1.13.2009

got milk?

This past Spring our church did a sermon series on "Determined to Make a Difference". It really made me think about what my passions are & what I can do to make a difference. One of the things I feel strongly about is breastfeeding. I know that not all women choose to breastfeed & that is fine, totally their choice. To each her own! But, for me, I feel that "breast is best" & I chose to breastfed Kate for a year .

During the sermon series I was newly pregnant with Claire & I had TONS of frozen breast milk in my freezer that was leftover from Kate. I nursed Kate until I found out I was pregnant with Claire, but I had also been giving Kate was drinking whole milk since she was 11 months because it was fattier than my breast milk & she needed to gain weight. As silly as it sounds, I wondered if my frozen breast milk could make a difference! I couldn't bear to throw it away and I wondered if I could donate it to a hospital or something.

So, I went on the internet to see where and if I could donate. One of the first websites I found was the International Breast Milk Project. I was inspired. Check out the website, it is great. Basically, what the International Breast Milk Project stands for...it is a non profit organization that provides donated breast milk to infants suffering from malnutrition, poverty & disease in Africa. Their vision is that every infant will have access to human milk as a first choice when their own mother's milk isn't available.

After reading their website, I decided to apply to be a breast milk donor. I am one of those women who produces A LOT of milk, so I thought I would "share the wealth" and donate my excess milk to a good cause. I started the process when I was pregnant with Claire & I finally got this email today!

Hello Melissa,

Congratulations, you are now a qualified breast milk donor with the International Breast Milk Project! By becoming a breast milk donor, you have taken a step that can directly impact the lives of infants orphaned by disease and poverty in Africa.

The population of infants we are serving may be involved in a fragile health situation & you have been qualified based on your blood work & DNA sample. We are very excited to have your generous participation.

I thought you would be curious about what happens to your milk once it arrives at Prolacta Bioscience.

  • The milk will go through a drug screen, DNA match, and bacterial testing
  • Once done, the milk will be pooled with other donors to make a large batch of milk
  • The milk will be pasteurized to kill bacteria and viruses that may be in the milk
  • The milk will be filled into bottles
  • Samples will be sent for a full nutritional, bacterial, and viral analysis
  • 25% will be shipped to orphans in Africa and 75% will be made into human milk fortifier and sent to US hospitals.
We will contact you next week about setting up the shipping of your breast milk.

Thank you for your donation,
Robin at IBMP

I am really excited to be qualified as a donor. It has been over 5 month process in order to get qualified. I had to fill out a detailed questionnaire, get letters from my doctor & Claire's pediatrician, had to put a thermometer in my home freezer, record & report the temperature for 5 days, have a nurse come to my house & draw my blood (which I had to Fed-Ex overnight on ice) and give myself a DNA swab test which I also had to Fed-Ex overnight. It was quite the process, but I am so glad they were so thorough!

So, if you are a lucky one like me & are able to produce an abundance of breast milk, I encourage you to consider being a donor to the International Breast Milk Project.

2 comments:

  1. How cool is that!!! I wish there had been something like that when I had my babies ('97 & '02). It broke my heart when I threw away a small freezer full after each baby.

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  2. That's so cool Melissa! I could never pump (I would get about 2 oz. each time) so it wasn't worth it but this is awesome that you can give back in this way. Good for you!

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