The Gift of Breastmilk
How My Breastmilk Became a Gift to Others
By Laura Gallagher
I have 2 children, Jack who is 5, and Finn who is 6 months old. With both I have had an oversupply of breastmilk. It got to the point that in order to get relief I would pump out milk that I didn't require to feed my baby. I didn't need it so I didn't store it, I poured it down the drain. I am very passionate about the benefits of breastfeeding and the magic of breastmilk, it fascinates me that my body can produce exactly what my baby needs and help fight off illness and sickness, keep him strong and sustained, so I always felt bad pouring it away but didn't see an alternative.
Then during a conversation with a mum at Jack’s kindergarten I mentioned my issue of oversupply. The next day I got a text message asking me if I would be willing to donate my breastmilk to a friend of hers who lived locally and had breast cancer (a stranger to me). She was diagnosed during pregnancy and was and is undergoing aggressive chemo so could not feed her baby herself. Her little boy was not doing great with formula, he was constipated & windy, and her doctor told her he also had a weakened immune system, so his mum was seeking help. As soon as I was asked if I would donate I did not need any time to think about it, yes of course! I would be honoured to help this mum. She has enough on her plate. So I express my milk into pump and save bags and drop it off every few days. I also help another person with breast cancer, who I met through connecting on "human milk for human babies", a Facebook group linking breast milk donors with those seeking help. No money changes hands, it is all good will. If I have enough, and depending who needs what I sometimes give milk to 1-3 people in need.
It has been really rewarding and a humbling experience to meet these brave women. It really does take a village to raise a child, which is rare nowadays in a culture that is so buried into their own personal life & technology. Helping other mums has now made my "issue" an absolute gift. For that I am grateful.
Medela is proud to support Laura by providing her with Medela Pump & Save bags to support her generous gift of donating breastmilk to mums in need.