Today we are feeding and growing! Maurice’s weight was 2 lbs yesterday and now 2lbs 1 oz today (up 5 grams). Peter is 3lb 54 oz and gained 15 grams. My boys were born about 3 months early via emergency c section. My body was not ready for them and my milk production continues to be suboptimal. Having two babies makes it even harder to keep up with thier requirements. As much as I am trying, it’s not happening. I’m pumping around the clock using a hospital grade pump, eating oats, drinking Mother’s milk tea and gallons of water and eating Lactation cookies. If they say it may help and can’t hurt.. i’ll do it! But each pump session leaves me with half an ounce if I’m lucky. Because my boys are my third and fourth babies, I was pretty well prepared that this would be the case. I have had so much support from the NICU staff and Lactation coaches who are always here to help. They encourage my every drop and make me feel like wonder woman for each ounce I pump, but I am not able to sustain my babies on that alone.
Luckily there are other alternatives. There is no doubt that breast milk is the perfect food for infants ( especially premature NICU babies) and the best breast milk is your own. But in my case, and for others who are not able to supply enough, there is the option of donor milk. Donor milk comes from a milk bank and is sent from “gifted” mothers who pump more milk than their babies can eat. It is regulated, undergoes extensive screening and tested as well as pasteurized to kill any harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, during the pasteurization process , some good things are also sacrificed, such as immunological and nutritional properties. It still however contains many benefits that commercial milk products are not able to duplicate. It is easier on thier digestive system and can help to prevent infections especially late onset sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). It is also known to reduce retinopathy of prematurity ( eye disease). Babies given human milk in the NICU have been shown to have fewer re-hospitalizations in their first year of life and improved neurodevelopmental outcomes. In addition, they have lower rates of metabolic syndrome, lower blood pressure, decreased bad cholesterol (ldl) and less leptin and glucose resistance when they are adolescence. Basically, breast milk results in a decreased risk of developing eye disease, brain issues and heart disease or diabetes, just to name a few.. it’s pretty amazing!
I’m so thankful to all the mothers that have donated to milk banks. My babies continue to receive donor milk in tandem with my expressed milk. I’m also so appreciative to have the education and support from my Lactation coach about donor milk. Thanks to the generosity of strangers, my babies have had the benefits of breast milk and the best nutrition I could provide. I will be forever grateful to all the mamas that are giving my babies this gift of health. Please consider donation if you are one of these lucky mamas..words cannot express what it means to those who receive it.
If you are able to donate click the link above for more information