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Ep. 140- The Season of Giving: Heart warming breastmilk donation stories

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*We apologize for any typos, misspellings or incorrect grammar. Our transcript is auto-generated by software that’s trying its best, just like all of us.*

Welcome to the Milk Minute Podcast everybody. We’re so happy to be here with you for the holidays. And of course, once again, we’re sick or maybe we’re still sick. I can’t, I can’t tell. It’s so layered. It’s just virus on top of virus on top of virus, but no one’s puking today.

It’s mostly respiratory in nature. So if you, if you hear some strider on my end of the microphone, just know that my Alka Seltzer will be kicking in at any moment. Yeah, I’m gonna be drinking like the hottest tea I can stand to like be able to keep talking for this episode. I wanna burn my throat all the way down while drinking tea.

That’s what I really. Yeah. But that aside, we are here spreading cheer during this season of giving, and we wanted you all to feel warm and fuzzy as you move through your day. Push pause on your Mariah Carey Christmas album for just a second and take a moment to bask in some lactation positivity.

Because that’s what we’re doing here. And you know, reminder that gratefulness is one of the keys to happiness. We know this from research, you know, we love research and we wanted to share some stories of milk donation with you to help you all connect and feel grateful for each other by reading some of your emails.

Yeah. And we got just so many stories. I don’t think we will quite have time to read all of them today. So we are gonna put the ones that we didn’t have time for, or maybe like the full version if we have to shorten it on our Patreon. So if you guys want to read more, if you dislike inducing Happy Tears for yourself, , you can find it.

and then you should stick around until the end because we have a special audio recording of one of our favorite people who also was a milk donor at the end. So be sure to listen all the way through and hear her story as she reads it herself. Awesome. Well, before we really get into it, do we have some patrons to thank?

We do. We have Catherine B and Kathleen. But also I wanted to give a special shout out to Tricia Estrada because she is a new patron, she’s a dairy queen, and we thanked her in another recording and I told her, you’re gonna be thanked in episode 1 46, and she wrote back. That’s so amazing. Isn’t that in like nine weeks?

And I said, ? Yes. Yes it is. And so, you know, we have to batch record our episodes, especially around the holidays so we can manage everything. So that work-life balance kind of situation. And also because Maureen’s a home birth midwife, her schedule gets a little wild from time to time. So anyway, yes, sometimes it takes that long to hear your shout out.

So Tricia, thank you for reminding me to remind everybody again, it’s coming. Just keep listening. You will hear your name eventually. We do love you so much. And we wish more than anything we could record more like a radio show every day, but it’s more like twice a. Yeah, we do our best. So thank you for your patience.

Let’s take a minute to thank one of our sponsors, and when we come back, we’re gonna answer a question about drinking alcohol while breastfeeding holidays. Am I right

you guys? Breastfeeding for busy moms. My little breastfeeding clinic isn’t so little anymore. I’m so excited that not only can people book with. In person here or virtually, but they can book with the other IBCLCs in your clinic. We also do accept some insurance directly. A lot of insurance will actually pre-approve you for a certain amount of visits, even prenatally.

So please head on over to breastfeeding for busy and check out the services tab to see if your insurance is approved. Book with me or one of my IB CLCs and we would love to work. You can do prenatal consults. What else can they do, Heather? Well, I often work with people who have supply issues.

We’ve got pumping, troubleshooting. We’ve got preparing to go back to work, weening starting solids. We really cover the entire journey. So if you’re struggling, stop struggling and just schedule with me or somebody on my team at breastfeeding for busy dot com.

Welcome back everybody. Today our question, I think is a really common one, possibly the most common question that we get. . So this comes from Clarissa in our Facebook group and she says, I never drink, but I had a work bonfire last night. I had half a cup of red wine. Am I good? When I looked online, it said after two hours, but I’ve also seen posts about alcohol increasing supply.

What’s going on? . Well first of all, I wanna know where you work because a work bonfire, it sounds so much cooler than like a stuffy after hours cocktail work event, so absolutely, yeah, props to whoever threw that thing together and I need more details about that. Also, I love that it was a solo cup of red wine, like very classy.

Also is half a solo cup of red wine equivalent to one full regular glass of red wine. I think it’s like one glass. Yeah. Okay. But you know, one glass, half a glass doesn’t really matter. Both of those are very small amounts and you know gosh, it’s episode 60 something that we really go into detail about this.

But your blood alcohol, . So that’s your percentage, right? That’s gonna be like 0.02% alcohol or something right after one glass. That is the percentage of alcohol in your milk. . So not the same that baby has in their blood, right? Like your blood becomes their alcoholic beverage . That was a weird way to say it.

Well, so like for example, if you’re drinking like 80 proof vodka, like the kind you can light on fire or whatever, your baby would be getting 0.02 proof milk, you know? So like Right. It’s less than orange juice. . Exactly. And so very, very, very small compared to the maternal dose. And like you mentioned in your question, if you wait a couple of hours, you’ve typically metabolized most of that out of your milk.

It’s like free flowing in and out. So it’s kind of up to you what you feel comfortable with. How old your baby is if they have medical problems, right. But for the most part moderate, occasional drinking is totally safe to just feed right after. And as far as alcohol upping supply, I, I would say that.

The biggest risk with supply and alcohol is if you are drinking a decent amount, like often it can actually inhibit your milk ejection reflex, so your milk let down, and if you have an inhibited milk, let down enough times in a row that could actually decrease your supply. We don’t really have any solid research on it.

Upping supply. , but we kind of standby like if one glass of red wine relaxes you and gets your blood moving and breast milk is made from blood, I mean, sure. But we are not saying go out and pound a bunch of alcohol to boost supply because that is absolutely not going to work. That is not the way . It’s not the way friends, but happy holidays,

Well enjoy your drinks over the holidays. Be safe and be safe. And we, and we will link it in the show notes. Our full episode of alcohol. Oh yeah. If, if you have an hour and you’d like, just really feel like you need more information it’s all there. Okay. So I’m excited to read this first email.

Let’s get warm with these breast milk donation stories. This one is a wonderful email about breast milk bringing new friends together. Oh, and this is from a, okay, we’re gonna call her a, and then she actually sent me an update later on. A says, Hey, I wanted to share my milk donation stories I’ve donated three times.

Back in July, I joined a Facebook baby group and I had no idea what was about to happen. Within two weeks, someone posted asking if some like-minded moms wanted to start a group chat, being a stay-at-home mom. I jumped on the idea. I think this is a great idea by the way. That’s pretty cool. The 12 of us started chatting about our March babies and just anything and everything.

We started talking all day, every day, and we’ve become very close. We live all around the US but our babies are all the same age, so we have tons to talk about. One mom lives about four hours from me and has been struggling with breastfeeding. Her freezer broke and she lost her small stash of milk. That is very, I reached out and asked if she wanted some of my milk St.

Since I had an oversupply. At first, she said no because she wanted another baby to be able to use the milk. I insisted on her taking some if we ever were in the same area or were able to meet halfway if she was desperate. One day she mentioned she’d be traveling about an hour from me in the coming week, so I got excited and started pumping milk and putting her baby’s name.

Bags. I finally had an actual purpose to my oversupply. After saving about 75 ounces, I stopped putting the baby’s name on bags and just filled my freezer. I had set aside a thousand plus ounces and was just waiting. I did end up donating 200 ounces to another family. Finally, yesterday was the day we met at a Target, and I was able to give her between 102 hundred ounces of milk because she was on a work trip.

Her baby wasn’t with her, but she did hold my baby, and we were able to shock our group chat of friends . Oh , all of this to say we were already friends, but breast milk brought me to actually get to meet her. It’s truly amazing the feeling it gave me to personally know the person I was giving my milk to, and I will get to see her daughter grow from it if she needs to use it.

And then she sent a very cute update. and she said the day before Halloween, my friend had another work trip to my area and got to bring her husband and baby our babies met, stared at one another and even held each other’s hands. I gave her another 150 ounces of milk and all as well, and she included a photo of the little milk buddies staring at each other,

And they are so sweet. They are so sweet. Do you see that picture Morgan? I do. They’re really, really, . That’s wonderful. Okay, well, I love that story. First of all, I really love the group chat idea and how you all have March babies and you can kind of compare developmental stuff in a non-judgmental way, of course, but just, you know, like, are you going through this?

You know, me too. That kind of like, what’s the word I’m looking for? Companionship . Comradery. Comradery. That’s what it is. So, yeah. A, we are so glad you shared that with us, and I love that your milk brought friends together. Yeah. That’s such a wonderful story. Thank you so much. Okay. I have another email from a listener who turned kind of a not so fun oversupply situation into a gift for somebody else.

She says, let’s see who’s this from? Her name is Jess from New. , Jess says, first off, I wanted to say how much I love the podcast. I only wish to have to stumbled across it before my breastfeeding journey began. You’re both a pleasure to listen to and you’re doing such meaningful work. Thank you. Jess ? Yes, thank you.

I am five months postpartum. and I had a bit of a rough start to my breastfeeding journey. I’d spent so much time prepping for an unmedicated birth in a hospital setting. My home birth just wasn’t in the cards for us financially, so put all my energy into learning and mastering coping techniques and training my partner.

And I was successful in having the birth of my dreams baby latched, even before I birthed my placenta. I thought things would be easy and they were until they weren’t anymore. Isn’t that , isn’t that just the universal experience? Yes. My nipples became so badly damaged from a bad latch that I ended up pumping early on because it was too painful to latch.

I saw a great lactation consultant, got support, education, and started feeding at the breast again. But I had created an oversupply at this point. Over the weeks, our freezer started filling up. My baby wasn’t even drinking any of this frozen milk. I knew I wanted to share my milk with another baby in. I searched local groups for a while and got some info from the milk bank.

Eventually I connected with a mom who was searching for a donor for her baby around the same age as mine, and she was supplementing her own breast milk with donor milk. . We exchanged information, got to know each other a bit, and eventually met up to hand off the milk. 10 bricks, 400 ounces was very emotional in so many ways.

I almost felt like I was giving away a little part of me. And you were, Jess, you were giving away. It’s so sweet. This is why we love these stories, . I’m so incredibly proud of my body. I have not only been able to grow this beautiful baby and watch him grow at my breast, but I’ve also been able to help feed another.

proud of this accomplishment. I was telling my mom about it. Unbeknownst to me, I am not the only woman in our family who has shared the love that is breast milk. My mom shared that my great, great grandmother was a wet nurse, and I thought this was the coolest thing ever. So I think I’ll probably donate again because it’s brought me a lot of joy.

And thanks again for all that you ladies do from Jess. Aww. I love that. And you know, it’s not until you take these steps to do what you feel is right in your heart that brings you joy and you start sharing your experience with others that it reminds people of these happy times that they had, like, oh, your great-great-grandmother did this.

And hopefully her experience as a wet nurse was good and not like creepy or scary. . Yeah, it, I’d actually, it’d be really. , if you were able to get like a more detailed story there, because we’ve just lost so much maternal history, you know? Yeah, we, I’d love to do a whole episode on wet nurses actually. The history of that.

Yeah. Well, Jess, that’s amazing. Thank you for sharing and I’m glad to know that being kind and sharing runs in your family, that’s a really cool thing to have in your family. Okay, I have the next one and I’m excited. This one’s from Lindsay m. Lindsay says, hi there. Big fan of the podcast. It truly helped me feel confident in the story I’m about to share.

I had an out-of-town work conference opportunity at seven weeks postpartum. I couldn’t pass it up. Good for you, by the way. You shouldn’t have to pass it up unless you want to. , which meant I needed to start my stash early. Having the support of your podcast along with my virtual breastfeeding class that my delivery hospital offers and several IBCLCs on Instagram made this all possible.

I pumped with my Willow 3.0 the entire five day, four night trip. I used some of the Willow exclusive pump bags, their reusable containers and the series Chill during my trip, and we’ll put a link in the show notes to that. I found a local mom on human milk for human babies and donated over a hundred ounces.

I pumped while I was there. Aw, I felt so strong and humbled and empowered. Our bodies are amazing and I was so proud I could keep up my supply. Hubby could feed my baby on my breast milk at home, and I could donate as well. Thanks for everything Lindsay. . That’s so sweet. I love that you kind of took a step out of transporting the milk for yourself and like gave some benefit to somebody else in doing that.

Yeah. I mean, some people choose when they go on trips to set up like a, a travel arrangement for their breast milk. Like milk stork will transport your breast milk. Some people ship it back on their own. And I guess this is another option to consider is just donating to a local mom wherever you travel.

Absolutely great idea. Well we’re gonna take a quick break to thank a couple sponsors and drink some tea , and when we get back we will have some more stories and our very special milk donor recording.

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Welcome back everybody. Let’s continue reading some of our very heartwarming milk donation stories. I hope you are all snuggled up with like a hot cup of tea or maybe some hot cocoa with marshmallows, cuz you know, tis the season. Yeah. So snuggle down and get ready. Let’s see. This one is from Jacqueline Jordan.

She says, I saw your post and wanted to share my donor milk stories. I truly believe donor breast milk needs to be normalized and become the next best option. The lack of breastfeeding around the US is seriously a public health issue, and we agree. Jacqueline. . Mm-hmm. . I have such a heart and passion for parents truly struggling to feed their babies, and through my journey of donating, it’s been such a beautiful and heartwarming act of love to see these families fighting to give their children the lifelong health that they deserve.

I’ve donated over 3000 ounces in the past 10 months. Wow. , that’s a. I donated to two mothers who adopted premature infants. One mother who had a traumatic birth and used an S N S until full relaxation was successful. Three mothers during the formula shortage and one who has been using donor milk for her baby for 11 months.

These families have all endured so much to give their baby the best start in life, and their dedication is something to celebrate. I hope the stories you’ll be sharing really impact other families and encourage them to seek out donor milk. It’s a beautiful thing. Thank you for letting me share mine with you.

Oh, that’s amazing. And I love that Jacqueline gave a nod to the families who are searching out the donor milk and just acknowledge that these families that are looking for milk have already endured so much hardship and they’re still trying to achieve their goal. So these are people that are like, they’re at maybe sometimes the lowest of lows, and they’re still striving towards that goal.

And isn’t that just. A woman thing to do where you’re like, no, this is the plan. This is what I said the plan was, and I don’t care how many things you put in my path, we are sticking to the plan . Absolutely. Yeah. It’s really, it’s a difficult place to be in to look for that. So thank you to all the donors who make that possible and kudos to all the families seeking donation who are persist.

Okay, my turn, this email is from Katie Ekin Ayala. Ayla. We still, we’ve, we’ve read this name on the podcast before and I still can’t get that last one. I’m sorry. . Katie, we love you. So Katie is currently feeding four babies at the same time. . Oh my goodness. Which is crazy. So Katie says, back when I was learning to breastfeed and didn’t know I was going to be able to successfully nurse for six months, let alone be an over producer.

Cuz I guess you do never know until you get there. Yeah. Absolut. I collected a large stash to prepare for what everyone swore I would end up doing bottle feeding. Well, it never happened, and I had over 2000 ounces of frozen milk. My son wasn’t going to eat, so I needed to donate. And that’s the other thing, like you don’t know your baby either.

Like you don’t know your body until you’re in it. It’s really unpredictable and yet don’t know your baby. So , T B D on all of that, I donated a little here and there. And Heartbroken Lee donated a thousand ounces to a woman who didn’t keep her side of the exchange. Oh. Oh my God. This led to a post I made that got me in touch with a local mom who struggled to breastfeed her daughter and turned out to be an acquaintance’s wife and lived one street over.

Oh, she had a hard time producing and finding someone who would steadily donate. She tried everything and only breast milk made her daughter happy and made her feel at ease. We hit it off and have become close friends. Her daughter, my second nurse lane from April 2020 to 2021. What a time too, like that’s at the height of the pandemic.

That’s, yeah. Then she says, I had my second son in July 2022. She had her second daughter August of 2022. We have been working together to help her be able to breastfeed her daughter, trying everything. And every tip we’ve heard and found recently, she told me that her doctor said that a corrective augmentation is the cause of her struggles.

And even though my family has moved to another city, and I’m currently not only nursing my son and helping feed my sister’s twins. Wow. I. I still collect milk and drive back home to take to her so she isn’t stressing about her supply. Oh. So currently I’m nursing my baby and feeding three others . That’s so sweet.

I also, I love how it’s just like a chain of friends and family, you know, , it’s really, it’s it, it feels like the ideal to me, right? Like that’s what we want. We want our village to be able to be there and support. . Yeah. And like, let’s just remember that an oversupply is kind of annoying, you know? And it does have like risks associated with it.

Yes. So for people that it’s not bothering, you know, for people that are like, eh, whatever. I don’t even mind pumping. For you to be able to use that to help others is just so inspiring. So thank you. Yeah, absolutely. . You know, a lot of people end up in that situation where they’re like, holy cow, I have an entire like freezer full of milk and I don’t know what to do.

I made a TikTok about that and lots of people got mad at me, but it’s okay. . I was just like most people don’t use those. You don’t need 3000 ounces. It’s fine. Like Yes I do. Yeah, it’s whatever. Of course, only the people who like used theirs decided to find that video. . Yeah. And also we will link our episode to oversupply in the show notes.

Oh yeah. In case you are an overs supplier and you’re like done donating and you’re like, I don’t wanna do this anymore. I need help. Like, go there. Yeah, absolutely. And you. You. You don’t just have to throw it out there. You don’t have to donate. No one is obligated to do that. Okay. These are just like heartwarming stories, but if you’re out there and you can’t or don’t wanna donate, it’s fine.

All right. I have a very short story for us from Ashton. Ashton says, first I would like to thank you for having this podcast and the Facebook page. Three of my closest friends and I had babies within the same. Due to various reasons, supplies, sickness, hospitalization, I was able to donate to their sweet babies throughout my breastfeeding journey, I struggled with the idea of donation until it was people and babies that I knew.

It was strange to have such a connection to that milk, but in the end it was a blessing to be able to donate and to know that it was going to those close to me. I had an oversupply and really needed to donate the milk since there’s no way we were gonna use it all. I’m due with my second baby in March and plan to donate if I’m able to, and the right situation arises.

Oh, that’s great. Ashton. . Absolutely. And I think a lot of people all like struggle with the idea of donation because, you know, maybe they, they do just feel a lot of emotions about that milk that they have or a lot of anxiety about, like, what if I donate it and then I need it? It’s, it’s very complicated and it’s okay.

to not, to not immediately feel like you need, you want to be the most selfless and generous person. And I, I really like that Ashton says when the right situation arises, you know, you don’t have to give your milk to just anyone. You want it to feel good. So if it feels weird, like in one of the previous emails, it was like something happened, like where an exchange did.

Take place because something fell apart. Yeah, that’s okay. Like, you don’t have to donate to a anybody. You can donate to someone when it feels right to you. So just, you know, do what feels right in your heart. That’s exactly what we’re doing here. Okay, so this email is from our friend, Allie. Allie says hello ladies.

I love your podcast. It has helped me in my breastfeeding journey. I would like to share my donation story with you and we’d love to hear it, Allie. So Allie says, I’m a mother of a two month old first child, and I was terrified of not being able to breastfeed her. I made sure I got pumps and bags and did my research on how to get my milk in as soon as I could.

Well, baby girl came three weeks early and I was determined because she was small and I apparently have large nipples. She was unable to latch in the. . So my fear increased as I started to pump every two hours around the clock in the hospital. Nurses were pretty impressed at my determination. I bet they were.

Lo and behold, my milk started coming in two days after birth. That’s actually kind of early. Yeah. Especially for a preemie. I was very excited. Baby girl was eating well off the bottle, so I started becoming an exclusively pumping mom. That shortly became old news. However, daytime pumps and feeds at home were not bad.

I would feed her and then pump nighttime, however, was another story between having to wake up every two hours for feeding and pumping, which would take between 40 to 60. I was exhausted, so we started attempting to get that baby girl to latch. Just around six weeks she did it. I was so proud, relieved, and overjoyed.

I was still pumping because I was just so full all the time. Fast forward five weeks to current time. I am an over producer who produces four to six cups a day on top of feeding my baby girl. I’ve attempted to not empty and not pump as often to try to lower my supply, but it seems to exceed when I do that.

The other problem I have is now that baby girl has latched on, she wants nothing to do with bottles and only wants to be on me 24 7 . This does not help my supply. Yeah, because I gather roughly 300 ounces at a minimum a week. I began to donate to some woman in need. I regularly donate to an under supplier.

Her son was in the ninth percentile, and now one month later is right on track with perfect weight for. Because there is no perfect weight. Yes, . I have donated to a woman who had cancer and is unable to breastfeed her child. They are doing well. I have also donated to my friend who is an under supplier, whose baby girl is six months older than mine, but her weight was also kind of struggling.

I know milk banks are probably the best bet in order to keep my small freezer empty. However, I like to be able to give directly to women who may otherwise not be able to get the milk. I hope to keep donating as long as I can and help the women and babies in. Thank you for hearing my story. Aw, thanks for sharing, Allie.

Well, do I get to share my donation story? I know I’ve kind of shared it in bits and pieces, but like, do we have time? Yeah, we’ll make time . Well, I think so far these have all been direct, like community donations and while I did a little bit of that the first time I breastfed, the second time with Lyra, I donated to a milk bank and I just want to.

tell people that you don’t have to have a massive oversupply to donate like I was collecting for a while between one and five ounces a day. And that’s it. And Mo mostly it was like one, and I would just, you know, have these little, teeny, tiny bags and freeze them. And I was, all I was thinking was like, okay, I wanna have a couple days of milk in the freezer in case like I have a really long birth I have to go to, but I didn’t end up having any really long births, so it just kind of accumulated and I kind of liked accumulating it, so I was like, I guess I’ll keep doing it.

Maybe I can donate. And then I was able to Get in touch with the Mid-Atlantic Mother’s Milk bank, which is in Pittsburgh. And they’re our closest milk bank, and we’ve interviewed them and they’re super sweet. And I was like, yeah, let’s give them some milk. And so in order to do that, I had to do an online health screening really quick, pleasant phone interview.

That was not scary at all for those, with some phone anxiety and some blood work. and I had to have my baby’s doctor send them over like affirmation that my baby was doing fine and I wasn’t like stealing her milk to donate or whatever. . If anyone has seen pictures of lira, you’ll know. She’s fine. She, yeah.

I mean, maybe I could have just sent them pictures of her thighs, but I It’s fine. those thighs and those cheeks are so squishable. . Yeah. And all in all, that whole process. Probably if I had condensed it would’ve taken like two hours of my time, but it took about a month, you know, for everything to go through.

Oh, and I had to have my midwife send something over too. And once all the teas were crossed and the i’s were dotted and all that, then I started shipping milk and it was really easy. I would tell them how much I needed to ship and they would send me a box and a cooler and instructions, and then I would like call this delivery dude who did come all the way out to my farm, to get milk at random hours of the day.

And it was great. And it was super, super easy. And they send me emails every time they use my milk. Oh, that is sweet. Yeah, it is. And I only donated like 400 ounce. Not a ton. But you don’t have to donate 3000 ounces, you know? I think their minimum was 150 ounces to meet cost of processing you, and that’s not a ton.

Yeah. So that was really nice. I love getting emails that tell me when my milk is used. It makes it a little bit more personal for folks that like need, need that personal touch for their donation. So I encourage you to check it out if you’re thinking. . That is really awesome. And I love that. You know, you’re just mentioning that you’re not an over supplier, really.

Like Yeah. People always say, I only make one extra ounce a day. And I’m like, yeah, but you do that every day for a month. You have 30 ounces. That’s a lot. Exactly, exactly. So, you know, don’t think that you can’t do this if this is something that you’re like, you know what? This is a small way that I can give back in my busy life without like going to volunteer at a soup kitchen.

You know? Yeah. Like if you can’t, if you don’t have the capacity to. Fill up others cups, , literally or metaphorically, with an oversupply or a ton of free time, you can chip away at it a little bit at a time. Yeah. I mean that like 400 ounces I donated represents like a year of time for me. , yeah. Of collecting milk.

And you know, I pumped other milk to feed my baby too. So that was like a year of extra milk, you know? Right. What is that? Like an ounce and a half a. Right. And that milk that goes to milk banks is mostly used on NICU babies. And we have such good research showing that donor breast milk prevents necrotizing and inter colitis.

Yes. Which is like this terrible, nasty, no good bacteria that basically like, kills the infants intestines and like turns black, gets yucky very bad. So breast milk is lifesaving for these babies. Yeah. So that’s really, really, Let’s take a minute to thank a sponsor before we reveal our donation story from a surprise guest, and I’m gonna tell you about my milk receiving story.

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Okay. Welcome back everybody. I just wanted to let you know, I think a lot of people assume, because Maureen and I have a breastfeeding podcast, that we are both like the, we’re full of milk, you know, that we’re just like, we are the best breast feeders there ever Were. , Maureen and I made tons of mistakes. We are not over suppliers, you know, that’s part of why we do this

So like yeah. I mean, it is usually people who have met challenges and didn’t, didn’t find help adequate that decide to be the helpers. Yeah. So here’s my story. Just know I never saw a lactation consultant outside of the. Of course not. Nope. Terrible patient. I did not ever have a freezer. I just had enough milk for the next day and I lived like that for 10 months.

And then Heidi initiated weaning early and you know, in retrospect it could have been just breast refusal that I could have pushed through, but I was kind of like done at the time, but I was still conflicted over it. And I happened to mention it to this friend of mine named Courtney. So Courtney given you a shout out and we had kids similar ages, and she had had a baby around the same age as.

And so Courtney said, oh my gosh, I have tons of milk. Do you want some? And I was like really? And I had never encountered community milk donation at this point. I don’t have a sister that’s willing to do this for me, right? Like I have four little brothers. This wasn’t really a thing that I’d ever heard my mom talk about.

Like this was a completely new concept to me. And at the time, I was still very highly medicalized. all of my training. So I was like, whoa, what kind of hippie thing is this? And so I had some reservations and she gave me a lot of milk. Like she probably gave me 75 ounces. And I remember staring at that milk in the freezer and recognizing that this was like the nicest thing ever.

Yeah. And, and just being. I feel like this is so nice and I’m still nervous to give it to my baby cuz I didn’t know anything about it, but I did and it was fine and she loved it and I was like, this is your friend. Like, so just know that if you have reservations about receiving it, just do more research and if you’re still not comfortable with it, give it back so they can give it to somebody else.

Absolutely. and it’s like, no offense given, none taken. It’s, this is a personal choice, but just so you know, I did have reservations until I learned more about it and Heidi did get a little bit of formula before she turned one, cuz I didn’t have enough for that last month. Mm-hmm. . So if, if you are also that person who like ran out of donor milk a month early, it’s fine.

Just everyone is doing their best. Keep your babies as healthy as you can and that’s my milk recipient story. So like please don’t think wonderful. Please don’t think I’m a milk magician over here. I, I have my own my own struggles and if I had a third baby, I almost guarantee I would be an over producer because I have anxiety.

Right? ? No, because I literally did myself zero favors with both of my kids with breastfeeding. I’m impressed that I was able to make it as far as I did, considering all of the mistakes I made along the way. So honestly, you did a great job for doing like nothing, right? Heather ? No. Thanks boobs. Thanks for keeping it together with such a ignor at the wheel.

Well, up next, we have a recording from a very special friend of ours. Surprise, surprise. Welcome. Laura Birek from The Big Fat Positive. Tell us your story, Laura. Hi, Heather and Maureen. This is Laura Birek from the Big Fat Positive Pregnancy and Parenting Podcast. I am just calling in to give you my milk donation story.

So I’ve donated a little bit of breast milk to some people in the community, but my biggest breast milk donation was to the University of California Health Milk Bank. Back in February of 2022, I donated 266 ounces to them and I really wish I could have donated more, but I didn’t learn about the uc Health Milk Bank until I was nine months postpartum, and they actually don’t accept breast milk donations past 12 months post part.

Different milk banks have different rules. I’m sure Maureen can talk about that in detail. But this one stops at 12 months, so I only had three months to pump, and so what I got was 266 ounces, which is great. I know every drop counts and not just to plug my podcast, but if you wanna hear all the details of like how I signed up all the screening I went through, you can go to episode 187 of big fat positive.

But I guess when I think back, What it felt like to donate to the milk Bank like . The main feeling I remember is kind of a lot of anxiety, , like I had anxiety that I wasn’t pumping enough. Like I kept thinking I need to pump more cuz I’m an overachiever and needed a gold star. But I was also worried that like the milk was gonna thaw and get lost or something.

We actually did a kitchen renovation in the middle of all this, and so like I had to. Empty out my freezer and move it to an Airbnb and then like move the milk back. And I was like so freaked out that my husband was gonna forget the milk in the trunk of our car or something. And I sent him way too many anxious text messages about that.

And I was also like worried about, you know, taking milk away from my own baby. Like what if he needed it? And I don’t know about you, but my catastrophic thinking is like top notch. I am so good at intrusive thoughts, but thankfully I have a lot of experience with them and I was able to like recognize.

And acknowledge them and just let them go. So one thing that really helped was waiting till my baby was 12 months old to donate, because then I knew he didn’t quote unquote, need it anymore. Right? Like he wasn’t mainly dependent on breast milk as his source of nutrition. And they accepted breast milk that had been in the freezer up to six months.

So I could wait until then to send in my stash. So that really, really helped. And I think if anyone out there is worried about that, like you don’t have to send in in a donation like right when your baby is. 12 weeks old, right? Like when they actually really need it, you can hold onto it and then you can send it when like it’s a little safer.

So yeah, even though I had all this anxiety during the process, now I am so glad I did it and nothing catastrophic happened. My baby is still breastfeeding. He’s 20 months old and there’s no signs of stopping. And to be honest, I still have some breast milk bags in the freezer that. Held back and he doesn’t take a bottle anymore and has zero interest in that frozen breast milk.

So there was actually nothing to be worried about. There’s only upside in my opinion. So I definitely recommend you look into your local milk bank if you’re looking to donate, because it was a really rewarding thing to do, even if it was a little scary at the time. . Anyway, thank you Heather and Maureen.

You know, I love your show and I love you guys. Hope you’re doing. Well, I love that story. It gives me the warm fuzzies. Thank you so much, Laura, for sharing with us about your milk donation and for honestly contributing so much to our show, . Yeah, we love it. And actually this is becoming a bit of a tradition cuz we did an episode swap; I believe last year on Christmas.

So I like this new tradition we have of bringing Laura on every c. Me too. All right. Well, I think it’s our favorite time of the episode. It’s time for the award in the alcove, and let’s see who it’s for today. Today we are going to give an award to Amanda Martinez and baby Diana, who is a Wonder Baby . She is officially our first TV famous baby.

Oh my goodness. Diana appeared in the region’s commercial as a cute little baby playing in her crib, encouraging her parents to plan for the if in. And get their finances together. Amanda and Diana have worked so hard on their breastfeeding journey over the past eight months, and I can only imagine the chubby little arm rolls from all that Good Milk helped in booking that commercial.

I bet. . Check out our Instagram story to see baby Diana. I know baby Diana, and that commercial is so cute. . , I’ll have to Google it now. I’ll send it to you. It’s so good. Okay. She’s just like the perfect little sweetheart in there. And Amanda, I said, how in the world did you do this? And she said, oh, well I just sent her picture to my agent.

And I was like, wait, are you famous ? And she’s, she’s done a lot of roles too. So the this duo of Amanda and Diana are just so cute and I am so privileged to know them. So I’m gonna give them the distinguished Diana Award. Aw, that’s very cute. . Yes. Congratulations on all of your successes so far, and I’m sure we’ll hear about more to come.

All right. Well, that wraps our holiday episode. We hope that you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside and that maybe you are considering asking for help if you need some milk. Because that’s a wonderful option. And if you still wanna learn more about it, we will link our community milk sharing episode in the show notes.

And if you are an over producer who wants to fix that and not donate, we can help you with that. And if you’re someone who wants to donate before you get your oversupply under control, we hope this gives you some good ideas on how you could do that. Absolutely. Thank you guys so much for listening to our special holiday edition of the Milk Minute Podcast.

The way we change this big system that is not set up for lactating families is to educate ourselves, our friends, our communities, and our loved ones. If you guys loved this episode or really any other episode you could do us a big favor and tell a friend about our show or consider joining our Patreon.

We have several levels of membership something to fit everybody, and we are extremely grateful for those who contribute monetarily to our. and really all we want for Christmas is 400 reviews on Apple, and we’re almost there. So if you we’re so close, love us. We’re so close. If you love us, would you mind hopping over to the Apple Review section in your Apple iPod?

Apple iPod? No, your, your Apple. I’m sorry. It’s not 2007. What here is it? Go to your Apple reviews and just give us five stars would be preferable. And then, you know, let everybody know why you love the podcast. Yes, please, and thank you. Thank you to everybody who has stepped up to do that in the past few weeks.

We’re very grateful. We love you guys. Have a happy holidays with your family.


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