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Surplus milk plans

I really wanted to breastfeed Josie was was all geared up for the WAR to create milk... pumped during maternity leave to build up a freezer stash, ate whole grains and lactation cookies, would even pump if I woke up engorged at 4am, and you know what it got me? Waaaay more milk than we knew what to do with. When the freezer was full, I went on Milkshare and found random strangers on the internet to donate it to. This was not as fun and noble as it sounds. You give your medical records to someone you've never met, set up a time for them to get milk, constantly wonder what state your freezer is in (too full? just donated?) to determine whether you can buy ice cream today. One family I donated to just could not seem to figure out a time to come get the damn milk, they stood me up twice and were finally way late when they did show up for an appointed time... what a mess. You get the feeling that families who want milk are doing YOU a favor, so you aren't throwing out something you worked hard on.

So this time, I did not pump on maternity leave unless I had to, did not make special cookies, and dammit there's still a ton of milk. I probably froze an extra 40 ounces this week that the baby just cannot get to, despite me asking marc if he fed her enough (he says he's doing his best). She drinks 8-12 ounces a day, I pump 14-20, that's just what's happening.

I feel okay bragging about this special talent of mine because other women on birth boards brag that they're running marathons, or have babies who sleep 12 hours straight, or had sex with their husbands three times a day starting when they were still in the hospital. None of these gifts have fallen to me. But I sure can lactate.

The problem is the milk. It only lasts five months in the freezer... so what do I do with it? Here are the options.

1) Random strangers on the internet. There's not as much demand as you'd think, and it's a logistical challenge, but I've done it before.

2) Milk bank donation. There's a place for that now here in Wichita, there wasn't in 2010. The website says: "milk is donated to a central milk bank for processing, then is made available for purchase by hospitals and individuals for feeding sick and fragile infants".

Okay tell me if this makes me an awful person... why is someone selling my donation? I understand that they process it, but if I'm gonna be non-profit, why aren't we ALL non-profit? Doesn't the medical industry have enough profits?

3) Spike Josie's milk. I've already kinda done this, she doesn't notice. I don't think it'll make her super fat. She does drink a lot of milk. Hey, this is free.

4) Pump less. Is this possible? Right now I pump 15 minutes, twice a day. In the morning if I don't pump I'll leak. I can't just pump for 8 ounces and stop, because then it's all foremilk and the fat doesn't balance out... or am I overthinking? Maybe I should just turn the pump off and see what happens?

So those are my options. I think breastmilk is probably like a lot of things nature works on... there's a normal distribution involved, half of all women will make too much milk, half will not make enough, and a tiny sliver in the middle are right on target. I'm ahead of the curve, yay, just need a plan.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 28th, 2013 12:55 pm (UTC)
Make ice cream for Josie :) solves two problems

I am personally in the tiny sliver you mentioned, never a surplus, but never ran out.

Edited at 2013-06-28 12:56 pm (UTC)
Jun. 28th, 2013 01:56 pm (UTC)
Random stranger reading friends/friends.... Selling the milk doesn't mean they're not non-profit, though they certainly might be. They might be selling the milk for enough to recoup costs of processing, location costs, etc.; and they might or might not be tacking on a percentage of actual profit above that. It'd be nice to ask how much profit the *hospitals* are making when they bill the patients involved, though!

Goodwill, for example, is non-profit, but they sell donated stuff to pay the bills and the employees, and fund their training programs.
Jun. 28th, 2013 02:23 pm (UTC)
If you're not into donating anymore, I would totally spike Josie's milk.
Jun. 28th, 2013 02:32 pm (UTC)
I have a friend who gave milk to her friend's babies, including my small roommates; I'm sorry to hear that the people you donated to treated you so cavalierly, as we all really really really appreciated the wonderful gift she was giving us.

Actually, wotthehell. If you like, PM gosling with this question (aforementioned friend) and tell her I sent you.
Jun. 28th, 2013 02:58 pm (UTC)
I've decided to make body lotion with my freezer stash
Jun. 28th, 2013 05:36 pm (UTC)
I donated through a milk bank. It was the easiest way to get my surplus to babies in need. But I hear from local moms that the hospitals around here bill $9-12 AN OUNCE!!!

I pumped exclusively for donation, as I was home full time, and I'd get 8 ounces in 10-15 minutes. That's one hella hourly rate - if I were getting paid. Or even if I could deduct the value of my donation from my taxes! I mean, sure, I donated it before the value-added shipping and processing, but even a fraction of the "retail" price! How do I not count as a human milk farmer, y'know?
Jun. 28th, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
I donated via Eats on Feets and Human Milk for Human Babies. These sites are run through Facebook with local chapters. Never had trouble finding a mom and the coordination always went well. I don't think I sent full medical records, but I would tell them any meds or vitamins I took. What helped me was finding a mom that needed milk regularly, so we could just coordinate whenever she was low or my freezer was full.

Milk can last almost a year (or more?) in a deep freezer, if you have or are looking for an excuse to get one.

As for the milk bank, they charge the hospitals because they have to provide pasteurized milk. The cost for processing and pasteurizing can take a lot of work.
Jun. 28th, 2013 06:38 pm (UTC)
it lasts six months in a normal freezer, i'm for random stranger (just be picky, screen THEM!!!!) and make sure you get someone who is really desperate and really grateful.

or give it to josie. its really healthy and will probably help her not get sick this fall/winter :-)

or both!
Jun. 28th, 2013 06:48 pm (UTC)
I think the milk you are making really has little to do with your actions. I did milk WAR and never had more than 30 ounces in my freezer....Your body just likes to make a lot of milk.

As for 8 ounce,s if you're getting that much I don't understand why it wouldn't have plenty of fat. I tended to get more like 3 ounces and it had plenty of milkfat in it. Maybe see how little you can pump without leaking.
Jun. 28th, 2013 09:11 pm (UTC)
I wish I lived even closer to you! I'm pregnant right now, due at the end of August, and will have to be on a breastfeeding-incompatible medication ASAP after delivery + I will need my gallbladder removed a couple of weeks after delivering (which, apart from the other med issue, would disrupt bf/pumping). I would be thrilled and grateful to get some breastmilk for my daughter. (And yes, the milk banks and hospitals charge nearly $10/oz.)
Jun. 29th, 2013 12:41 am (UTC)
Spike Josie's milk! At least until Olive starts drinking more.
Jun. 29th, 2013 01:11 am (UTC)
I regularly pumped 40-60 extra oz a day over what the baby drank. I donated to the milk bank in Kansas City, to a friend who wasn't producing enough, and to strangers on the internet. I stopped pumping back in February and we are still using the milk from the deep freezer. Good 12 months in a deep freeze, so if you can find one cheap and have the space there's that option too.

1. Random strangers. Mixed results on this for me. I asked people to replace the freezer milk bags and some did, some didn't. When you're going through 5-6 a day those things get pricey. Never had anyone stand me up for a pickup. I felt pretty uncomfortable after I got to know some of the people a little (repeat donations) because of some of the beliefs we didn't agree on. Also it made me feel pretty judgey - I didn't care to donate to anyone who thought formula was evil.

2. Milk bank donation. I did this once, about 900 oz. It also had the problem of no reimbursement for bags. There's generally a minimum donation amount they require because for small donations it is not cost effective to do your blood work. I had to have blood drawn to test for communicable diseases, my OB and baby's ped both had to sign off okaying the donation. They charge for the milk because they pasteurize and test each batch of milk for bacteria contamination. Yes, pasteurization reduces the good stuff in breast milk but since it's going to preemies and ill babies they can't take a chance of someone getting sick off it. They also have to pay for the blood tests of donor moms, the salary for someone to do the milk processing, and packing and shipping when it's sent to other hospitals. You will have to meet strict requirements regarding any medications you take. If I took a tylenol I couldn't donate anything pumped within 12 hours of it.
I liked this option because I could be reasonably sure that the milk went to babies who needed it. I have little patience for people who wanted private donation for older babies (12+ months) who were healthy and could have had cow's milk or other substitutes.

3. Spiking Josie's milk is fine if she'll drink it.

4. Pumping less. You can do this but you have to do it slowly. Since she's so young, you may want to hold off for a few more weeks if you can. Since I was EPing, when I started cutting pump time I had to cut 5 minutes off my daily total (2 hours to start) and give it a week or two in between to give myself time to adjust. Since you only have to pump 30 minutes a day, you might try only cutting sessions by 1 minute at a time. Pump 14 minutes and then stop. Give it a week and see what your production does, then drop more time if you want. I had spreadsheets so that I could track it.

5. Do you already know anyone to donate to? We knew someone who had a baby the same month and she also ended up EPing. She didn't make enough milk though so I regularly donated to her when our deep freeze was full.

If I have more spawn and my body tries to feed triplets again I'd do some combination of 1,3, and 5. I will also start pump weaning sooner since it took a lot longer than I expected to quit. My boobs were like, "but we're GOOD at this" and didn't want to stop.
Jul. 1st, 2013 03:49 am (UTC)
I remember when my son had to deal with too much milk and he was miserable. I think it was because the jet of milk was choking him.

It was not fun. First too little milk, then too much.

I ended up throwing a lot of it.
Jul. 1st, 2013 11:00 pm (UTC)
If you end up deciding to donate it and would be open to the idea of shipping it (a relatively short distance up to DSM), please let me know, because I'd cover ALL costs!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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