5.31.2013

Milk Sharing

It’s a pretty niche market. Chances are you haven’t heard of it.

Unless you have had a great abundance or a critical lack, you’re probably not privy to the milk sharing community - breast milk, that is.
Giving birth to a child from a body completely absent of milk ducts (thank you bilateral mastectomy) is a new experience for me, one that has created the dilemma of how I will sustain and nourish this new life.

I do not want my daughter to be any more disadvantaged than my cancer has already made us. I want her to reap some of the great many benefits of breast milk; I want her to be free of the potentially harmful side effects of formula. ...And so begins my jaunt into the community of milk sharing mamas.

I start by researching breast milk banks, the only thing I've heard of at this point.
Just as I’m finding that milk banks cater to infants in the NICU, not people like me, my dear friend calls. “I have a really weird question and you don’t have to answer right away. I’ve been thinking about it a lot though,” she begins. “Would you want me to pump milk for your daughter? ...Is that too weird?”

I don’t find it weird.

Okay, maybe it's a little weird. But the kindness, the benevolence, the benefit outshine the oddity. 

Within weeks, one friend becomes two, then three, then six, as word of my need spreads.

I research milk sharing risks and how to minimize them, how to store milk and for how long, how to thaw and prepare the frozen milk.     


When I realize how quickly entire freezers of stored milk will dwindle under the demands of a new and voracious little appetite, I will eventually branch out into the world of milk sharing amongst strangers. I will arrive there gingerly, over time, and with much research.
 
For now, I am reveling in the blessing that a community of girlfriends can be. I know who the milk is coming from; I know each mama intimately. And I know what amazing friends I have to give my daughter such a precious gift - a gift I cannot provide her myself.

1 comment:

  1. it seems such a common concept to me now. sometimes i forget and speak of milk sharing casually and have to receive the strange looks to remember what an oddity it once was.

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