Friday, November 11, 2011

Helping Hands Milk Bank

We’ve probably all seen the heart wrenching pictures of sick and/or premature babies whether it be on TV, the internet or maybe you know someone that has had experience with a baby who was born ill.  Maybe YOU are the mommy of a baby who is currently or was once in the NICU. 

I personally have been pretty fortunate and never had to deal with the devastating effects that prematurity can offer and my kids have all been born healthy.  However, I’ve known many moms who have had to deal with babies in the NICU.  Most of whom feel lucky that their baby ended up pretty healthy.  You’d never know they had been born premature or sick.  And most of whom also were able to pump their own breast milk in order to provide nutrition to their infants. 

I personally breastfed each one of my babies for varying lengths of time.  For us it came down to cost.  I could NOT afford formula so I had to make breastfeeding work (plus I just produce a TON… I’m pretty much a cow!).  It was definitely a trial and I’ll admit that I didn’t always love it.  However, I felt a responsibility to give my children the best I could offer both nutritionally and otherwise.  For some, this is not an option and I understand that.  Some women don’t produce milk, others may work and breastfeeding would be difficult, and others just may not be comfortable with it or just aren’t able to breastfeed emotionally.

And for those many reasons and more, some moms of premature infants may not be able to provide breast milk for their little ones.  While I believe that formula nowadays is exceptionally nutritious in comparison to the past, I also believe that for these already tiny and fragile lives, breast milk would be the optimal choice.  And did you know that many (if not all) of these mothers with sick and premature infants would agree?  They would so love to give their babies the best start possible but maybe they aren’t able. 

Did you know that YOU can help?  It’s true!! 

I’ve recently been in contact with Bethany from Helping Hands Milk Bank.  She has provided me with some information that I feel responsible to share.  How could I not when it’s something that I know I would want for my own children should the need ever be present? 

Helping Hands Milk Bank is a service that collects breast milk from healthy moms in order to provide infants in the NICU the best nutrition possible.  And the best part is that you can donate right from the comfort of your own home!  I wish I had known about this service all five times that I was nursing before.  It’s definitely something I would have felt great about doing.  But, there’s still time because we do plan on having at least one more… but NOT YET!!  And yes, we’re nuts!

There is a simple screening process you have to go through but it’s all free to donors and once you pass, they provide you with all the freezer bags you will need in order to store your milk and send it in.  Cost of shipping is also covered!  They do not provide a pump, however.  You’ll need one of your own. 

AND… as an added bonus, for every ounce of qualified milk donated, $1 will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Help with breast cancer at the same time that you are donating milk for infants!!  How great is that?

You can apply online.  It only takes about 15 minutes.

There is a whole FAQ section that can help you out with any questions you may have.  I hope you’ll check it out and consider donating if you’re able.  Pass the word along.  Word of mouth is great way to get it out there!  

**Disclaimer:  Let me assure you that I have no opinions, whatsoever, regarding the way that you choose to feed your baby.  Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, it makes no difference to me.  As long as your baby is eating, I really don’t care.  I am only passing along this information for those who might be interested in donating breast milk for infants in the NICU.  Also, I did not receive ANY compensation for this post.  It’s simply a cause that I believe to be worthy of a post on my blog so that maybe someone can help out these infants in need.** 


LeShel said...

I was looking for a place to donate when I was feeding the last little one. I looked all over the internet and found nothing near me. Wish I would have seen this place, maybe they would have been willing to take all my excess?
Thanks for sharing.

Brooke said...

It's nice to know there's somewhere that can use it. I've never searched for anywhere to donate but now that I know I can, I think I just may have to. However, I've never been able to produce much milk with a pump. Only the baby. We'll see how it goes.

Milk Donor Mama said...

I donated to the Mother's Milk Bank here in Ohio, and while I now have a medical condition that makes me ineligible, I am "still" nursing my 16.5 mo son.

L&LMamaS said...

I also donated through Helping Hands Milk Bank and thought the whole experience was easy and love that they donate to breast cancer research! Will be donating again whenever our third child happens! :)