Oh how I love typing that when I'm chatting with my on- line mommies.
When Sweet Pea was born, for multiple reasons, she wasn't able to nurse. So, I resolved myself to pumping and bottle feeding her. But at about 2 months (just last week) she decided she was done with bottles and just wanted to nurse. That made me so happy and it felt like I was finally getting that bonding time that I had missed out on in the first few weeks.
This whole experience has made me realize a couple things. One good and one not so good.
I realized that I have looked down on other moms I see out in public bottle feeding. Who am I to pass judgment on them without knowing what their story really is. When people saw me bottle feeding Sweet Pea, did they, like I use to, automatically assume that I was too lazy to breastfeed and took the "easy" route of formula feeding?
I've come to realize that I can't look down on them. I don't know, if like me, their babies couldn't nurse for one reason or another. Or if they were getting up every 2 hours to pump just to try to keep their supply up. Or what if they had adopted their baby? Or if they were too uncomfortable to nurse in public... So many things that I now see that can affect how a mom chooses to feed her baby.
The good that has come out of this whole experience is that even if a mom can't nurse, there still is an option for her to give her baby breast milk. With all the pumping that I was doing in the early weeks to make sure I had enough, I ended up with a nice little stash. But now I don't need it. So what am I suppose to do with it?
Hospitals and milk banks typically won't take stored milk. There is an application process that potential donors need to go through before their milk will be accepted. So, that option was out for me. Then one of my Above Rubies moms directed me to this website.
HM4HB is a message board for connecting moms- those looking to donate and those looking for donations. The nice thing about this website is that it's up to the individuals to decide how much background information they need to accept the milk donation.
So, last week I posted that I had (conservatively) 600oz frozen that I was looking to donate with the possibility of more- I have to continue to pump until after Sweet Pea has her surgery. Within a couple days, I had two moms contact me wanting part of my stash. One because breast milk helps with her LO's asthma and the other because her baby is the result of a surrogate pregnancy.
Unlike milk banks that charge for the milk, HM4HB is free. The moms who donate their milk typically only ask for storage bags in return and sometimes a small fee to help cover the cost of the pump. The only "requirement" of moms asking for donations is that they truly cannot nurse their babies- either because of surrogacy, adoption or a genuine lack of milk for medical reasons.