Monday, February 28, 2011

Cleaning out the Freezer

I have amassed quite the stockpile of frozen breastmilk. It is driving my husband crazy. Like many a first-time mom, I was nervous that my milk supply would plummet upon going back to work, so I pumped throughout my maternity leave to build a freezer supply. I went back to work and noticed no change in my supply. The chest freezer quickly filled up. We give Maggie one bottle/day from the frozen stash to try to rotate it through but given that we also freeze the equivalent of 1-2 bottles/day, we are not making any dents. (While frozen milk is not "bad" per se, fresh milk retains the most nutrients and immunity so we give her fresh milk in the majority of her bottles.) And unfortunately, we are running on a time crunch and running the risk of part of the frozen stash going bad. At this point, I feel comfortable saying that we will NEVER use the stash I have amassed. I will also admit to my husband (and now you, dear readers) that I was a TINY bit neurotic about the breastmilk supply thing. Oh well, I still would rather have an oversupply than an undersupply!

A co-worker, S, who had a baby in December also has a chest freezer full. She looked into donating to a milk bank, but apparently it is quite a process, requiring doctor visits and several blood samples (and rightfully so). She has just been pumping and dumping.

It makes me physically ill to think about throwing part of my stash away, knowing the time/energy I put into pumping it, and knowing how there are moms out there who really want to give their baby breastmilk, but can't for one reason or another. The good Catholic in me just knows that throwing it away is a recipe for GUILT.

I heard a story on NPR about moms using Facebook to donate/receive breastmilk (read it here). My sister suggested I use my stash to make ice cream to sell for Maggie's college education after hearing about a shop in London doing that exact same thing (read the story here). (She was kidding, BTW).

Then a colleague told me that she and her partner were adopting another baby. S thought maybe she would be interested in breastmilk. I was a little nervous about throwing this idea out there, but I decided to go for it. The email began, "You might think I am a huge weirdo for offering this but..."

It turns out she did not think I was a weirdo. She was EXCITED. Apparently they tried scoring some breastmilk for the first baby they adopted and it did not work out. I didn't pry, but the NPR story referenced above did mention that breastmilk from milk banks can cost up to $3.50 per ounce!

I called Nate-O to tell him and he was pumped. The chest freezer will be cleaned out! Milk management duty begins tonight!


Emily said...

I'm in the exact same predicament. I looked into donating too, but decided against. I'm pretty sure I'll be stopping at 6 months, so my stockpile should give her a couple of extra weeks. I hear ya about the guilt though...I refuse to throw it away!!

Old MD Girl said...

Are you going to get the blood work done anyway, so that the recipient has the piece of mind that they're not going to be feeding their child HIV and Hepatitis? They might pay for you to do it. Just saying.