Milk Sharing: A Toddler Still Breastfed by Others

by Mrs. BWF on January 25, 2012

It sounds like crazy talk, right?  I’m sure some people do think it’s crazy, and that’s okay.  Heck, some people think it’s “crazy” to nurse a baby for over a year even when it is the mother who is nursing the child…  Well, I’m here to tell you that I don’t.  I’m also here to tell you how I do it.  Remember that old Beatles song, “I get by with a little help from my friends”?  Our family has had quite a few friends in milk, 35 (to date) to be exact. And that’s exactly how I have been able to nourish my toddler (almost exclusively…almost!) with breast milk for well over a year now.

With a little help milk from my friends.

I have devoted so much of my time, energy and resources into procuring human breast milk for my little guy.  I have driven thousand’s of miles, spent countless hours coordinating, arranging, and messaging, and spent a lot on gas money.  Providing human milk for my human baby is obviously a priority for me.  But why?  It’s not because I believe “breast is best” or because I believe formula is poison.  Simply stated, it’s because human breast milk is the normal food for a human infant.

Ethan is currently 17 months old and we are still blessed with an amazing supply of milk for him.  In fact, we just picked up a fresh stash of toddler specific milk this past weekend from a Mom I met on milkshare.com.  Her little boy is 16 months old and still nursing, but won’t take thawed milk from a bottle anymore.  Left with a hefty freezer full of milk that she spent time, energy, & resources to collect, she stumbled upon milk donation as an alternative to dumping her hard work down the drain.  And we were more than happy to meet up, have a nice playdate, and leave with a smile on our faces and a cooler full of milk!

Milk sharing can be that easy!  It can also be as easy as a sister or a cousin or a good friend simply popping your child on their boob when said child is hungry!  Milk sharing is simple AND milk sharing is an integral part of our history.  What do you think we did before formula…

A recent “stash” in our freezer.

For each of our thirty-five breast milk donations, therein lies a story… A story of how we came to meet, of why the mother had an excess of milk, of where we did the exchange, of who these mothers are.  I could talk for hours about the funny stories and the heart-wrenching ones, about the wonderful people I have met and how many times I’ve gotten lost to get to where I was going.  I could also talk about how milk sharing has {literally} restored my faith in humanity.  I do often talk about this and have written  about milk sharing throughout our journey.  I do this because it is my hope to see this important practice re-normalized in our modern society.  Here’s some interesting anecdotes and facts relevant to our milk sharing journey:

-35 women from 5 States total have share their milk with us!

-Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Oregon are the States that our milky moms hail from.

-Our youngest milk donor was 16!

-Don’t judge her youth… that 16 year old mother is one the strongest, most beautiful souls I have met.  She continued to pump milk for months in hope that her son (who was born with congenital birth defects) would someday be able to drink the milk she so lovingly pumped for him as he lived his short life hooked to monitors and machines.  I had the pleasure of meeting little Maddox before he passed and he remains in my thoughts to this day.  That’s one of those heart-wrenching stories.

-Our longest “milk run” took a full 8 hours round trip.  We drove about 400 miles picking up milk from 3 different women who lived in the same general eastern part of our State.

-I have picked up milk in 2 Denny’s parking lots, 1 Whole Foods parking lot (twice on two separate occasions!), and 1 McDonald’s parking lot.

-I “met” a friend of a friend on a Facebook status update who ending up donating to us after learning about milk sharing!  (Me and my big mouth!)

-Someone I don’t know donated gas money via paypal to fund an out of State milk run.

-My amazing and supportive partner, John, did our very first milk pick-up in downtown Chicago.  It was in an alley with an Attorney who works in a building down the block.

-John’s boss later found said breast milk in the communal office freezer… That’s one of those funny stories.

-One of our donors was a surrogate mother who had never breastfed a baby, but pumped to relieve her engorgement and chose to donate the product!

-We’ve had Ivy League milk.  Twice ;) (I secretly think that Ethan will be smarter due to that fact…)

-We’ve tried traditional wet-nursing.

-When we’ve had to supplement Ethan has drank formula, coconut milk, raw, local, organic cow & goat milk, and hemp milk.

-A friend of 16 years donated milk to us.

-Ethan has “tasted the rainbow” when it comes to breast milk.   I have seen it in a variety of colors:  white, cream, yellow, orange, blue, & green.  All are completely normal variations of human milk and dependent upon what Mom is eating, among other factors.

-We’ve had 3 milk donors who live in the same town as we do.

-We do Baby-Led Solids and Ethan was eating ribs off the bone at 9 months old!  Even though he has a wide variety of food in his diet, we also believe that continued breast milk is an important part of his diet too.

-We’ve had someone donate as little as 17 oz. at a time to as much as 600 oz.

-Every ounce counted.

-We have no idea when our milk sharing journey will end.

Our family, summer 2011

Please feel free to read more about our milk sharing journey here, here, and here.

Safe, informed milk sharing has always been my #1 goal.  Just like we discuss making informed decisions regarding how, where, and when we birth on the Birth Without Fear page, we should also make informed decisions about how we nourish those babes after we birth them. Every woman I have met has been more than happy to provide any pertinent information (medical records, social history, if she drinks, smokes, etc., what she eats, how old her nursling is, when the milk was pumped).  Thank you so much to the mom’s that donate.  As a recipient I can say that we are ever so grateful!

Look at that cream…amazing!

Please feel free to look around at these resources that I have gathered, as well:

To find donor breast milk in your area, or to give:

Human Milk 4 Human Babies Global Network

MilkShare

Eats on Feets

Support and resources for milk sharing families:

Proud Donor Milk Feeding Moms

MilkShare forum

Eats on Feets

kellymom.com

pure LOVE

Michelle is a mommy to two boys and a DONA Doula in Northwest Indiana.  A Master’s level prepared Social Worker by trade and Stay at Home Mom by choice, Michelle is a vocal, passionate activist for natural living & natural birthing, attachment parenting, breastfeeding, babywearing, and more!  She blogs at supermommysometimes.blogspot.com and fills up her time crafting, doing yoga, shopping at Trader Joe’s, procuring donated milk (just got a new offer TODAY, as I write this!) and playing on a co-ed Dodgeball league.

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth January 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm

i’m all for milk sharing i’m nursing my third baby now who is 9 weeks old and i always have way to much milk so i pump and donate i don’t mind the extra work and would hope that if something happen i’d be able to get milk fo my daughter if i couldn’t supply for her.

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Thank you so much for your support of milk sharing! As a recipient I can tell you that it means so much :)

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JessicaD January 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I am a former donor. I have no idea how many ounces I pumped. With my firstborn, I helped feed a baby whose mama got really sick and her milk never came back. 7 mo I think I pumped 4 -5 times a day and my highest for a day was 30 oz. My second I pumped and pumped and no one needed milk. I did not know about milkshare. Eventually we gave the freezer full of more than 3 gallons to a toddler that could eat or drink almost nothing bc of extreme severe leaky gut. that milk was overnighted 2000 miles away. She could not drink that either and her mam gave it to a friend that didn’t have enough supply.

Next baby? can’t wait!! :)

(this ^^ is all extra special to me bc I come from a long line of women that had wet nurses and thanked God every day for formula. Even have an aunt with no milk glands)

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm

What an amazing story! Thank you for your past generosity in donation :)

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Kellan January 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I have found a mommy crush. Could I possibly get this amazing lady to talk to my aunt and uncle?! Mostly my aunt, who is the most vocal about her disapproval of my decision to allow my daughter to wean herself of my breast. Every time she brings it up, it just gets way too emotional and she doesn’t listen to what I say anyway – she just accuses me of reading too much.

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Hi Kellan! I’m not sure how much help I could be, but I would be more than happy to provide you with some research or links that back up your decision to allow your daughter to self-wean :) Kudos for breastfeeding and standing your ground! I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with unsupportive family… That’s (unfortunately) oftentimes one of the hardest obstacles to overcome when making choices as a new parent.

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Awww, yay! Thank you so much for sharing :) It means so much to get the word out there about what a real and viable option the historically important practice of milk sharing is. I write about it because I truly hope to see the practice re-normalized in our modern day. Thank you again!

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Kellan January 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Michelle, is there any way we can talk via email? I need some serious pointers on how to open a certain closed-minded aunt who, amazingly enough, breastfed her own boys when they were under 1 year. If you’re willing, please email me at mthartwig84@yahoo.com. I look forward to hearing from you! (please put your name in the subject line so I don’t mistake it as spam)

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Courtney January 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Thank you for sharing! I donated about 21 oz. about a month ago and I was thinking I wish I had more (I can’t get much by pumping anymore). But like you said, “Every ounce counted.” : )

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm

It sure does, Courtney! :) Awesome job and thank you for reading!

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Ashley January 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Id like to first say that is one amazing journey as a mommy, toddler, and straight up human! its really amazing how the phease “it takes a village to raise a child” comes in to play when feeding them! second id like to say that im proud to have helped michelle and fed ethan and meet a wonderful woman in the process! Friday i will be making my 4th donation to a mommy who is going out of town and cannot pump enough for her little girl. My family finds it absolutely disgusting and i find it amazing! if there is ever a reason i cannot feed my child anymore i will certainly be turning to HM4HB or another milk sharing site that could help me! Rock on Michelle! :)

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Awwww Ashley, you’re such a sweetie! I cannot thank you enough for your donation and now our “facebook friendship” lol… It really does take a village and you’re part of mine! Yay for milk sharing! I’m so glad you’re continuing to donate to other mamas and babies in need :)

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Kailey Welch January 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm

AMAZING…When I read stories such as yours I get overwhelmed with emotion. I am a mother of three all breastfed beyond a yr. I even have a little Princess who is turning 2 Saturday and still nurses strong. Women such as you and I need to speak to the mountain tops on Milk Sharing and the importance of breast milk. People are so misinformed as well as uninformed. I am reminded of this daily. It literally breaks my heart. I have done milk sharing once in a McDonald’s parking lot and it was so truly beautiful. You are truly BEAUTIFUL!!! thanks for sharing

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Thank you so much for your kind words! I try as much as I can to shout from whatever little mountains (or blogs hehe) I can :) I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who has looked like they were dealing drugs or black market organs in a McDonald’s parking lot, when in fact.. . It was liquid gold! :)

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Shanna January 26, 2012 at 12:05 am

I have been milk sharing with a good friend, her son is now 13 months old and my son is 5 months old. When I first had my son I was having a hard time breastfeeding just because my nips hurt like hell and he seemed hungry all the time despite my efforts to keep him full (along with pumping after every time he ate) So she started giving me milk she had stored to help out while my milk came in and my nips got used to the constant sucking. Now I am producing like a champ and even though he doesn’t drink any of it from a bottle really and my friends son refuses a bottle we both got together and sent all the stored milk we had to someone who needed it for her 6 month old son who was in failure to thrive because he is allergic to formulas and her milk had dried up mysteriously. The first time we sent over 30lb’s of milk (480 oz) and we are getting ready to send more milk to her this month. I tried to get other bf mothers in my facebook friends to donate as well as ppl who weren’t bf to donate money to help send it but all I got in response was how “weird” it was to let another baby drink my milk. That saddened me because they had the opportunity of a life time, the chance to save a baby’s life and all they can think of is the fact that I am feeding a baby that is not my baby. The way I see it is milk is milk and yes it came out of my body but how do they think our ancestors were fed if not through milk sharing or wet nurses? I actually like milk sharing because when my friend watches my son for me while I go to class or on a date with my man I don’t have to worry about thawing and sending milk with her she can just pump a few freshies for him (don’t know if she has actually put him to the breast and I don’t care to ask). There needs to be more information on milk sharing so that the “weird” view on it can be taken out of today’s society. I am a proud milk sharer and I don’t care who knows it!!

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Wow! Awesome! That’s totally how it’s supposed to be done :) I’m so thankful for the support and the kind words.

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Michelle Humphreys January 26, 2012 at 3:24 am

Wow! So cool to read your story. I have never donated my milk and my babies self weaned at around 4 and a half years. I did however have an arrangement with my best friend that should either her or I be hospitalised, got sick, died or even came back late from the shop the other would feed the baby for as long as was required. This never happened. Now that she has died I have often reflected on how much she wanted us to raise our babies together and wish I had let her feed my little girl on a normal day. Love that village raising a child principle and wish i had been brave enough to go with it.

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Thank you for reading and sharing your very touching story as well. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend.

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Carolyn January 26, 2012 at 3:32 am

Way to go ladies! I nursed both my children my son (now 11) until he was 17 months old & had to stop because I got sick (medication wouldn’t allow me to continue), and daughter (now 4) until she self weaned a little after 2. Nursing is a huge blessing! I made just enough milk for my finicky daughter, but I made an abundance for my son. I wish I had known about these options then I would have gladly shared! Keep up the amazing work. God bless you all!
Btw also check out a You Tube video of Salma Hayek nursing a baby in Africa (not her own!) She talks about the importance of breastmilk & sharing!

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Thank you so much! Yes, I actually posted the Salma video on my Facebook last week… Hearing her speak about milk sharing and her great grandmother definitely brought out the tears for me and several friends on my Facebook lol. We have been so blessed, I just love to share the information with others so that this important practice remains.

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Elisabeth January 26, 2012 at 5:44 am

I am now almost 46 years old, the mom of 7 children of which the oldest is 25 and our youngest is 2 yrs old. ( I have spent over 21 yrs of my life breastfeeding these precious people in my life.) Years ago I wet nursed and donated pumped milk for many little people who needed it. I am so happy to see that this tradition continues!! Now I am a breastfeeding counselor at a WIC Clinic and am trying to teach these many young mothers that breast feeding is not only a food but a bonding with their child.
While I am not “supposed” to mention milk sharing from a professional stand point I do it anyhow because I believe in it. Thank you so much for sharing and keeping this tradition going! The more we talk about breastfeeding the more it will become the norm rather than artificial baby milk.

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Wow! I am in awe of your breastfeeding journey :) Keep up the AMAZING work. One of my past wet nurses/milk donors/now friend is a breastfeeding counselor for WIC as well and she’s the same way… ssshhhh… lol :) Please keep doing what you do, you’re an inspiration!

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Wendy January 26, 2012 at 6:27 am

This is amazing! I’m encouraged by this story of generosity from strangers. I had an oversupply with my first, and my sister (who gave birth 8 days after me) had supply issues from the beginning. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that my milk was high in lipase, and froze it. So gross! The smell was worse than soured cow’s milk. Fortunately, my sister and I live close to each other so, while she still had to supplement with formula, I was able to periodically nurse my nephew. It made me so happy to do that for them! With my second I didn’t have an oversupply, but that’s because I was tandem nursing my newborn and my two-year-old. BTW- my first weaned at a little over four, and my second (almost four) still nurses at bedtime. Go mommy milk!

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Amazing! Thank you for sharing your story and for reading :) Generosity from strangers is right! Milk sharing alone has given me a whole new outlook on life, humanity, giving, etc. It has truly been an amazing journey!

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April August 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Hi there….I have a question totally unrelated to milksharing (which I think is amazing!). I found out my milk was high in lipase also…after several months of pumping and freezing (all that hard work for nothing, boooo). Did you go on to nurse any other children and did you have the same issue? My milk smells spoiled after literally just a few hours in the fridge. I would love to be able to donate, but my milk is pretty gross if its not coming straight from the tap. :(

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Danielle January 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

I LOVED reading this! I nursed my first DS for over 3 years and loved it. I am nursing my now 4 1/2 month old and my milk supply has dropped drastically low. It turns out, much to my surprise, that we’re pregnant again (3 months) I certainly do not want to sever my nursing relationship with my 4 month old, and plan on working it out so that I can tandem nurse both babies when #3 comes along. In order to do that I am supplementing DS2 with donated milk and using a Supplemental Nursing System to keep up the supply that I do still have. I have a cousin who is wonderful enough to pump and donate, and an amazing friend who has offered to relactate to try and pump for us. We have to get through approx 6 more months, and I’m hoping to be able to do so without a drop of formula.

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Michelle Ahlfeld January 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Oh thanks for reading, mama! I will keep you in my thoughts to get through this rough patch in nursing your LO during pregnancy and to have success tandem nursing your lucky babes :) I’m so glad you have people in your life willing to donate as well, it’s truly a blessing! Congrats as well and a happy, healthy pregnancy and birth to you!

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Tracy Rose January 26, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Hey there Danielle,
Was just reading all of these wonderful stories and came across your comment. I only breastfed until my son was 5 months old he’s now 19 months, so I can’t say that I’m any expert but when I started loosing my supply I started looking up everything I could to get it back and one thing I read struck me that may help you out. Almost all mom’s lose their supply when they are pregnant with a new baby (sad I know ):), but that doesn’t mean you have to quit. If you keep breastfeeding even if nothing is coming out then you can continue with a great supply after your new bundle of joy is born. I don’t know how you feel about feeding your baby while you have a newborn but if you keep your baby latched and trying to get milk then from what I’ve read it will eventually all come back even if it means after the new little one is born. So keep up the good work! Hope this helps a little (:

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James Akre January 27, 2012 at 5:18 am

Thanks for your detailed description of your participation in a contemporary variation of something that is as old as our species and for all the useful links. Technology has transformed the practice, and it will no doubt alter it again at some point. But milk sharing nevertheless remains fundamentally identical to what mothers of good will have been doing since pre-history on behalf of other mothers and their babies. The following open-access commentary discusses the topic in some detail:

http://www.internationalbreastfeedingjournal.com/content/6/1/8

James Akre, Geneva, Switzerland

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Michelle Ahlfeld February 10, 2012 at 10:55 am

Thank you so much for your kind words! I really enjoyed reading through the journal article!

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Cat January 27, 2012 at 6:51 am

Thanks for writing this! I’m going to share it with many mom friends. I breastfed my first son for 2 yrs, 4 mo, and 21 days even though I struggled with supply the whole time. I am currently in month 22 of breastfeeding my second son and am happy to report that I was able to stockpile lots of milk in my freezer. There came a time when he would no longer take breastmilk from any source but the boob, so I donated over 300 oz to 2 moms in need. It was wonderful! I’m sharing my experience, and any other mom’s experience, with as many moms as I can to try to raise awareness and interest.

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Michelle Ahlfeld February 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

Awww yay! Thank you so much for being a donor!

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Kim Sweeder January 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm

We too are using donated milk for our daughter Gabriella and I am SO thankful to the mom’s that have provided us with such a blessing for her. I have nursed all of my previous eight children and then came Gabby who after countless struggles we found out has muscle issues which prevented her from properly latching on and properly stimulating my breasts to produce. I am now mostly a pumping mom she can/will latch on. However, I do pump for her as much as I can but since its not enough to provide for her total needs the donated milk has been such a blessing.

Kim

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Michelle Ahlfeld February 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

Continued blessings on for you and your little one on your journey, mama! Thank you for reading :)

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Jennifer February 3, 2012 at 10:54 am

I’m in NWI and I have milk to share!! I have no more room in my freezer and I’m producing more than I need. If I don’t find somewhere for it to go, it’ll have to be dumped :( If you, or anyone you know, is interested email me…jk4obama@gmail.com.

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Michelle Ahlfeld February 10, 2012 at 10:57 am

Hi, Jennifer! I just checked back to see if there were more comments for me to reply to (as this isn’t my blog, so I don’t get them lol) . I am sending you an email right now :) Thank you so much!

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Ann February 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm

WOW, I have never heard of this milk sharing before. Three years ago, we had our second child via gestational carrier. I had to use formula. But a lady at our church had her baby at around the same time, and she had lots of milk, so she shared some of hers with us. That was awesome and I am forever grateful for that.

NOW, we are having a third child via carrier…. and I would love to give the baby at least some milk. What a great way to show humanity – you are right about that!

Thanks for sharing.

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Lisa May 15, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Ann, congrats on your little ones. I just wanted to let you know that you CAN breastfeed even though you were not the one who was pregnant. I have a very dear friend who built up her milk supply while she waited for her baby she was adopting to be born! If you want to know how she did it, let me know and I will find the information she told me. She was a real gem to me when my 4th child was born premature and couldn’t latch. I felt like an experienced breastfeeder after 3 children, but the first 3 months with my last little guy were quite difficult. She really helped me stick it out and do everything I could to make sure I had breastfeeding success. :)

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Michelle Ahlfeld February 10, 2012 at 11:03 am

Thanks so much for reading! Good luck finding donor milk for your newest addition :) I hope you can use some of the resources I provided in the post!

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Chelly February 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I’ve been blessed to have been able to breast feed our daughter until she was nearly 3 years old. She stopped because it became incredibly painful when I got pregnant and she would cry seeing me in so much pain. It was very difficult for her to stop nursing but I’m happy that she was able to nurse for almost 3 full years before stopping.

Many of my friends have been unable to breastfeed due to not producing enough milk, each for a different reason. Nursing our toddler has helped several of them be more stubborn than their milk supply and pressed on, finding that after a few weeks their milk increased and they were able to give 100% milk and no formula. Two of those friends are now producing enough to donate to babies that react negatively to formula.

Thank you so much for sharing your story as it does influence other women to continue nursing or donate their breast milk or to reach out to find a mother that can give milk to their baby.

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Kara February 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm

My LO is going on month 13 on donor milk since she was 2 weeks old. We have had no trouble packing 3 freezers of milk for her! It truly is worth it with all the shipping, costs amd driving. We found so much milk that I was able to re-donate thousands of ounces to other donor seeking moms. That became a bit much so I mainly just collect for my daughter now. I plan to keep her on bm atleast til age 2 as the WHO recommends. One of our donor mommies took us on bc the family they were donating to didn’t want any more just because the baby turned 12 months! The moms we have recently met are totally cool with donating to my toddler. It really is highly valuable to me. My hubby works overtime to help pay for expenses. It has coated thousands for shipping and supplies but some of those hypoallergenic formulas are even more than that. I just can’t put a price on the milk. I love the moms that do this! Moms like us I think who want the best for our babies are special too :-)

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Nicole February 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm

What is “Baby-Led Solids”?

Might I ask why you don’t breast feed your baby? (maybe it’s in another article).

If I ever had a child I couldn’t breast feed, I would hope I lived close enough to someone that could be a wet nurse, or pump some milk for us. I don’t know if I would ever do it for someone else, as it’s a lot of responsibility (I don’t even like pumping milk for my daughter, as I worry it could somehow become contaminated).

I am all for prolonged breast-feeding, unfortunately my son stopped at about 18 months when I was pregnant with my daughter, now I give him pumped milk in a glass sometimes, and sometimes I let him try nursing, but he usually sucks once or twice and his says, “oh no! This is Aya’s milk” lol.

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Ashlee February 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm

This is such a beautiful story and Michelle you are SO inspiring! My 6 week old has already had 1000oz donated to her by 9 different women! We’ve been so lucky that we haven’t had to give her a drop of formula yet. If you can make it to 1 year, then so can we! I’ve been telling myself, “If I can just make it to 6 months, if I can just make it to 6 months.” But heck, why not a year? Michelle, I’d love to friend you on Facebook. Hit me up!

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Ashlee February 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Oh, love the “tasted the rainbow” comment. I have found myself Googling “blue breastmilk” very recently.

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Jennifer April 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

LOL.. The breastmilk rainbow! That’s cute! My milk is iften different colors from pump session to pump session, but I always laugh when my milk is different colors from breast to breast at the same session. I love this.. I am a proud 4000+oz milk donor with my last baby. There is nothing better than not only being able to nourish your own baby, but also have the amazing opportunity to see another baby that was labeled “failure to thrive” on formula fatten right up with your milk.

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Autumn May 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I had a “friend” who would regularly leave her two children (one 1 1/2 year old, and a 6 week old preemie) at my house so that her and her husband could go party for between 8 hours and (longest time) two full days. She never left enough formula for her preemie, but I had a 1 y/o who had just self-weaned. So I would pop the preemie on and feed her that way. That baby gained enough weight to get healthy from my feedings. The last time I saw them, their mom yelled at me for feeding her baby. Because she was the only one who was “allowed” to feed them. There was a yelling match… and she stormed out. Less than 2 weeks later, I got a call from CPS. That pretty baby had ended up at the local children’s hospital because she’d been starved. They kids ended up going to their paternal grandparents… and the parents went to jail. The CPS worker said that I may have saved those children’s lives by wet-nursing them.

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Mrs. BWF May 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Wow Autumn. Incredible story. Your maternal instincts kicked in and you did what you knew you needed to save those babies.

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Hannah August 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Scary that parents have such little regard for their children. Was there any reason why you didn’t call CPS?

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Autumn December 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I called twice. The second time was after the 2-day disappearing act. 48 hours later, the kids were in CPS custody.

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Lisa May 15, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I think it’s so frustrating how so many people still get disturbed by breastfeeding. Personally I feel like it is better received now than when I had my first child almost 12 years ago, but it’s still frustrating that some people are so quick to dismiss the benefits of nursing. Personally, I have been having a very tough time absorbing vitamin D. I had shrunk about an inch but my doctor wasn’t concerned thinking it was pregnancy related until we found out how horribly soft my mom’s bones are. Sure enough, my levels were low. I began taking vitamin D/calcium supplements in addition to my prenatals and yet over the winter, my levels fell even more. I can’t take the medicine because I’m still nursing and everybody including my doctors keep telling me how since he is almost 2 I need to “cut him off” so I can take my meds. I won’t just take it away from him. Sorry. :(

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Hannah July 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I love this little quote you’ve said
“Providing human milk for my human baby is obviously a priority for me. But why? It’s not because I believe “breast is best” or because I believe formula is poison. Simply stated, it’s because human breast milk is the normal food for a human infant.”

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Jessica August 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Agreed!

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Hannah August 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I would love to read Michelle’s blog but is says it is super secret. I think that it is beautiful that you have found a community of women who so support your desire to provide breastmilk for your little one. My supply never really came in (most I ever pumped was 15oz a day) but we did breastmilk only until 5mths and then supplemented with food rather than formula. I desperately wanted to be able to provide breastmilk for a baby and hopefully with future pregnancies and births I will be able to do it. I think that the 16 year old was incredibly brave and wonderful to pump and then donate.

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Bridget Williams August 12, 2012 at 11:30 am

I wish I would have known more about this when I was pumping for my triplets. I had enough milk for them for almost 2 mo, then they just started drinking more and more and I could not keep up. I did have one friend donate about 400 oz of frozen milk which was a huge blessing. I always hated giving my babies formula. Anyway thanks for your posts, always informative and encouraging :)

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Sarah Turner April 4, 2013 at 4:22 am

I totally love this but don’t know if people do it in New Zealand. My best friend recently asked me for some of my breastmilk to put in her 6 year old sons eye because he had conjunctivitus. She had always used her breast milk in the past for her childrens conjunctivitus but was no longer feeding. I was happy to supply and it totally worked. My son is dairy free and has been for 17m so i even have dairy free breastmilk available. Do you know if there is a system in New Zealand?

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Surromommyjaz June 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I love this! My twin sister and I are pregnant and less than one week apart. I am pregnant with my second surrogacy and my twin sister is pregnant with her first child. I am so happy to be able to offer her milk and to wet nurse feed my sweet little niece if needed!

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Beth June 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm

I nursed all 5 of my babies until they each self weaned. With my third, my friend and I wet-nursed each other’s baby when we helped each other out with occasional child care. Each of my babies nursed differently, but my friend and I both said these two boys nursed exactly the same way. She was a true blessing to me when an outpatient procedure turned into an overnight say. Medications required me to “pump and dump” for 12 hours. She nursed my 3 month old and her 6 month old throughout the night. A true friend and soul sister. Both boys are now 15 and treasure the fact that they are “milk brothers.”

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