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Mother Donates Thousands of Ounces of Breast Milk, Part 1

Mother Donates Thousands of Ounces of Breastmilk, part 1 #donate #breastmilk #preemieLisa’s story caught my eye in a cloth diaper group recently when she shared her bittersweet moment of the last few ounces of milk she will be donating. In total, this mother donated over 5,000 ounces of life giving breast milk to three families providing valuable nutrition that can not be beat. Today she is sharing her story with us.

Mother Donates Thousands of Ounces of Breast Milk

What made you decide to donate breast milk?

The nurses in the NICU were my tipping point. I had an oversupply with my daughter due to her NICU hospitalization and took well to pumping. We eventually used up my freezer stash with her when I returned to work, but I knew I was most likely going to have more milk than I could possibly use with my son. I didn’t think I would produce as much as I did, though! I knew I wanted to help the families that have production issues, were adopting, or even just needed to have some extra bags to keep for a night out.

How did you get started donating breast milk?

I started collecting breast milk specifically for donation while my son was in the NICU after being born at 32 weeks. I was producing at least 40 ounces more a day than he could consume, and those NICU fridges and freezers are not equipped to handle one person’s stash like that. My husband and father-in-law went out and purchased a 7 cubic foot freezer for just my milk and even brought coolers when they came to the hospital to visit to transport the milk home.

I looked into my local chapter of Eats on Feets – Minnesota and read up on informed milk-sharing and decided I liked the idea of meeting my recipient and I loved the community aspect of it. I also was drawn to the immediate gratification on the part of the recipient – they needed milk and generally could get a response within a week or less. After I had about 1,000 ounces saved up and I was sure my supply wasn’t going to mysteriously tank on me (and the freezer was getting full!), I sent them a message saying I had milk available to donate, with a brief health history and information about myself. After that, it was history.

What challenges did you face while donating breast milk?

Physically, the toll of having a preemie baby is hard on any mother who decides to nurse/pump, and any family in general. While it always gets easier, there is no way to adequately describe how soul-crushingly tired those first weeks are. I was still pumping every three to four hours after discharge because my son was having issues latching and swallowing, and was still needing to be bottle-fed after nursing with a shield to keep his weight up. We were on that schedule until he was 4 months old. By that time, I was only pumping for 6 minutes at a session and getting almost 6 ounces on each side. I was convinced I could have fed triplets {Editor’s Note: Read this triplet mama’s story of breastfeeding her triplets}. I did have some issues with clogged ducts, which go hand-in-hand with oversupply. Around 9 months, I had a nasty bout of mastitis, but that was managed with antibiotics and lots of rest.

When my son was 11 months, he suffered a traumatic brain injury while at daycare and was hospitalized for 6 days in the PICU and Peds unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN. I have never been so scared in my life and while my main concern was on him, I was afraid he would never nurse again, or worse. I am happy to report that the nurses and doctors there were phenomenal and so supportive of breastfeeding and pumping. We were even allowed to bed-share in the PICU and for him to nurse on demand. They accommodated us on every level and made sure I had a hospital grade pump available at all times. My son is healing marvelously and has made a great recovery.

Socially, people are still wary of the idea of someone offering, and even more so, of someone accepting breast milk from another person. It seems like a social taboo to be taking milk from another woman and feeding it to your baby. But, that didn’t sway me. I knew how much it meant to the family that had a baby who couldn’t tolerate formula, or the baby who could only handle a formula that a family couldn’t afford. I have been blessed with a family that has been nothing but supportive of my decision to donate breast milk to others, but have definitely caught some flack from people who see it as “gross” or “creepy.”

My stance is to always inform and to keep my attitude positive on the subject.

Stay tuned for the conclusion to Lisa’s journey with donating breast milk! More information on how to donate breastmilk.

Jennifer Gerlach is an Army wife and homeschool mom with three children born in three different states. She loves encouraging other mothers, learning more about national living, going on field trips with her kids and sharing homeschool activities and everything that comes to mind for moms on UpsideDownKids.


  1. What a great story! Back in the day there were women called wet nurses who would breast feed your child if you couldn’t before formula.. It’s not creepy it’s what babies need! Its beautiful what you have done!!

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