I always intended to breastfeed my babies – at least give it a shot. Little did I know that I’d become an exclusive breastfeeding mom who is also a three-time donor mom to the Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas.
Louis was born full term, weighing in at 6 lbs. 5 oz. five years ago this August. My milk came in right away and he willingly latched. A little coaching from the hospital’s lactation consultant helped us make sure he was properly latching.
Once I was home, I bought a single, manual hand pump because I wanted to up my supply and store some in the freezer. That way I’d have bottles to drop off at the church nursery. I soon realized that I was pumping a lot and not using the milk. At first, I poured the breastmilk down the drain. I later wondered if there was something I could do with my milk.
A few online searches led me to the Mothers’ Milk Bank. It was easy enough to do the donor mom screening – a short pre-screening phone call, filling out some paperwork, and then visiting a local lab to draw my blood. Then, I was approved and began dropping off my milk at Presbyterian Plano Hospital.
My hand pump worked just fine, but when Louis was 6 months old, I realized that a hand pump can really hurt your hand! I bought a single electric pump to make sure my wrist didn’t hurt anymore. We continued to breastfeed and pump the extra, keeping my supply up and nursing until Louis was 14 months old.
Three years ago his sister Samantha was born full-term, weighing in at 7 lbs. 1 oz. Once again, the hospital lactation consultant helped with her latch. We successfully breastfed for 12 months and also donated Samantha’s excess breastmilk to the Milk Bank.
Edward was born full-term 10 months ago, weighing 7 lbs. 7 oz. We’re still breastfeeding and donating to the Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. I’m glad that with each baby, we’ve had excess breastmilk available to donate to those in need. It wasn’t too much extra time and effort on our part to collect and drop off the milk, and I know that our milk can be used to save the lives of other babies.
Looking back, I remember that nursing in public was awkward at first; the entire process of unhooking a bra, moving a shirt, holding the baby under my cover was just awkward. Now I find it is so easy to nurse my baby. I don’t have to pack bottles, formula, or water. And breastfeeding isn’t wasteful.
I’ve breastfed my babies in restaurants, on trains, in the car, and at the zoo, mall, aquarium, or library. Everywhere. I’ve even learned how to nurse Edward while he’s in the carrier… Just practice and try it different ways and you’ll figure out what works best for you.
Breastfeeding Tips from Michelle LeBlanc:
- Consult your lactation consultant if you have any questions or problems.
- Practice nursing in public during off hours to gain experience and get comfortable with nursing, without feeling like people are looking at you. You’ll gain speed and enjoy how easy, simple and convenient it is to breastfeed.
- Connect with other mothers and build a network of mommy friends. The support and advice you receive can greatly help you on your own journey through motherhood.