Isn’t there a day/week for just about any cause these days? Today I found out that it is World Milksharing Week September 24-30. This is a cause close to my heart after having premature babies and managing to pump excess milk.
From the World Milksharing Week website: “We hope that by raising awareness about milksharing, families will never again feel forced into feeding breastmilk substitutes –an act which is not without risk to the health of the child. If a mother is unable to breastfeed, or unable to produce enough breastmilk, families can access the milk of another healthy woman through wet-nursing or milk donation.”
Close to Eva’s discharge from hospital it became necessary to deal with the excess milk in deep freezer storage at the hospital. With a little research we were able to find a milk bank in Oxford (2.5 hours away) as Bristol didn’t have one.
Following a few blood tests my donation was approved and 25L of breastmilk was delivered my Andrew’s parents.
The Mercy Hospital, where Hugo was born, also has a milkbank which opened around the time of his birth. It pasteurises and stores donated milk for use with premature and sick babies whose mothers cannot produce enough milk. I currently have milk in the deep freezer at a very kind neighbour’s house but sadly it doesn’t qualify for donation.
It would be wonderful if milksharing became more common not just for tiny new babies but bigger babies whose mama’s milk supply has dwindled.
World Breastfeeding Week was celebrated from August 1st to 7th so I’m a bit late but thought that I would join in anyway. Hugo and I are enjoying a beautiful breastfeeding relationship. I am thankful daily for the joy and comfort that it brings to both of us.
I love that sound soon after he attaches where I can hear the thirst quenching milk slurping down into his hungry tummy. It’s a beautiful sound.
I was lucky enough to be able to try to feed Hugo from Day 2 despite his early (33 weeks gestation) arrival. Of course he was still fed by nasogastric tube for a further 3 weeks but soon learnt to feed for himself.
Hugo did have some issues with attachment, which was helped by seeing my local ABA counsellor, but now is fine.
Every time Hugo is weighed (and gains weight effortlessly unlike his sister) I am in awe of the power of the human body. This substance that my body produces is enough to make my little boy grow exponentially. This growth rate is slowing down now and will need to be supplemented with other food in the future but right now it is perfect for him. I think that God’s design is very clever.
Having a toddler in tow means that the convenience and portability of breast feeding is very handy. I try to feed Hugo in whichever space Eva is playing in so that I can join in and there is less frustration. Sometimes feeding him in the sling while at the playground is the easiest part of the day.
Although Eva self weaned last December she now likes to have the occasional attempt at a feed especially in the evening. However she has forgotten the motions so can’t get any milk herself but is happy to enjoy the drops that I express for her. I love to see them sharing in this way.
The fathers and families who support breastfeeding mothers are wonderful. Andrew’s support and encouragement is essential to my motivation. Together we prioritise breast milk as the way we nourish our child.
I only hope that we can continue this for a long while yet.