt the baby needed my nutrients,” said Kristin. “But it was too late because my supply was depleting.”
Research shows that pasteurized human donor milk (PDHM) is the safest substitute of mother’s own milk for sick babies. Its nutrients provide evidence-based healing properties, immunities and digestibility. If a mother is unable to provide her own milk and desires the healing properties of breast milk, PDHM is the next best available option.
Donor mothers from multiple states provide frozen surplus breast milk to The Milk Bank for pasteurization and distribution to hospital NICUs like the one where Kristin and TJ were admitted. The Milk Bank daily ships, via dry ice, bottles of PDHM to more than 30 hospitals across the Midwest.
The Milk Bank also provides PDHM by physician order or prescription to mothers in transition – waiting for their own milk supply to increase or following a medication, for example. Contact us for more information about outpatient services, or for details on our new Donor Milk Express option (up to 40 ounces of PDHM without a prescription).
Sometimes medical costs can skyrocket in the care of a fragile infant, even after a hospital stay. Or perhaps a mother faces medical challenges that prevent her from breastfeeding, and her own care is expensive. Families in these situations may feel helpless and overwhelmed. Drops of Love is a program of The Milk Bank that covers the financial costs of processing and delivering PDHM for those unable to afford it.
For Kristin, Drops of Love is a wonderful and reassuring blessing. For nearly six months – even after their lengthy NICU stay – Kristen was able to feed PHDM to her son because of the generosity of financial donors of The Milk Bank.
“My baby received the best alternative to my breast milk. I was so very grateful when I was approved [to receive PDHM through Drops of Love],” said Kristin. “Today my baby is happy and healthy.”
It takes the support of individual donors and grants to make the Drops of Love program available to families, and there has never been a greater need. To make Drops of Love a widespread initiative, your financial help is critical.
For $25, you can feed a Drops of Love recipient for an entire day.
“I encourage any mom who is in need or willing to give to do so. I believe my baby exceeded many people’s expectations because he got the opportunity to receive the best milk option.”
To support mothers like Kristin through Drops of Love, consider a donation today. Interested in becoming a donor mother? Talk with us to learn how you can provide breast milk to sick and fragile babies. It’s a gift like no other.