Recently I was blessed with the ability to donate breastmilk to a baby girl who was in need. Her mother was trying hard to get her the nourishment that she needed but there are cases in which women cannot produce enough milk for their babies. They are rare and many times they can be helped by doing things like making sure the latch is good, taking supplements to enhance production (like teas and herbs) and a few other things.
Many nursing mothers know about fenugreek and domperidone, they make lactation cookies and have oatmeal for breakfast. Yet at times even with all of the trying in the world some women cannot and will never make enough milk for their children. It may be due to PCOS, it may be due to other hormonal issues, or due to damaged breast tissue… there are a few reasons but the end result is that breastfeeding is not possible or not enough to feed your baby.
What do you do then?
In the case of the mother above she put out a plea to the local parenting groups and found a host of mothers willing to donate milk to her child. She put out the plea in the early part of the day and got many responses. After work her husband did the rounds with their little cooler and collected breastmilk from the donors to take to his wee one. This went on until the mother was able to regulate her supply and get a permanent source of milk for her child. This mother will never be able to make enough milk to feed her daughter but she will never go hungry.
I felt incredibly honored to donate milk to this family and the rest of us who did felt this way as well. It is said that children who nurse from the same mother are considered brothers and sisters. If this is so my children have a large sibling pool that will most likely continue to grow. I have cross nursed other friend’s children at their request and would do so again if ever the need arose.
There was a great article on this a while back that here is a link to it. This article interviews two mothers, Sarah and Morgan and asks them about their own nursing relationship with each other’s children. I am honored to say that I know both of these women personally and that they could not have picked a better set of women to give cross nursing a good name. It was on Good Morning America and posted on other websites as well. When the article came out it got mixed reactions. Many said “ewww” and were amazed at this idea. This poll on LilSugar shows an overwhelming respose of “hell no” when asked the question of cross nursing.
Have we all forgot about how popular wet nurses were? In older times (before formula) wet nurses were what people used when they could not breastfeed their child. It was not gross or inappropriate like it is considered now. Why have we changed our minds so much?
Well obviously it is no longer as necessary thanks to the availability of formula… But is formula really the next best thing to not breastfeeding your child? Well honestly no, it isnt… formula is last in the line of what is best for a child.
1) Mother’s Breastmilk from the breast
2) Mother’s Expressed Breastmilk from a bottle
3)Donated Breastmilk from someone else
This is the heirarchy of infant feeding, yet for some reason we like to jump from 1 to 4 at the first sign of a problem.
People who are against cross nusing or donating breastmilk say that it is because it is not safe. Yes, it is possible to get diseases like syphilis, hepatitis, and even HIV through breastmilk but as I know my friends and have for a long time I am comfortable saying that we are free of these diseases and that I am not worried about that honestly.
If you do not have a large group of friends to call upon when your baby needs it, where do you go?
These is this great organization called MilkShare
This can help mothers get in contact with others who can fit each other’s need. If you have milk to give, go on there. If you need milk, get on there as well!
There are milk banks available as well if you feel the need to get it from a place that has the milk pasteurized and screened for your baby’s protection. There is one in Austin that I am aware of but not one in Houston, though ig you have milk in Houston you can donate it to the milkbank by dropping it off at Women’s hospital in the Med Center.
I wish that the practice of cross nusing and wet nursing was a more popular one because as we know, breastfeeding is better for children so if a child can get it… it doesnt matter if it is from its mother or not, as long as the baby gets it. :)