Sharing Blessings

I don’t have a lot to give.  I am not wealthy, I barely make my bills. I am not extroverted and have a hard time being social, I’m very introverted.  I’m not the smartest person I know, although I try, I have friends and co workers who are much brighter than I am.  I may not know what I’m doing as a parent, but I like to think I’m heading in the right direction.  Despite all the things that I don’t have to give or strengths, abilities or talents that aren’t out of the ordinary, I still have one way that I can contribute to this world. 

You see, despite all of my shortcomings, I’ve been blessed with the ability to breastfeed my son.  A lot of women don’t produce milk as abundantly as I have been able to.  Many women can’t nurse well into their child’s 10th month of life like I have been able to.  There are even women who can’t nurse at all, or have enough to nurse multiples. 

When Henry was first born, I produced much more than he needed.  Please understand that his needs were met first and offered frequently.  After nursing my son I still would pump because I was producing a good amount.  Up until he was nearly 3 months old I would daily have almost one extra feeding I could freeze.  So needless to say I have a good stash of milk overtaking the freezer.  Ever since then it’s been a timing thing that if milk would almost near expiration I would give him that milk and freeze the meal I would have nursed him with to keep my stash in abundance and still meet his needs.  I’ve been doing that since then.  A few months ago I was watching the news and they were talking about a program called “Mothers’ Milk Bank” that was in need of donated breast milk for infants in the hospital who could use it.  I thought about it for a long time.  I hope to nurse my son until he’s a year old and then wean him to whole milk as his pediatrician recommends.  Once I do, I’d like to offer first thing in the morning one meal of breast milk until my stash runs out.  This way I stretch the time in his life where he has that added nutrients that only human milk can provide to a baby.  I want to give his immune system the best fighting defence as possible.  So it was hard to make this decision for selfish reasons.  They pasteurize the milk for the babies who will be receiving it.  For more information on the “Mothers’ Milk Bank” please visit their site at:  http://www.bestfedbabies.org/mIndex.htm .  

After thinking about it and speaking with one of the milk bank representatives I decided to go ahead and do it.  After all, I might not be able to give much in my life that is worth a lot, but I do have this.  I kind of think of it as ‘paying it forward’ for everyone who has been there for me in my life that I simply can’t do nearly what they have done for me.  (For example: my grandmother, Linda - a mother-like friend who helped me with collage forms, tax assistance / advice, and support , in addition to my in laws who continuously selflessly give to us financially and help us with Henry.  These are just a few too.)  The milk bank only accepts donations selectively.  They have standards and rightly so.  They want to make sure that the donors don’t have Hep B, Hep C, HIV, syphilis and do other tests to make sure the milk is safe to give.  They ask for a minimum donation of 150 oz. and that you have at least that to keep for your own child.  Their first concern is that the donors only give milk that is in addition to a comfortable supply for that donors child.  Only then will they accept it.  I have given 150 oz and I still have 200 oz in the freezer.  

I answered their questions.  I went in to have my blood drawn.  Finally I donated the milk.  It was that easy.  I’m happy with my decision.  After all, if it were my child in the hospital who I couldn’t provide enough milk for, a preemie, sick, or for whatever reason, I would want this for him.  I’m glad I can do this for another human being other than my child.  I would encourage any woman who has an abundance of milk frozen to think about how they could impact another life for good in the easiest way to possibly donate.  You could be saving a life.

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