Read how a working mom and teacher become a donor mother.
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Read how a working mom and teacher become a donor mother.
When Amber Lumpkin delivered her children, Gavin, 7, and Bella, 5, things went as expected. However, when her 8-month-old son Jasper was born the delivery wasn’t like his older siblings. “It was kind of a different road when Jasper was born,” she said. Born at…
What do you do when you have an oversupply of breastmilk? You donate it to The Milk Bank, of course. After filling all her freezers, Wisconsin resident and mom of two, Jessica Safransky Schacht said an internet search is what led her to…
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.
The perfect mother's day present.
Does it exist?
Maybe you are a Jewelry of any kind Mama. Or maybe you would prefer a macaroni necklace? Surely a bouquet of flowers and a tasty brunch will fit the bill?
This year, the perfect present isn't something I can wear or admire for a few days, it is my family supporting a cause dear to my heart. Other moms.
The perfect present is a gift to The Milk Bank's Milk Money and More Project; a fund that covers the cost of donor milk for families who cannot afford donor milk.
The perfect present is supporting a mom who desperately wants the best for her child.
The perfect present is helping a mom who really, really wanted to breastfeed but just couldn't for a host of reasons.
The perfect present is giving a mom the time she needs to heal by feeding her baby the best alternative, donor milk.
If you agree, please consider contributing to our Milk Money and More Project by donating in honor of the moms you love.
Hi! Thank you for letting me share my story! A few weeks after my husband and I were married in the summer of 2010, we found out we were expecting. After a quick calculation, we learned we had a honeymoon baby on the way. As fall gave way to winter and my stomach was protruding, we learned our baby had a cystic hygroma and most likely would not survive to full term. It was the most devastating news we could have imagined. Within a couple weeks of the diagnosis, we lost our honeymoon baby.
Within 2 months, we were blessed a second time to learn I was pregnant again. We proceeded cautiously yet positively as our hearts were still broken. At my 20-week appointment, I was diagnosed with Vasa Previa, which is fatal to the baby and possibly the mother is not caught before labor begins. We felt so lucky that we caught it in time, but now lived in constant fear of me going into early labor...which is exactly what happened at 24 weeks. I was immediately hospitalized to stop labor and put on bed rest until my scheduled c-section at 36 weeks. At 36 weeks, I delivered a perfectly healthy baby boy.
I felt as though my body had continually failed me on this journey. It couldn't carry a baby and then it threatened the life of our second baby. I wanted to try breastfeeding, but if I had so many complications during pregnancy, would I really be able to sustain a life with milk produced from my faulty body? I was bound and determined to try.
Like most new mothers, my milk was slow to come in. With our son being a bit premature, he would get tired quickly from attempting to nurse. The lactation department at the hospital was excellent at getting me familiar with the pump and giving me positive feedback as I attempted to feed our little boy. Their advice, let him attempt to feed, then pump after every attempted feeding. I took their advice and even after going home, I continued to pump after each feeding. For those first 5 weeks, if our son wasn't nursing, I was pumping. It was time consuming, it was exhausting, it may have even been a little bit overkill, but I had one heck of a supply in our freezer and for the next year and a few months, I never had a single issue nursing our son. FINALLY, I felt like my body was doing what it was meant to do!
After our son grew tired of nursing, we had roughly 6 months worth of frozen milk in the deep freeze. I began thawing it and mixing it in with his food and giving it to him in a sippy cup, as I wasn't about to let my milk go to waste. At this time, the thought of donation never crossed my mind.
As time passed we entertained the idea of having another baby and thought surely a third pregnancy would have to be easier than the first two. I am happy to say it was free of any complications and in August of 2013, I delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl. Within 10 minutes of her being born, she was latched on and my milk was ready to go. It was like my body remembered exactly what it needed to do.
My husband and I had recently heard about milk donation through the hospital and knew this was something I was meant to do. My body had fed our son, was feeding and our daughter, and I had enough of a supply to share it with others. I was able to let go of the feeling that my body had failed me, as it could now not only help our children, but other babies as well.
I had such wonderful support from so many people as I first started down the breastfeeding/pumping road. Once we got home, my husband was there to bring me food, drinks, chapstick, eye drops, everything I needed while I was hooked up to my pump for weeks after our son was born. The ironic part, my husband works for a formula company (free formula) but he was so supportive of me breastfeeding, even though it was more work for both of us. After I went back to work, my office had a lactation room set up and I was never made to feel as though I needed to hurry or that I was an inconvenience to them by needing to pump 3x a day.
We won't chance fate by attempting to have any more children, but I would donate without hesitation if the chance came again.
Thank you for letting me share my story!!
A couple months ago, I received a call from a nurse at a local hospital. One of her patients had a delivered preterm and the baby did not survive. The thing is, even though her baby did not survive, her body was already making milk and this mom was adamant about wanting to become a milk donor to honor her baby. Without hesitation, I knew what I had to do. I packed up my things and headed to the hospital. When I walked into that dark and quiet hospital room, the air was just different. In that room was a newly-bereaved mom holding her baby. A baby that looked so sweet and perfect and peaceful. A baby who was no longer living. My heart was instantly broken for this woman, for I have experienced a similar loss myself.
For the next two hours, I had the privilege to sit with her, cry with her and even laugh a little with her. I witnessed things that brought back some very painful and vivid memories of the night my son, Michael, passed away and of our last moments together. Was it hard? Absolutely. But I am so very grateful that I was able to use my experience as a tool to help this mom through her difficult time and bring a little light to her darkness.
Someone asked me why I went there that day. My answer was simply, “Because I knew that’s where I needed to be.” I did not plan to go there, but that “interruption” to my daily schedule was life-changing.
I often talk about how much I love my job, but after a day like that, I know even more that I am in the perfect place. Working for The Milk Bank has given me the opportunity to turn my heartbreak into something good and to be a beacon of hope for hurting moms.
I’ve said it once and I will say it again, milk banking is about so much more than the milk.
The Milk Bank hosts classes on milk donation for bereaved mothersPerinatal psychology expert presents classes funded by March of Dimes
The featured speaker is Jessica Welborn, Co-Director of the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Montana. Welborn is the author of “Lactation Support for the Bereaved Mother, a Toolkit.” She also received her PhD in perinatal psychology from the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, with a focus on the psychological impact of donating breast milk following perinatal loss. Welborn also worked for two years as the Donor Coordinator at the Mothers' Milk Bank in San Jose, CA. Jessica also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Women's Voices for the Earth (WVE), a national organization that works to eliminate toxic chemicals that impact women's health.
Following Welborn’s presentation, the sessions will include a panel discussion of real mothers and their experiences donating milk after losing a baby.
There will be two separate sessions for this class, and each will include the same content. Attendees can choose to attend from 8:30 to 11:30 AM or 12:30 to 3:30 PM in the Community North Maternity Unit conference room.
The Milk Bank is the only nonprofit milk bank in central Indiana that accepts donor milk from bereaved mothers. They honor these mothers and their children through a remembrance tree in their office, which shares the names of babies whose mothers have donated to serve other infants in need.
The classes are funded by grant money from the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes Indiana has awarded a grant to The Milk Bank to support these classes that are aimed at underserved maternal and child health needs here in Indianapolis. This program will provide bereaved mothers with information about milk donation. This grant is one of many that the March of Dimes awards in pursuit of its mission to prevent birth defects and infant mortality.
To register for class, please contact The Milk Bank at 317.536.1670 or email@example.com. About The Milk Bank Since 2005, The Milk Bank has been committed to providing pasteurized human milk donations to infants in hospitals’ neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) throughout the Midwest. The Milk Bank is a non-profit organization that accepts and pasteurizes human milk donations from fully screened and approved donor mothers, ensuring the highest quality donations. The Milk Bank has milk depot locations in five states for donor convenience. In 2014, The Milk Bank started a partnership with Indiana Blood Center, making each of their locations function as a milk depot has well. For more information, visit http://www.themilkbank.org.
It’s been 22 years since the first World Breastfeeding Week. This year the theme “Breastfeeding: A Wining Goal-for Life” helps to highlight the importance of breastfeeding in the development of a child. It’s a time to celebrate the progress that has been made toward promoting and supporting breastfeeding as a key intervention in the Millennium Development Goals.
This week also marks nine years since the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank opened its doors. And today those doors opened to a new face: a new name, a new logo, a new website, a new look, all in hopes of being able to serve more babies, help more moms, and remind ourselves every day why we’re here. Please join us in celebrating our transition into The Milk Bank, as we look forward to the future in all the communities that we serve.
To those of you who have contributed to our success as the Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank, Thank you! We wouldn't be here without you and hope you will join us as we further our mission.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week!
by Janice O'Rourke, MPA, RD, Executive Director, IMMB
One of the most common questions we get is WHY SHOULD A MOM DONATE HER BREASTMILK TO A NONPROFIT MILK BANK?
For people like myself that study philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, we talk about many reasons why nonprofits exist. We can talk about how nonprofits pick up where the for-profit market and the government fail or are inefficient. We can tell you that the only difference between a nonprofit and a for-profit is something called the “nondistribution constraint,” words that mean that for-profit organizations pay dividends to their stockholders, while nonprofits use revenue to expand their services or provide charity care. But in the world of nonprofit milk banking, it means so much more. It means that moms donate their milk altruistically, without any desire for personal gain. In Donor Human Milk: Ensuring Safety and Ethical Allocation, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) questions the profit motive for donating milk, as it could put the mother at risk if she feels pressured to provide a certain volume of milk to an organization rather than feeding her own infant.
Being a nonprofit milk bank also means that our donors can be assured that their milk is handled with care and provided to the neediest of infants in the neonatal intensive care units without the motivation of profit. Nonprofit donor milk banks, just as nonprofit blood and tissue banks, help ensure that a valuable healthcare resource is allocated in an ethical and safe manner, keeping the safety and needs of the recipient and donor in the forefront. And rather than treating donated milk as a commodity, nonprofit milk banks treat it for what it is, an act of love.
Your body is an incredible factory when it comes to making milk!
By: Carissa Hawkins, Communications Coordinator, The Milk Bank
Debbie Pedersen refers to her deep freezer full of breastmilk as her "Life Insurance Policy" because it is.
Five years ago Debbie gave birth to her first child, a daughter who was born with a cleft lip and palate and a rare syndrome that was diagnosed in utero. Once born, Kaia had a weeklong stay in the NICU and that's when Debbie was first introduced to the breast pump.
Debbie used a hospital grade pump continuously until she realized the convenience and quiet of a manual hand pump. While in the NICU, Debbie and her husband were offered Pasteurized Donor Human Milk (PDHM) for Kaia until Debbie's milk came in. They refused, not knowing much about PDHM at the time.
Initially, breastfeeding wasn't guaranteed for Debbie because of Kaia's cleft lip and palate but with the help of a nipple shield Kaia was able to latch until she had the surgery to correct the cleft at 4 months age. After the surgery the doctors asked Debbie not to use the nipple shield in order to protect the delicate tissue they had just repaired. After 3 days of unsuccessful feeding with the recommended syringes, Debbie was getting desperate, and the plastic surgeon relented that she try feeding at the breast without the nipple shield. Debbie put Kaia to her breast and Kaia latched, perfectly! All the while, Debbie had been pumping to maintain her supply and quickly learned she was blessed with an over supply. Having remembered the offer of PDHM from the NICU, Debbie reached out to the Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank and became a Donor. All told, Debbie donated over 1200 ounces in 2008.
Kaia and Debbie continued their breastfeeding relationship until Kaia was 27 months old mainly due to a diagnosis of kidney cancer. Debbie had continued to pump in addition to breastfeeding in order to make sure she could continue to provide Kaia with breastmilk throughout cancer treatment. Debbie felt her breastmilk was vital to helping Kaia through chemotherapy. Thus, the deep freezer "Life Insurance Policy".
Fast forward to present day, Debbie has since given birth to 2 boys, the youngest being 9 months old. Debbie kept pumping and donated 1100 ounces with her second child. Now with her third child she exclusively uses a hand pump while breastfeeding. She nurses from one breast and pumps the other every time she feeds the baby. At the height of her supply, Debbie was pumping 100 ounces a day in addition to exclusively breastfeeding her son. Did you get that? Debbie’s using a hand pump to express 100 ounces a day!
Having an over supply of milk, while a blessing, isn't easy for Debbie. Because she pumps when she feeds, she often times finds it hard to find a semi private location to nurse in public. And if she leaves her house, even for a little while, she must take a pump or the pain of engorgement is more then she can bear.
As of this writing, Debbie Pedersen has donated 8,939 ounces since the birth of her youngest with only the help of a manual hand pump. We asked Debbie if she had any advice to give other moms who might be experiencing over supply. She said, "Donate. It's easy and you really can make a difference."
By: Janice O'Rourke, Executive Director, IMMB
Liquid gold, the perfect food, mom’s superpower: we’ve heard many of the names for human milk. We've heard about the patience and perseverance it takes to pump extra milk to share. And we’ve talked with moms that are heartbroken when they realize they could have donated their milk instead of pouring it down the drain, but didn’t know about human milk donation. Recently there has been a lot of press regarding our Guinness World Record holder, Amelia Boomker. Amelia was able to donate 16,321 ounces of human milk to the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank. This broke the previous record of a donor in Texas.
But as a point of reference, in 2013, 346,128 ounces of milk were donated to the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank. This enabled us to distribute over 200,000 ounces of milk to fragile babies in NICUs across the US. Were all of our donors like Amelia? Definitely not. Many of our donors struggled to donate the minimum of 100 ounces, and many of our bereavement donors sent us much less than the 100 ounce minimum. But as Hillary Clinton has said, it takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to make sure that all of the fragile NICU babies have donor milk. We appreciate the record that Amelia set and are happy that she chose to donate to the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank. But, we love our village which includes ALL our donors. So please consider donating to us. Your act of love enables us to further our mission: The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank is a non-profit organization that promotes community health by expanding the safe use of human milk for all babies, especially premature and ill infants.
How did you hear about donating your excess breast milk?
I asked the hospital (Central Baptist Lexington KY) about donating. I pumped a little in the hospital for engorgement and had a few bottles there. I told the lactation consultant they (the hospital) could keep it if they could use it, but she said they weren’t allowed too. So I asked her how I could donate extra milk with this being my second child (since with my first I threw so much out ) and she told me about IMMB.
What happened that made you realize you had enough breast milk to share with babies in need?
With my first child, I had bags and bags of excess milk, but I didn’t know about donation and unfortunately, I ended up throwing out the milk I didn’t use. Therefore, I thought there was a possibility of me having excess milk again with my second. I always made sure I had plenty of milk in the freezer for my baby, but when things started getting crammed in our deep freeze I’d send a cooler to Mother Nurture/Baby Moon in Lexington. My first donation was probably around the time my baby was 5 months old.
Was there anything unique about your pumping routine?
Pretty simple, I pumped when my baby would be eating if I was away from him. I went back to work when he was 3 months old and would pump 3 times during the day (same times he would eat at the sitter). The only extra time I pumped was in the middle of the night, about 3 a.m. Once he started sleeping through the night I would still get up and pump so as to not be engorged in the morning when he ate. That’s where a lot of the extra milk came from. I didn’t have to even set an alarm, my body felt the fullness I guess and was telling itself to get up and pump!
Was your employer spouse supportive of you pumping/ donating?
Very supportive! Luckily, I have my own office at work so all I would have to do was close the door and lock it. I actually put a stick it note on my door that said "pumping", that way no one would try to interrupt. My boss (who is a man) was very supportive. He kind of new around the times I was busy pumping and a lot of times would ask is this a bad time if he came to my office. He would tell others that came to my door when it was shut that I was “being a mom.”
My husband was also very supportive and helped me drop off every load (yes one time I dropped off over 600 oz at one time). With that much milk, I had to have his help. He was also very supportive of me breastfeeding/pumping in general. He put up with me being so a crazy about feeding my babies only the best!
Would you donate again?
Definitely! It is so great to know that my milk helped babies in need. I wish I could have done so with my first child. My second child was born at 35 weeks, so from my understanding, some, if not all, of my milk, went to help preemie babies and that’s just awesome!
Please share anything you think others would relate to and THANK YOU!
I never dreamed I would have been able to donate over 1,300 ounces of breast milk and still feed my own baby…but I did! This really and truly is one of my biggest accomplishments in life, to help others in need. I’m not going to say it was easy breastfeeding and pumping all the time, it is very demanding, but I was blessed to be able to nourish my child and help nourish other babies as well. And if the Lord decides to bless me with another child I hope that he blesses me with this ability again!
Amelia Boomker donated over 16,000 fluid ounces
INDIANAPOLIS – An Illinois mother of four has donated the breast milk equivalent of 816 Venti Starbucks lattes or 241 2-liter bottles of Coke to the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank, which collects breast milk donations from fully screened and approved mothers and provides pasteurized donor milk to hospitals throughout the Midwest.
Amelia Boomker of Bolingbrook, Ill., has set the Guinness World Record for breast milk donation by gifting 16,321 fluid ounces of milk to IMMB. She made her donations between February 2008 and September 2013.
Boomker began pumping breast milk when her first son, Danny, was born with a congenital heart defect in 2005. Danny was tube-fed for the first six months of his life, so the best thing Boomker could do for him was pump breast milk to help him get healthy. She was producing more milk than her son could consume, so the nurses at Hope Children’s Hospital encouraged her to donate to a milk bank.
“They started sending me liter bottles because I producing so much milk. I would send up to 14 at a time!” she said.
“The milk donations we receive are delivered to hospitals throughout the Midwest to provide live-saving nourishment to newborns who are critically ill in Neonatal Intensive Care Units,” says Carissa Hawkins, communication coordinator at IMMB. “Amelia’s donations helped save many young lives on the way to setting the world record.”
Boomker also pumped breast milk for her three sons born after Danny, allowing her donation amount to climb. While on maternity leave with her youngest son, she became aware of the world record and knew that she had pumped enough to break it. She attributes some of her breast milk production success to a flexible employer that lets her pump long-term on a consistent daily schedule.
For five years, she sent expressed milk in coolers packed with dry ice and dropped off donations at some of the IMMB’s depots in the Chicago area. The milk bank has depot locations throughout the Midwest for donors to drop off milk.
“The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank’s choice to open milk depots was brilliant. I wish they would open more in the Chicago area! It was so easy for me to drive up to the hospital and drop off my donation,” she said.
# # #
The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank pasteurizes and screens breast milk from fully screened and approved mothers and to be sent to Neonatal Intensive Care Units in hospitals throughout the Midwest. They have depot locations throughout the Midwest and have been in existence since 2005.
Karen Hurt, firstname.lastname@example.org
by Sarah Long, IBCLC, Clinical Coordiantor, The Milk Bank
The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank would like to announce that we have extended the length of time Donors are eligible to make breast milk donations.
Approved milk donors are now able to donate their excess breast milk until their second year postpartum.
Why the change in policy?
As the demand for pasteurized donor human milk has increased among ordering hospitals, so too has the demand increased among outpatients. Instead of reducing our approval criteria we felt it best to extend the amount of time a fully screened and approved donor is eligible to donate. This change means an increased ability for IMMB to be able to meet the needs of ordering hospitals as well as potential outpatients.
There are three classifications of breast milk donations for us:
All current donor restrictions and guidelines still apply. Donor moms are asked to continue to refrain from medication use, unless approved by IMMB, they must continue to be non-smokers and must follow expressing and storage guidelines. Breast milk stored in a deep freezer will continue to be accepted for 8 months from the date it was pumped and breast milk stored in a side by side or top freezer will be accepted for 5 months from the date it was pumped.
New and current milk donors are asked to commit to donating 100oz of breast milk by their child’s second birthday. There no restrictions as to how much breast milk must be donated at one time but we ask that donors try to supply us with 50oz at a time.
We hope this extension will allow us greater access to your most precious commodity and allow us to serve a greater population.
By Carissa Hawkins, Communications Coordinator
It was October of 2011 when I received a call from Kathy Mason the Lactation Consultant at Riley Hospital for Children, telling me about about a mom who wanted to donate after the passing of her son.
It was Lauren.
Michael Duncan was born in September, 2011 at 23 weeks, 6 days. He lived for a month.
Lauren pumped the entire time and was able provide Michael with breastmilk his entire life. The extra came to us.
Now, Lauren serves as our Donor Mother Coordinator, helping us ensure the generous moms who contact us have a quick, pleasant experience.
Please help us welcome her!
By, Crystal Gold, MS,The Milk Bank Board Member
When I first learned about the opportunity to be a member of the Board of Directors for the Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank, I was immediately drawn to it. My second son is a NICU graduate and was the first baby to receive donor human milk where he was born. We didn't know he was changing the world that day, but since he did, it just seemed like a natural progression to add my passion to the important work that the Milk Bank does.
I know first hand what a difference donated milk can make to the health of a gravely ill baby. However, I think it is my understanding of what a difference it can make for the mother that really makes my experience that much more valuable. Everyone thinks of donated milk as being for the baby, and it is. But it is also a gift to the mom who wants to breastfeed her sick infant. I couldn't get over the feeling of a ticking clock over my head. If I didn't get milk for my child, he would be supplemented with formula and that was something I didn't want for him due to the risks to his fragile tummy. Knowing that he would receive milk that was lovingly donated by another mother and prepared safely for him meant that I had the gift of time.
by: Jami Marvin, The Milk Bank Pasteurization Coordinator
We often times hear from donors how difficult it is to pack up and ship off their hard earned milk. To many, its as if they are shipping off a part of themselves or their baby. Donors want to make sure their milk donations arrive safe and sound.
These tips should help:
by: Carissa Hawkins, Communications Coordinator, IMMB
There are so many times throughout the last year that we looked at our numbers and just marveled at how far we have come. Below are a few of the notable benchmarks.
We are forever grateful to our Milk Donors and their families for their generosity and kindness!
We look forward to a FABULOUS 2014. As always, if you would like to become a Milk Donor, please click here or call us at 317.536.1670.