Well, breast milk that is. I know this can be a "weird" subject to some people, but breast milk is best for babies - especially premature babies. The problem is with some premature babies, the mother cannot produce enough milk for them when they are born because they are so early. It could be something physical like your body just isn't ready or it can definitely be emotional related or both. When you are stressed, you don't produce as much milk. And I can attest to just how stressed out you can be as a mother of a newly born preemie. Also when producing breast milk, the mother should be drinking TONS of water. If you are preemie mom like me, I spent every hour I could sitting in the NICU beside Claire. No food or drinks are allowed in the NICU, just in the hallway outside the rooms. So I definitely did not drink enough water or fluids.
Anyways, I read this report ABC News online this morning about the milk banks were in dire need of donor milk (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/w_ParentingResource/breast-milk-banks-struggle-meet-demand/story?id=14865732). I am not sure if it's because there are so many more preemies that need the breast milk or if it's just because mothers are not donating. Breast milk is so important especially for preemie babies. I remember the day Claire was born and vaguely remember the neonatologists asking me to sign a form allowing them to feed Claire donor breast milk. At first I was grossed out. I even asked if I could just use a friends breast milk! Seriously, at least I would know where it came from!
Of course, they said no, we couldn't do that. But that they screen donor milk like they do blood for blood transfusions. Very, very carefully. And that until my milk came in, Claire REALLY needed breast milk. So I agreed and I can't remember how long she got the donor milk, but it wasn't more than a day or so. I mean, she was literally only getting like 3 mLs of milk at a feeding to begin with. That's nothing.
Anyways, I pumped and froze my breast milk and transported it to Duke for them to feed Claire with in the NICU until she started having stomach issues and they switched her to formula. So Claire was on breast milk probably about 4-5 months. I had worked so hard (other preemie moms that had to pump constantly know EXACTLY what I mean - it's not the same as being able to nurse) to get all of that milk, I was not throwing it away!
So I researched and found a local milk bank in Raleigh, got the paperwork, answered all of the questions, had my lab work done, etc. Once I was approved, I shipped my over 200 ounces to Raleigh knowing another preemie like Claire would be able to use my milk to help them grow big and strong.
If you are breast feeding mom and have excess, I encourage you to consider donating your milk to the milk bank. You can make a huge difference in someones life. If you want more information on the milk bank I used in Raleigh, just let me know! You can make a one time donation like I did, or if you are still nursing, you can make continual donations as long as you can.
The Scott Family