Saturday, July 05, 2008

Pop Ice for Babies

My oldest two sons really get a kick out of eating Pop Ices. They always run and open our freezer and pick out their favorite color. My 2nd son likes to choose the same color as his shirt (provided he isn't wearing a white, gray, or black shirt).

The boys eat the Pop Ices even in winter. The local grocery store has some store brand that are bigger and have more flavors (ummm, pineapple....).

If the baby wanted one, he could have one that I made. I have about 25 bags of breastmilk in the freezer, too. What the baby doesn't get to, I will donate to the WakeMed Mothers' Milk Bank.

A few weeks ago, our local newspaper ran a story about the milk bank. There aren't that many milk banks in the US. But at the hospital where I delivered my last two boys, there is one. They recently had a shortage and had to put out a call for the volunteer donors to bring in what they had. The milk is used for premature infants. Some of them cannot have formula--the breastmilk is vital for their survival. No wonder it is called "liquid gold" and goes for $4.50/ounce!

After reading that article, I immediately called and started the process to be a donor. I had to answer questions like the ones they ask you when you are going to donate blood. I also had to realize that drinking caffeine and taking OTC medicine for pain would affect the milk I pumped for 12 hours after those activities. My caffeine intake concerned me, so I stopped drinking my diet Pepsi with caffeine and switched to caffeine-free diet Pepsi. I expected severe headaches, but they have not been that bad.

I am pumping at least 4 ounces a day to save. Most days I can get 7 ounces. After I have 100 ounces, I have the paperwork for my blood to be drawn; and it will be tested. After I have 200 ounces, I can take my milk to the milk bank.

I thought when I signed up that I would have to buy more bags to store the milk, but the bank sent me gobs of them. Since I already owned a breastpump (that has held up remarkably well for the past 5 1/2 years), it really is a no-brainer to sign up to donate. I find it providential that the article ran when my newborn was 5 weeks old, and my breasts were drowning him at every feeding. Milk production is something I am apparently very good at.

There are nine milk banks in the US and one private milk bank in California. One-third of the women donating to the WakeMed Milk Bank are local. The great thing is that the milk bank will send a cooler and shipping instructions to women out of the area. Once they have 200 to 300 ounces, the milk can be overnighted to Raleigh.

I already give blood when I can. I am glad that I can also donate breastmilk this year. Even though I am a SAHM with no income of my own, I can contribute to society in this non-monetary way.

1 comment:

April said...

This is really amazing! I was not a good milk producer, so I envy those who are a little. But this is wonderful. Way to go.