It’s been 9 months and I’m still pumping. Wow.
My original goal was to pump until Sam came home. That didn’t happen. After Sam passed, and we returned from our trip, I put Sebastien on a frozen milk diet to start using the frozen milk stash. We bought a chest freezer that’s now full of milk….and this is after I’ve dumped countless number of ounces for various reasons.
Sebastien refused the drink the defrosted milk…turns out I’m one of the unlucky ones with excess lipase in the milk. There’s no fix once the milk is frozen, but if the milk is scalded when it’s still fresh and then frozen, the lipase taste doesn’t exist. Well, that doesn’t help me any. I was beyond upset….I’d pumped for 5 months for what?! At the same time, I was glad I didn’t know. If I had know the frozen milk would taste bad, would I have continued? Probably not.
At this point I just decided that I’d keep pumping, keep providing fresh milk for Sebastien. So now we’re at 9 months, towards the end of when frozen milk is still considered safe. What do I do with it?
When Sam was in the NICU, at one point he couldn’t have my own milk, so he was given donor milk provided by Prolacta. Prolacta collects human milk from various milk banks and creates milk products specifically for preemies and sick babies. At the time Sam was one of only a handful of babies at our hospital who was given a Prolacta product as they’re very expensive, insurance doesn’t cover it, but the hospital instead absorbs the cost. Once my milk was available for him again, he was switched to mine (he was given the donor milk since the doctors did not want to feed him formula).
One of my preemie mom friends recently decided to donate her frozen milk to a milk bank. She no longer needed it after her son passed away from SIDS. Donating it to other babies in need made her feel better. Previously I had looked up milk donation but then brushed it off because I didn’t have the time to go through the qualification procedure, get tested, etc.
But what am I going to do with this freezer of milk? Toss it?! I just can’t. I worked so hard for that milk. When the boys were still in the NICU, providing that milk was my job, it was the best thing for them. It’s still the best thing for Sebastien, but the frozen milk he doesn’t like.
Milk with lipase isn’t an issue for a milk bank. After all the milk itself is fine. A milk bank pools together milk from multiple donors, pasteurizes it, and makes it into the milk product for babies. (and if there is a funny taste, most babies won’t even notice because it’s being fed to them directly into their stomachs).
So I’m donating my frozen stash. I’ve contacted a milk bank, I’ve done the initial screening. They’ve sent me paperwork that I need to get various signatures on, and I’ll go have a blood test. And my milk will be used to help other babies like Sam. We benefitted from this; others will be able to benefit.