Enter my friend Emily, a fellow UD alum and breastfeeding mama of many, who works with a very cool private donor breastmilk organization called Eats on Feets. When I read a facebook status update from her the other day, I knew I wanted to help her spread the word. But I'm also lazy, you know? Aha! Emily can write the blog post FOR ME! Winning.
To sum us up: we are a grassroots organization that believes every child has the right to breast milk regardless of the financial, medical, or personal issues of the parents. We help protect this right by facilitating connections between parents who can't breastfeed (or fully breastfeed) and those mothers who have extra breast milk to donate.
In my year with them, I have helped adoptive mothers (some with drug addicted babies) provide their infants with breast milk and seen them thrive. I've helped mothers, crushed with the despair of a failed breastfeeding relationship, find peace knowing their babies are still breastfed even if it's not from their breasts. I've helped mothers desperate because their children cannot tolerate any of the formulas find their way back to good health thanks to donor milk. I’ve stood in awe as breast cancer survivors defiantly insist that cancer will not deprive their infants of breast milk like it deprived them of their breasts. (here's where I'm starting to tear up, y'all) I've watched mothers who have suffered the loss of a baby continue to pump as a way to work through the grief process, and then joyfully cried with them as they recounted the comfort it brought to see their child's milk nourish another little life. I've personally experienced the blessed feeling of being able to share my abundance with those less fortunate. (okay. full on cryin' now)
We are an international group with chapters all over the world, and while we acknowledge the potential risks, we strongly believe those risks can be managed through informed choice, mothers screening their donors, flash pasteurization, and following CDC storage guidelines (loving AND smart. My two favorite things!). Also, while we see the benefits of milk banks, we also see the inherent problems in them. Only the smallest and sickest babies can get prescriptions for milk bank milk (note to self: learn more about milk banks, too); this eliminates many babies who still desperately need it. Milk bank milk costs around $4.00+ an ounce. With a 6 month old baby drinking 30 oz/day that simply isn't a realistic option for most families (ain't nobody got money fo' dat!).
Many mothers want to donate, but don't meet milk bank requirements. For example, if her baby is over 6 months old, a mom can't donate. Or if she's traveled to England in the last 10 years. Or if she doesn't have at least 100 oz or more to give. This doesn't make her milk bad, and it’s a shame to see it go to waste. (Milk Banks! Y U no like my boob juice???) That's where we come in!
I am so excited to have you help us get the word out and if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask! People can also check our Facebook page or, better yet, like their local chapter page. If you have milk to donate, need milk, want to volunteer, or just want to support us in spirit, please stop on by. The more the word gets out, the more babies that benefit!