Lets talk about milk sharing

by katherine on March 12, 2013

Milk-sharing was something I never in a million years thought I would do. But here I am, with an abundant milk supply and an over-flowing freezer getting ready to donate my freezer stash of breast milk for the fourth time.

Back before I made my first donation, I went back and forth on whether or not to do it. If I saved it all up, I could stop nursing Reese early and she could just use what’s in the freezer until her tummy could handle regular milk. But then I thought about it some more and realized I didn’t want to be done nursing Reese, even if I was projecting my thoughts and feelings on the matter months into the future. Not to mention, I just still wasn’t…sure. I may be a bit granola, but was I that granola?

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Quite a while back {like, years before I was pregnant with Reese, but after I was done nursing Rylee}, a friend from high school/facebook friend had mentioned something about Eats on Feets, a milk-sharing something or other. I liked their facebook page, then went about my business. Once I realized I had too much extra milk in my freezer, i started looking at their page. I figured I’d be a pretty good candidate for milk sharing…I don’t smoke. I rarely drink, and when I do it’s after I’m done feeding/pumping for the day. I’m dairy limited, due to the fact that Reese’s sensitive tummy can’t handle it when I drink milk. The page creeping continued For a couple of weeks. I’d read posts from moms requesting help for their little ones, but I was never “called” to reach out or make a connection.

Then one day I saw a post from a dad requesting milk for his son that was just a few weeks old. I took a closer look and realized that I knew the baby’s mom. That was apparently the push I needed. I sent her a message through Facebook.

Since then, I’ve donated to her twice, and getting ready for a third. When I traveled to SanFran a couple of months ago, I connected with a local mama via the Eats on Feets NoCal chapter and left my milk at the hotel’s front desk for her to pick up. And in just a few weeks I’m headed to Arizona and will be sending all my milk home with Brandy to help build a freezer stash for little Ollie.

Mamas utilize milk sharing for various reasons. Sometimes a mama may be going through a medical procedure and her milk supply is low. Sometimes a mama just can’t produce enough and needs to supplement in order to feed her baby. Sometimes a mama had her baby prematurely and she’s struggling to produce milk for her baby. Sometimes a mama just isn’t able to produce milk at all, tries to give her baby formula and the baby has trouble digesting the formula.

You might think its totally weird. Or gross. If I’m being totally honest, if I think about it too much, I still kind of get weirded out by it. But something changed inside me along the way and the health and well being of babies is more important to me.

If you’re interested in learning more about milk sharing, I encourage you to check out Eats on Feets. There are chapters all over the world connecting moms with an abundance of milk to babies that need it.

Milk sharing isn’t for everyone. And that’s fine with me. To be honest, I don’t care what (formula vs. your own breastmilk vs. “borrowed” breastmilk) and/or how (bottle vs. breast vs. a combo) you feed your baby as long as you’re doing what’s right for you and your family and that sweet baby of yours is getting fed. Period.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carole (SurfMomma) March 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I felt a little odd about it at first, but I'm all about milk sharing! I donated mine to a milk bank so it went to malnourished infants, drug babies, and NICU babies in need. I had never heard of Eats on Feets before but it sounds like a really awesome program!

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2 Sarah March 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I think what you are doing is awesome!! My prayer is that when Baby Girl comes 1. I have enough supply for her and 2. I can have enough to share too!

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3 Brandy March 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Lilmissmilkguns strikes again!

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4 Martha March 25, 2013 at 11:10 am

My sweet little man has had donated milk his whole 8 months so far. It made my cancer diagnosis a little bit easier to deal with since I was devastated about having nursing taken away because of chemo. WE LOVE our Milkie Mamas! :) Thank you for all of those who generously work and share! <3

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5 Alice @MumsMakeLists March 29, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Such an interesting post – I don't think a lot of mums know that they could do it. Would love for you to share it at The Baby Shower – Alice @ Mums Make Lists x

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6 Erin April 12, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Love this. I've only shared with people I know (first my sister-in-law for my preemie niece) and now with one of my best friends for her boys, but I LOVE seeing my abundant freezer supply go to good use!

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7 mummy2oo April 23, 2013 at 12:30 am

As a recipient of donor breast milk I cannot say enough wonderful things for all that you wonderful over suppliers are doing for us low milk suppliers. I am happliy giving donor milk as well as my own small amount to my third child after a breast reduction. It has changed my ideas and I am so blessed to have found the eats on feets and human milk 4 human babies web site!

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8 Alice @MumsMakeLists April 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this at The Friday Baby Shower – I'm featuring the post at tomorrow's party, Alice x

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9 christinh July 24, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Great to hear a donor mama's POV! I am a new mom of a preemie struggling with a low supply. The NICU provided donor milk for our baby for a short period of time and then we bought donor milk a couple of times after that. Now that we are home and my supply hasn't increased as I hoped it would, I am looking at all my options. I'm interested in milk sharing, BUT I'm struggling with how to make sure I am not putting my baby at risk. Praying about it, talking to my husband and looking for real stories from moms online. Thanks for sharing your story!

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10 Lilmissrysmama July 25, 2013 at 11:29 am

Thanks for your comment!…I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with your milk supply. Like I mentioned above, it took me a little while to finally "pull the trigger" and donate to someone so I can definitely imagine your hesitation. For what it's worth, I have yet to come across anyone that has been disappointed by the Eats of Feets organization.

Just remember no matter which path you end up taking, it's what's best for you and your baby.

Keep up the good work mama!

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11 Sandra February 20, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Hi, we’re adopting a baby (newborn) in May and I’m wordineng if maybe this is something I should consider doing for our baby. How can I find a donor in my area? I live in Woodland, Calif (northern calif) ..

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12 Lilmissrysmama March 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Hi there… sorry for my delayed response! I used Eats on Feets to connect with mamas in need: http://www.eatsonfeets.org/#home They have a Northern California chapter: https://www.facebook.com/EOFNorCal

Good luck and congratulations on your adoption! Please feel free to reach out with any other questions. :)

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