Donor human milk; a gift for a lifetime
Today’s blog post is a guest post written by Kara Rosales, La Leche League Leader in Arlington, Texas. Kara reflects on the importance of peer support for the breastfeeding mom.
Being both a La Leche League Leader and former breastfeeding mom, I see the value in being in a room of nursing women. Not only are our meetings a place for mothers to discuss breastfeeding concerns, but they often become safe places for many topics beyond latch and growth spurts. Here are several additional benefits of attending a breastfeeding support group.
While kangaroo care (also known as skin-to-skin care) is practiced on preterm infants, it has been known to benefit full term infants as well. Visit the March of Dimes’ website for more information on kangaroo care in the NICU.
Benefits of kangaroo care for both preterm and full term infants include:
Dads can practice kangaroo care, too! Since babies are often familiar with their father’s voice while in utero, skin-to-skin with Dad can often calm Baby down. Additionally, it helps promote father-infant bonding. For more benefits of fathers practicing kangaroo care, click here.
My husband is in the Air Force and we were stationed in Okinawa, Japan when our twins, Sawyer and Lucia, were born prematurely at 32 weeks. When the twins were only six days old, they discovered Sawyer had a heart condition and we were immediately flown from Japan to San Diego, CA, and lived in the Ronald McDonald House for a few months while Sawyer’s heart was operated on.
Unfortunately, the NICU did not have donor milk available at that time. The twins were supplemented with formula until I could produce enough milk for them. I wish they had been given donor milk instead, but I was thankful I was able to produce what they needed. The twins are now 19 months old and thriving! The NICU was so kind to us and I really have been wanting to give back to premature babies somehow, so I was excited to learn of this opportunity when I researched donating breast milk.
I researched breast milk donation online after I realized that I was overproducing for my third baby, Ayan. I had always wanted to give back somehow since the NICU in Okinawa and San Diego were both so amazing to us. I couldn’t have gotten through that experience without the incredible staff and the sweet volunteers. I was disheartened to learn that there wasn’t a milk bank near me in Arizona, so I contacted Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas just to check out if there were any long-distance options and was excited when Simone responded. So far I have been able to share 400 ounces of pumped milk since Ayan’s birth in November 2013. I plan to continue to donate milk as long as I can.
Autumn’s breastfeeding advice:
Don’t worry about all of the breastfeeding rules you hear about- “NEVER do this, NEVER do that…. You HAVE to do this….” I remember hearing a lot of that and stressing so much! Do what works for you and don’t be hard on yourself.
Leptin was first discovered in human breast milk in 1997. It can be transferred from maternal serum and is produced by a lactating breast (source). It is found in its highest levels in colostrum during the first few days of life and slowly decreases during the following six months (source).
High levels of leptin in early lactation have been shown to provide protection to infants from excess weight gain, yet they still remain within normal weight ranges. It could play an important role in breastfed infants showing lower rates of obesity when compared to formula fed infants (source).
For information on becoming a milk donor,
please contact Simone Summerlin at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 817.810.0071