Today I decided to write about milk. And although milk is reputed to have some interesting beauty benefits – remember Cleopatra’s milk baths? – it isn’t the kind of milk I’m taking about, and this isn’t even beauty related. I just felt passionate about this and needed to share.
When my daughter was born she was taken away to NICU immediately due to a difficult birth, and I didn’t even get a chance to hold her. I never had that important bonding time with her, which made it so difficult for me to connect with the baby I was shown in an incubator the following day and told was mine. I really think it had a long-term effect on my experience as a mom. As she was being fed through a tube and I had limited access to her, breast feeding did not work despite my best efforts. I don’t think anyone can deny that breastmilk is the best food for babies generally, but for the babies in NICU, many premature, it can literally be an immune-building life saver. I felt so strongly about breastmilk that I expressed milk (for the non-moms, that’s basically like milking a cow, right) for over six months and bottle fed my daughter breastmilk. This is a personal choice of course, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion and course of action.
I also decided to become a milk donor so that I could give back and help other babies desperately in need. I donated to an NGO called Milk Matters, and they have a short video below on why donor milk is needed and what the organisation does. If as a new mom this doesn’t pull at your heartstrings then I don’t know what will. Only 50ml of milk can feed a premature baby for 24 hours, and if you’re worried as a new mom that you don’t have enough to feed your baby and donate, consider the fact that many people breastfeed twins. The more your baby drinks the more milk you produce, so by expressing an extra 50ml a day for donation you could be improving your milk supply.
I chose to do it because I was so thankful that after three days in NICU, brain scans and various tests my daughter was lucky to be fine. The outcome could have been different, and I wanted to do it for every baby who wasn’t as lucky, who had perhaps been abandoned, whose mothers were HIV positive or were just premature and fighting for their lives. For information on Milk Matters and how you can become a donor you can click here.