Breastmilk. I have very little. So, after trying all of the magical cocktails without success, I gave up trying to incessantly milk myself and turned to breastmilk donation. This decision for me was simple and straightforward, human milk for human babies, but it has led to a lot of interesting questions (amongst other things) from my peers, some of which I thought I’d tackle here.
Q. So, you’re using someone else’s breastmilk to feed your baby? How does that work?
A. Well, breastmilk is good for about a year after it is frozen and some people are blessed with an abundant supply so they have to pump anyhow. Since they pump regularly, they have a supply that that don’t really need, and instead of throwing it away, they offer it to people who need it.
A. There are various online groups (eats for feets, milkshare, human milk for human babies) to name a few. A lot comes from word of mouth.
Q. Does it cost money?
A. No. The breastmilk that costs money has been pasteurized etc… And is generally given to babies with compromised immune systems. Really, as a feminist, the thought of me charging someone for breastmilk makes me feel ill. Not to mention, if there is a fee involved, inevitably someone out there will try to exploit it and sell you cows milk, not caring that there is someone on the other end who will suffer greatly. I always offer to cover the cost of storage bags, but beyond that, there is no fee. Women help women, isn’t that important?
Q. People really do this?!
A. Yes. And it had been going on for a loooong time. It’s not weird, it’s just not talked about much.
Q. Don’t you think that’s gross?
A. No. I think it’s gross that you think it’s gross. I mean, you drink the milk from a cow to which you know is pumped full of god knows what and you think it’s weird I feed my human baby, human milk. Least I can ask them what drugs they’re on.
Q. How do you know that the person isn’t on drugs, or something?
A. I don’t. Obviously, if I met someone who looked like a “dope fiend”, I would use better judgment but… Really people… Do you think women who care enough to seek out breastmilk donation boards are going to do so with malicious intent? A lot of these woman have been so very kind and compassionate, it’s very uplifting. I mean, I could ask for blood tests and things, but truly, I would argue that a variety of breastmilk donors would only strengthen her immune system, not the other way around.
I think that’s the gist of just about every conversation I’ve had around it. I wouldn’t have posted this except I realize when I post on Facebook, or “like” something… I always get questions. With that said, I’m just about out and stressing over it. So, if you have any, or know someone, please contact me. It really does mean a lot to me. Somehow I will find a way to pay it forward, but for now I am going to just feel blessed by those who have reached out to me and helped me thus far.