Andrea’s Breastfeeding & Milk Donor Story
My husband Luke and I have been married 14 years. We weren’t sure if we wanted children when we got married, so we postponed it for quite a while. We got to do amazing things like sky diving, world travel, and build our careers. When we finally decided to try for a child, I was what they consider “geriatric”, meaning I was over 35 years old. Being “old,” didn’t slow me down. I had the pregnancy most women dream about. I gained the recommended amount of weight, didn’t experience any morning sickness, and had no health complications. A healthy pregnancy gave me a healthy baby girl, Nora. She was born full term at 40 weeks and a day. I had a c-section because she was “sunny-side” up (occiput posterior position) and I have a mishapen sacrum, making it difficult for a natural delivery.
She was nursing before the doctor had me stitched up! Her being full term and healthy was a contributing factor that allowed me to donate as well. The pediatrician gave us the green light to let her sleep through the night at 2 weeks old. She only woke up once a night (and sometimes would sleep through the night) from about 1.5 months old. However, I had an alarm set to ensure I got up to pump, even if she slept.
Workplace Values Time Pumping
Back to my career, I work for U.S. Bank Home Mortgage in Owensboro, Kentucky. I have 11 years experience with them and, in my opinion, they are a leading organization in the US for parental leave benefits. In 2022, they increased their parental and adoption leave policy (prior to 2022, it was still great, but they knocked it out of the park with this change). Birth parents can take up to 19 weeks and non-birth parents/adoptive parents up to 10 weeks of paid time off. Yes, PAID time off!! You don’t have to use your vacation or sick time, nor go without pay, in order to stay home and bond with your child! In the US this is unprecedented. This incredible opportunity also gave me the ability to start building a stash of milk before returning to work.
Not only does U.S Bank have an amazing leave policy, we have an awesome pumping room in the office as well. It’s not some closet that was converted to conform with recent laws, it is a room intentionally built for pumping! It has a sink, a refrigerator, and a comfy chair. They provide us with dish soap, hand soap, and disinfectant wipes for cleaning the surfaces (because you don’t want to spray any cleaning agents that might possibly land on drying parts). Currently, I share the room with three other moms, and we created a group chat, so each morning we communicate with each other about what times we will be using the room.
Volunteering is a huge part of the U.S. Bank culture. Their slogan is to make the communities we serve a better place because of our presence. They also have multiple programs to make volunteer work go further. One of those is called the “Dollars for Doing”. It matches your volunteer time with a qualifying nonprofit at a rate of $5 per hour, up to 40 hours per calendar year. I decided to submit my time (pumping) through the the program after sending my first milk donation. The Milk Bank sent an overnight air shipping box and I knew that wasn’t cheap. I could make my donation of milk count double by requesting a monetary match for my time pumping!
I’m proud to be a milk donor because, while there are other volunteer opportunities I can do throughout my entire life, this one is a unique situation that I can only do temporarily. Many volunteer activities enrich communities and make people’s lives better, but being a milk donor is on par with blood and organ donations… You’re saving lives! – Andrea
Why Milk Bank Donation is Key
For fragile babies, human milk is lifesaving. In the hospital, when mom’s own milk isn’t available, many hospitals rely on milk banks – like The Milk Bank – to provide safe donor milk for their tiniest patients. For low birthweight and premature infants, a human milk only diet reduces mortality by 75%. The Milk Bank accepts donations of extra milk from screened and approved donors. In our lab, lovingly donated milk is screened, analyzed, bottled, pasteurized, tested, and dispensed as a medical intervention for preemies and fragile babies.
Every ounce can provide up to three feedings of lifesaving donor milk. Become a lifesaving milk donor today.
As a nonprofit milk bank, The Milk Bank never monetizes generous donations of liquid gold. Hospitals only pay a processing fee to offset the cost of layers of safety – like testing, screening, and pasteurization. The Milk Bank also helps babies at home, and thanks to monetary donations, Medical Relief is available to outpatient families whose baby has a medical need.
How donor milk saved the day for Sonya’s NICU baby
Start the application to become a Milk Donor and help tiny tummies like Lyndon, with your extra liquid gold. Sonya shares her birth story and NICU experience. While she was in the ICU, donor milk made the difference for her son, Lyndon.
We’re grateful to the public health champions, NICU parents, and breastfeeding milk donors, who regularly share their stories. If you would like to be interviewed for an upcoming blog, or write a feature for us, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!