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Garret's Gift

Donor Profile: Cynthia, Repeat Donor

How did you hear about donating your excess breast milk? My husband’s maternal grandfather used breastmilk to help combat the effects of chemo when he was sick with lung cancer. It made a tremendous difference in his well being. So I googled how to donate breastmilk and The Milk Bank came up in my search.


What happened that made you realize you had enough breast milk to share with babies in need?

My freezer was full of milk and I had a baby that refused to take a bottle. I wanted the milk to go to good use before it expired


CynthiaIn 2013, my sister-in-law and I both had babies due in August. This was exciting news, as we both already had kids around the same age who loved to play together. Soon we found out that she was having her second boy and I was having my third girl. After that ultrasound and some more testing, it became apparent that her baby had some birth defects, while mine was healthy. These defects were serious and likely to affect her ability to nurse him when he was born. Since she did not respond well to pumping with her first son, she was concerned that she would have milk supply issues again. Given the severity of the baby’s birth defects and the increasing chance that he would be born early, breast milk would be best for his well being. I told her that after my baby was born, I would pump for her baby as well so that he would have the largest supply of milk possible.

At 36 weeks gestation, my nephew was born. He fought bravely, but tragically, the birth defects were too much for him to overcome. He passed away only 6 hours after he was born. Two weeks later, when my own daughter was born, I began pumping twice a day in his memory. I would pump in the early morning hours (3, 4 or 5 am) and then also in the afternoon.  I continued this pumping regime for 2 months. As his aunt, it was the best way I could think of to honor his brief life. I was able to donate 172 oz to babies who need it in his memory. It was very fulfilling to be able to give his milk to other babies who needed it. It also meant a lot to me to be able to have his name inscribed on a gold leaf on the Giving Tree. When a child dies in infancy, the parents are robbed of many simple joys in parenthood, such as watching the child learn to write his name. It is a beautiful to have his name memorialized in writing. I donated to the milk bank with my second and third daughters and if I were having more children, I would do it again in an instant.