Recently I had a chat with one of the amazing women that donates her breastmilk to neo-natal units around Ireland.
Here’s a few questions I put to Judy Bolger from Graignamanagh, Co. Kilkenny about her experience and what advice she would give to anyone else willing to do it….
1. How did you hear about this project?
I actually follow medela (the breast pump company) on FB and they were always putting up post of mothers in America looking for donations for their sick babies or of success stories in American hospitals, so I googled Irish milk bank and found the only one in Ireland and contacted them directly.
2. Why did you decide to do it?
I decided to do it for a number of reasons…I am an advocate breast feeder and like to share the knowledge and the goodness of the milk… Casey went into cardiac arrest when he was three days old. He was in an induced coma for 5 days and spent 3 weeks in Temple Street and the doctors were non the wiser as to why he got sick… Through out the whole process he was fed my breast milk through his nose feed and I believed it saved his life so I wanted to do what ever I could to help babies in similar situations.
3. How long did you donate for?
I only thought to donate with my second son Ryan who will be 1 in July. I contacted the milk bank in his early weeks so I was able to donate for nearly 6 months. The max is when your own baby is 6 months because the milk isn’t donatable after the 6 months mark.
4. Did you find it gruelling at times?
With my first son Casey, I had a huge supply. I was in college full time so I would pump every 4 hours or so and get up to 10 ozs. So i knew with Ryan that I would have plenty of milk. I went back to college in September after Ryan was born but had pumped the whole summer and stocked up an entire freezer drawer for Ryan and therefore everything I pumped was extra for the babies… So no, I didn’t find it gruelling but I was extremely lucky to have such a supply… Oh and a MAGNIFICENT pump which I swear by.
5. What would be your advice for anyone considering doing it?
My advice to anyone considering donating or even pumping in general is not to give up!! Your body is amazing and it is easily manageable… If your supply dries up you just need to pump more frequently…. What is also great is, if it does slow up, it does not mean it can’t increase…. If I slow up on my pumping over 2-3 days I notice a difference in supply, however, if I just start pumping more it increases. Your body is amazing and it is such a worthwhile experience knowing that you can help others… If I ever have another baby I will most definitely be doing it again… I sent over 70x 7oz bottles and feel great about it!
I have to say chatting to Judy has inspired me alot. I plan to try and breastfeed again on my second baby (and possibly donate too) and Judy has shown that it can be done with good advice and a determined mind!
For more information contact : Sperrin Lakeland Milkbank, Fermanagh