Becoming a Milk Donor: Shipping Liquid Gold

I did it! I saved and donated 200 ounces of breastmilk to the Mother’s Milk Bank in Columbus, Ohio!bag of milk

Earlier, I posted about my journey to get here, how I needed to supplement my milk for my first son and now, thanks to tandem nursing, I have milk to spare with my third son.

Truly, I’m so glad I had this opportunity and I love thinking about the good my milk will do. I know the bank is committed to research, so even if there is a reason my milk can’t be fed to babies, it will be used for scientific studies.

So many people in my community supported me as I worked toward this 200-ounce benchmark. When I hit 184 ounces, I had to start making calls to gather back the canisters of milk I have stashed in various freezers in my neighborhood. (Not to mention, several neighbors helped me get supplies to draw blood and actually draw my blood for testing!)

me with many bags of donor milk

Here I am with my shipping container and a bunch of bags of milk I gathered from neighbors’ freezers.

Thankfully (and this is probably the only reason I’m thankful for this) we hit a streak of weather where the temperature stayed below zero for several days. Though schools were canceled and delayed, I knew FedEx would still be transporting packages and I knew the milk would be ok on the porch for a little while as I prepared the shipping container.

I loved looking at the different color shades in the canisters from my baby’s life so far. The earlier jars had bright yellow milk, truly liquid gold while some of the newer ones were a bit lighter.

I loved thinking back on how my life has changed over the past six months, how I’ve grown into my role as a mother of three, how I’ve survived tandem nursing, how I’ve managed to go back to work, albeit very part time, while still keeping up with my feisty boys.

Some of those September jars? They made me remember how terrified I was to stay home one day by myself with three kids. Some of the February jars show me how something once-scary now seems totally possible.

shipping carton filled with donor milk

A carton full of frozen milk will keep itseslf cool enough to keep the milk safe. After nestling in all my jars of milk, I filled the rest of the space with newspaper.

Most of all, I’m happy that I won’t be pumping so much anymore. Yes, I was only pumping once a day to reach this quantity, but I committed to a one-time donation and that feels like enough for me. The past few afternoons, I’ve had a bit of time to read and paused to wonder where it came from–then it hit me. I wasn’t pumping or sterilizing parts!

I was grateful to be home when the FedEx worker came to pick up my carton from the front porch. I ran out and told him, “This package is full of breastmilk for premies!”

“Is it??” he asked, “I’m proud to carry it!”

“Drive carefully,” I hollered after him, as he hauled away so, so much love and hard work. Travel safely, jars of milk. A wide network of helpers from Pittsburgh helped you on your way.

Have you donated your breastmilk? Leave us a comment to share your story!

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