LivingWorld Breast Milk Donation Day: three mothers tell us...

World Breast Milk Donation Day: three mothers tell us about their experience and what being donors has meant for them

Today is World Breast Milk Donation Day, an initiative launched to protect and promote breastfeeding, and raise awareness about the importance of donating human milk .

In Spain there are 15 breast milk banks where donor mothers can bring their milk. There they will collect it, process it, store it and offer it with all the sanitary guarantees to babies who need it, mainly premature babies, who are the greatest beneficiaries of this immense gift.

Today we wanted to hear the testimony of three donor mothers , who have explained to us in first person why they decided to donate milk and what this wonderful altruistic action has meant for them.

“It is exciting to know the number of babies you help with your donated milk” (Almudena)

Almudena is a Multilacta lactation consultant and mother of three children. She became a donor after the birth of her second daughter, and as she herself affirms, the experience has been very rewarding and unforgettable . He was donating at the 12 de Octubre University Hospital in Madrid, and this is how he explains how the whole process happened.

  • Why did you decide to become a milk donor?

“When my second daughter was born, four years ago, I decided to become a breast milk donor, because I had heard about it before and wanted to help babies who needed it. At that time, there was only one milk bank in Madrid at the Hospital 12 de Octubre, so I went to be informed of the process . “

  • How did you organize to donate?

“I began to express milk to donate when I joined my job. I always stopped in the middle of the day to express milk, and I would freeze it in the freezer that we have at my work. I expressed two bottles of milk a day , and every 15 days I delivered them to the hospital. “

  • How long were you a donor?

“I was donating until my daughter was two years old and I repeated the experience when my third child was born . This time I was pleasantly surprised to see that the topic was more widespread, and many more mothers had heard about it .”

  • Did you have any questions during the process?

One of my initial doubts was whether my mature milk would serve preterm infants , because the composition of the milk when you breastfeed a two-year-old baby is very different from that of the milk received by a newborn or a premature infant. But in the hospital explained to me in detail how they treated donated milk to make it perfect and suitable for admitted babies . “

“Another question that also arose to me was whether the dairy-free diet that I was following to be able to breastfeed my baby CMA was incompatible with the donation. But this did not pose any problem when it came to donating either.”

  • What did the experience mean for you?

“After completing the first donation, the hospital sent me a letter thanking me and telling me the number of babies it had helped with the liters of donated milk . That moved me a lot, and when I talk about it I still get excited, because it’s wonderful to be able to help babies and mothers who need it most. “

“I think of the mothers who are having a hard time with their premature or admitted babies, and the difficulties they are having with their breastfeeding due to their emotional situation, and I am excited that my milk has been able to help them.”

“For premature babies, every drop counts” (Merche)

Merche decided to become a donor when she learned how breast milk benefits premature babies. She is the mother of two children, and her donation began after the birth of her second child. This is how he explains how the whole process happened.

  • Why did you decide to become a milk donor?

“After the birth of my second child, there were two simultaneous events: a friend of mine had just become a milk donor and another had just had a premature baby. From that moment on I began to be aware that breast milk is a medicine. for premature babies , so I decided to contribute by becoming a donor. “

“I went to La Paz Hospital to find out, and there they performed a blood test and they gave me all the material I was going to need : breast pumps, bags to sterilize the parts of the breast pump in the microwave, a portable refrigerator with ice accumulators to transport the milk, mask and cap, sterilized and individually packaged bottles, and stickers with my donor details to stick on the bottle when I go to deliver it. “

“15 days after the analysis, they called me on the phone to confirm that I could start donating.”

  • How did you organize to donate?

I became a donor when my child was six months old and we began with complementary feeding. My approach was to express milk routinely and sometimes it would be for my baby and other times to donate .”

“I would express my milk in the morning, after showering with hot water, which favored the expression of milk and shortened the time. Then I would freeze it, and when I gathered several bottles I would take it to the hospital. The amount of milk that I expressed at the beginning it was not enough, until I started using the breast pump and I ended up extracting 110 ml each time “.

  • How long were you a donor?

I was donating milk for four months , but during that period I had some interruptions due to health problems for myself or my baby.”

  • Did you have any questions during the process?

“The only doubt I had is that I have toxoplasmosis antibodies and I was afraid that that is why I could not donate. But they explained to me that nothing was wrong, and that it did not affect the milk.”

  • What did the experience mean for you?

“When a baby comes into the world prematurely, it must be a very big emotional shock for the mother . The fact of having had a premature delivery also adds to the separation from your baby, and all this contributes to breastfeeding initial may not be easy in those cases. “

“The hospital told me that they had donated a total of three liters of milk that had contributed to the development and recovery of eight premature babies. It is not a high amount, but every drop counts.”

“Donating milk was a way to heal my wounds” (Verónica)

Verónica is a mother of three children, a lactation consultant and an active member of the Cantabrian association for breastfeeding support, La buena leche. His story as a donor is especially emotional, and he wanted to share it with us.

  • Why did you decide to become a milk donor?

“When it came to becoming a milk donor, two fundamental facts moved me. On the one hand, I knew that the milk I donated would go directly to the neonatal unit of the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital (Santander), where my daughter was admitted during her first two weeks of life

“Donating milk for the babies who were there was a way of thanking all the effort, professionalism and affection that the staff gave us during our admission. In addition, I felt that this gesture would help me heal the grief that I experienced during the first days of life of my daughter, in which I could not be with her and things were not as I had dreamed. “

“But also, from the association we have been demanding the launch of a breast milk bank for some time . So, when we finally got it, it was important for me to contribute to its operation by becoming a donor.

  • How did you organize to donate?

“In the hospital they behaved phenomenally, and they informed me in detail about the process of collecting and treating the milk . Every time I expressed milk, I refrigerated it and waited for several cans to call the messenger; approximately every 15 days” .

“This was a great help, because I live 75 km from the hospital and otherwise it would have been much more complicated. I donated approximately two to two and a half liters every 15 days .”

  • How long were you a donor?

“The milk bank started when my daughter was six months old, and they only allowed me to donate until she was one year old. So I was a milk donor for six months .

  • Did you have any questions during the process?

“Personally I had no doubts, but as a counselor I know that many mothers fear that if they donate milk they will take it away from their children . This is not the case, and it is important that mothers understand that the more stimulation (by sucking the baby on the , and the breast pump for another), the greater the production “ .

  • What did the experience mean for you?
“When you read the news about the number of premature babies who benefit from donated breast milk, you feel tremendously satisfied to have been able to give them such a gift.”

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