In 2021, I learned I was pregnant with identical twins. Cue me driving around with my jaw dropped for about two weeks! Once my husband and I finally picked ourselves up from the shock, we started getting really excited and began preparing to bring home two babies.
Our birth was intense, to say the least. Even though I am big on preparation and questions, there is only so much you can “plan” for with a twin birth. I was amazing (definitely patting myself on the back still), my husband was incredibly supportive, and our medical and support team carried us through what ended up being both a vaginal birth for Twin A and a crash cesarean for Twin B. Our babies spent time in the Newborn Care Center, but eventually were back in our arms.
While in the hospital, we required the use of bridge donor milk for our early term babies. Bridge donor milk is milk from a milk bank, in this case Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, provided in tiny bottles. This helped with my transition into feeding my babies all on my own. There are so many different reasons a baby may need donor milk. I am just completely blessed that my hospital had a program and a freezer filled with safe pasteurized donor milk from the milk bank and could support us! We were even given donor milk to bring home for both babies.
Once home, I was working hard at triple feeding and eventually used up our donor milk, then moved on to supplementing with my own pumped milk. Eventually, we were only using bottles every now and then, which felt incredible! Yet, I still did not feel complete. While I had helped others donate milk and had received donated milk for my babies, something was missing. That’s when I knew I wanted to donate milk back to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast for future babies in need. For me, it was a required step in both healing from my birth and in empowering myself as a breastfeeding parent making it through feeding difficulties.
Milk donation is something I am especially familiar with. I have worked in an office for years that houses and runs a donor milk bank depot for Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, a location where local moms who have already been through the screening process can drop off their milk donations. It has been so special to get to know many breast milk donors through my work running Acelleron’s milk depot. I have loved meeting and working with the amazing staff at Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast. They are all incredible and so dedicated to what they do for families and fragile babies.
The screening process is so easy!
- Complete a 15-minute phone screening with an intake coordinator – mine was the incredible Melisa
- Fill out forms on their website
- A blood test (that the milk bank pays for)
- Make arrangements for delivery of breastmilk (milk bank pays for shipping), or you can drop off at one of their milk bank depots
One part of the donation process that is not required, but I loved, was decorating the breast milk storage bags. It was so fun and motivating! It made pumping a bit more exciting and something to look forward to.
My first donation was made on October 12th. It was amazing to finally come full circle and become a milk donor myself.
Have questions about becoming a donor or receiving milk? Reach out to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast any time to get the process started.
Written by Brittany Regan Fisher, mama of 5, breastmilk donor, CLC, breastfeeding advocate