When our first baby, Ember, came along, she lost 11 percent of her body weight in the first two days. By day three, we had to supplement her milk with formula. We didn’t realize at the time that she was not draining my breasts well because her latch seemed good to the lactation consultants. But it impacted my milk dramatically, and for the first month, I was barely making 10 ounces of milk a day, even though Ember needed much more. I was so sad about it. After trying and trying we realized that she just wasn’t going to nurse well, so we switched her exclusively to eating out of a bottle. I had been both pumping and nursing since the day I left the hospital, but my milk was still very low. I started pumping for 30 minutes, eight times a day, sometimes more, to help my body start producing more milk. Very, very slowly, my milk increased. Over several weeks, I got up to making an ounce or two more than she needed each day, and I’ve been carefully saving and freezing that extra milk—little by little—so I could make a donation.
I first heard about the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida in 2011, when I emceed a fundraise screening of the film, Donor Milk: The Documentary. Since then, I have felt very passionate about helping to get mother’s milk to little babies who need it most. It was two years before I had a child of my own, but in all that time, I knew I wanted to donate. That’s one of the things that made it so disappointing when my milk did not come in well. But we just kept working at it. It took a long time, and I was discouraged at various points in the journey, but eventually I was able to get my milk up and even save a little extra. Now, Ember is sweet, chubby, and thriving. We’re so excited to donate the extra milk to some little babies who aren’t thriving—yet.