Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shares her things

That's what should be written on my report card. You know, like "plays well with others"? :)

Fair warning: some readers may consider this post a little TMI.

When the earthquake hit Haiti nearly two months ago, I immediately thought of the babies who may have been orphaned. Specifically, while I was nursing Leah one afternoon, I wondered how the babies in Haiti were going to survive without their mother's milk. There definitely wasn't sufficient clean water for formula. I decided to look into donating breastmilk somehow.

The more I researched and read, it seemed that the only way to donate was to find a milkbank to donate milk locally. If any was going to get to Haiti, it was going to get there through a milkbank. And I guess nationwide breastmilk donation levels are low, so in order for any milk to get out of the country, the nationwide levels had to go up. I had another friend who was interested in donating too, so our next step was finding a local milk bank. The closest location to me is a hospital in Minneapolis. I filled out their online application but got an email back a couple days later stating that my application was denied due to a medication I take. It is fine for breastfeeding but not for donating.

A couple weeks later, we were at a La Leche League meeting and somehow this whole story came up--how we had looked into donating and ended up trying to donate locally but that I couldn't because of some medications. After the meeting, a woman came over while we were getting our kids bundled up and asked if we'd ever be interested in donating milk to a friend of hers whose baby was sick and not gaining weight well. I said, "Of course!" and she got me in touch with Stephanie.

Stephanie's 10-month-old son Torin was born at just over 8 pounds and was very healthy until about 6 months. He started losing weight and rejected nursing and solids. Steph's supply began to drop because of Torin's lack of interest and the added stress of moving cross-country for her husband's job. Torin's pediatrician believed he had contracted some sort of virus--he dropped to just over 13 pounds at about 9 months. (Leah is 8 months and probably 20 pounds right now). He was well below the growth charts and clearly not thriving. Steph tried formula when her own supply wasn't enough, but Torin reacted poorly to it both internally (intestinal distress) and externally (rash around his mouth). Stephanie had a couple of new mom friends who were pumping and giving her extra milk, but it wasn't quite enough. So she was thrilled to learn that I was willing to help her out too.

Sure, sometimes I feel a bit like a cow. I sit and pump for a half hour every night before bed. But it's been a great way to get through the PILE of magazines that I never had time to read before! I've got quite the system down. Stephanie comes once a week--sometimes to chat and play (her second youngest son is almost Jack's age), sometimes just to pick up the 40-60 ounces I'm keeping in my freezer for her. And I'm so thrilled that this is something I can share.

Oh, and Torin is up to almost 18 pounds! He will be one on March 20th.

If you'll excuse me now, I have a date with my breast pump. :)


Lisa said...

I am SO jealous that you can pump that much!!! I pump EVERY SINGLE TIME after Layla eats, and I can barely get 4 ounces each day that we then use as a pre-bedtime bottle. URGH! Any advice??

Heidi said...

That's awesome! I was never able to get much either and my kids eventually weaned themselves around 7-8 months because I didn't have enough...that's great that you can share something like that!

emilyhansen said...

You are amazing! I love your heart and your willingness to share all that you have to offer! Thanks for being such an encouragement Erin.