The bottom drawer of our freezer has been otherwise out of use for a while. Well not completely, as it has been home to litres of breast milk. I’d stored it up thinking that Emily might take a bottle and that I could maybe have left her with Dan on the odd occasion. However that never really happened. Emily will take milk from a cup but she would rather not if she has a choice. This meant that my ever increasing stash of milk was sat in my freezer rapidly heading towards a date when it would be unusable.
This led me to turn to Human Milk for Human Babies UK. I’d discovered this group a while back. They are essentially a platform for the sharing of milk. People post on the group whether they are looking for milk (expressed or a wet nurse) or if they have milk to donate. Participants are encouraged to get to know each other to ensure that they are happy with the arrangement and then you share. It’s what woman in this country used to do. It’s what woman in countries around the world still do. And it’s gaining popularity again here.
A simple idea really; if you’ve got lots of boob juice, give it to those that want it. Now before people start freaking out I have a couple of points to make. Firstly milk sharing is recommended by the World Health Organisation above the use of formula. It goes: breastfeeding, expressed breast milk, a wet nurse, donated breast milk then formula. Secondly the “normal” alternative, formula, comes from an entirely different animal, not just another member of the same species. Finally HM4HBUK recommends that those receiving milk do whatever research they need to be happy with it. This includes requesting copies of medical records from donors. This is a choice. No one is forced into this.
Anyway I follow this group on Facebook and I knew that the milk would need using soon. I had been meaning to post that I had this milk available, however I was beaten to it. Another mother in my area posted that she was looking for milk for her little boy. He is a similar age to Emily and needed the milk to top up that he received from his mother by pumping. I made contact and before I knew it I was handing our milk over. In a carrier bag of all things. An M&S one though. Classy!
I can’t pretend that I didn’t feel pretty good about this. It’s quite something to have helped someone in a personal way. There’s a child out there who continues to grow and thrive because of milk I made. I made it! Therefore I’d encourage others to do the same. Some hospitals around the UK have milk banks where you can donate breast milk to help sick or premature babies. If you don’t have a hospital like this nearby, then think about Human Milk for Human Babies. Maybe you can find someone there who will come to your house and thank you endlessly for a gift that you can make in your sleep.