north west human milk bank.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

if i'm honest, pre-pregnancy, i was really not keen on the idea of breastfeeding, but i took an open-minded approach to it.  i had seen friends go through near-breakdowns trying and failing to breastfeed, and all i knew for certain was that i didn't want to go through that.  so, my attitude was "i'll try, if i can't, then that's fine too."

as it turned out, both me and cole took to it really easily, right from the first feed.  me and nick are still amazed and grateful for it.  of course, i still went through the usual engorgement (ouch) and painful latch (really ouch), but once we went through that, it was a breeze.  lansinoh is your friend.

one thing that i didn't bargain for was my over-supply.  i didn't even know about leaking.  why don't people talk about that stuff?!  i remember being in the mothercare breastfeeding room on our first trip out and talking to another new mum and saying "what about the leaking?" and she said "what leaking?".  oh.

it was crazy.  i remember when he was two weeks old we went to nick's work to show him off and by the time i got home, you could have wrung my shirt out and got about two feeds out of it.  even up until six months, i was able to collect about three ounces from one boob as cole fed from the other.  that's something else they don't tell you, they don't really work independently of each other (or mine don't anyway); when one boob lets down, so does the other.

i managed to build up quite the impressive stock in my freezer and eventually ran out of room.  so, not wanting to waste the milk, i looked into donating it.  the milk goes to help premature or sick babies or just babies whose mothers are not able to feed them themselves.

it is something that isn't too well known about and really needs to be made more public.  i can't begin to think how much milk is going down sinks and into breast pads that could go to helping these tiny babies.  the whole thing is run by a very small team and some volunteers who travel across the north west of the country to get the milk to where it needs to be. they provide everything including sterilising equipment, pre-sterilised storage bottles, and even a freezer thermometer to make sure the milk is kept properly frozen.  when you need to empty the freezer, you can just give them a call and they have a lovely driver who comes to your door to collect the milk when you've built enough up and drop off any more equipment you might need.  it really couldn't be any easier. 

now, i'm not one of those "ban the bottle" types that judges or looks down on bottle-feeding.  i remain very open-minded about breast versus bottle and i completely understand that some mothers are not able to breastfeed even though they are so desperate to, and also that some choose to bottle feed and i can fully sympathise with their reasons for choosing to do so also.  ultimately, we all want what is best for our babies, irrespective of feeding choice.  however, i do feel it is important to know that a service like this is available because it is something that people feel passionately about, whether on the donating or receiving side of things, and, like with all good causes, if you are, or you know someone who is, in a position to be able to help, or be helped out, then i hope that this has helped in some small way. 

to find out more, take a look at their website here: http://www.northwesthmb.org.uk

this is holly.  born at 26 weeks and a recipient of donor milk.

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