Donor & Recipient Stories
We love hearing stories from our milk donors and recipients about their experience with the NW Mothers’ Milk Bank. Please take a moment to share your story and send baby pictures!
"Meet Vida Lee, our experience started at nearly 24 weeks when I experienced preterm premature rupture of the membranes, or PPROM. I was immediately put on strict, in-hospital bed rest at Legacy Emanuel Hospital. Ultimately, I spent 45, fairly uneventful days on bed rest, and my fiery daughter was born at 29 weeks and 3 days, 2lbs 12oz, 15 inches long.
She did great, she experienced the standard NICU course of various breathing supports, feeding tube and UV light therapy. Mostly, her time was spent feeding, growing and strengthening those lungs. Since Vida was born so prematurely, my wait for my own milk to come in was more considerable.
I was so relieved when my NICU nurses informed me that Vida could be the recipient of donated breast milk from NW Mothers Milk Bank. This alleviated the
pressure to produce myself,
and allowed my mind and body
to heal and produce in my own time.
I knew how vital the components of breast milk
were for her digestive system, and I contribute
a lot of her success in the NICU to this kind of
extra care that was made available to her.
This experience meant so much to me that
I made it a point to contact NWMMB as soon
as we were established at home, and donated
the nearly 200 oz. of pumped milk that I could
spare to help infants just like Vida. Knowing
that I was able to be a part of such a personal,
and meaningful donation helped my healing
process and put closure on the experience.
Vida just turned three years old this past June.
She's perfect, healthy, feisty and very happy to be alive."
"Vera was born 4 weeks early weighing 5 pounds 9 ounces. Being diagnosed with jaundice in addition to arriving early made nursing a struggle. She could latch but didn't have the endurance to nurse and lost close to 10% of her body weight the first fews days. After being readmitted to the hospital, preterm donor milk was introduced and we were so relieved.
It was a blessing at a very stressful time.
Vera continued to receive donor milk for the first month in tandem with my expressed milk. Donor milk gave Vera the extra help she needed to gain weight and become stronger. At 7 weeks she was able to nurse all on her own. We are so grateful for Northwest Mothers Milk Bank and for the mothers who donated their milk to help Vera grow!"
"When I was pregnant, I always imagined myself breastfeeding. I never imagined having to choose between formula and donor breast milk for my children. But that all changed when my twins came into the world at 34 weeks gestation, and my body wasn’t producing enough breast milk yet for them.
I chose donor breast milk, because it was the best choice for my boys. I am so thankful that donor milk was even an option for us, since many places it is not. I am grateful that while I waited for my body to start producing enough milk, I knew that my boys were still getting the nutrients they needed from the donor milk. Being a new parent and trying to navigate life in the NICU is hard enough, so being able to use donor milk and not stress about milk supply was a relief.
Eventually, my milk supply did come in, and I was able to not only have enough to feed my twin boys, but also pump some extra. I was able to pump enough extra, that I was eventually able to donate some back to the milk bank. It is a great feeling to be able to give back to and support a great cause. Northwest Mother’s Milk Bank was there in a time when we needed them most, and now we have healthy, thriving 2.5 year old twin boys.
Donor milk helped them get the best start to life, even though they decided to start it a little early!"
Lincoln & Hudson's Story
“I'm a breastmilk donation recipient!
Well, my son was, but it was equally a gift for me. I think that's the beauty of breastmilk donation; It nourishes the child, and supports the family at the same time.”
“My son was born via emergency c-section at 31 weeks old. I was unconscious for some time afterwards, and then needed a few days to recover my strength and convince my shocked body to create it's own supply.
During this time, my child was fed donor-milk through an NG tube. Our Neonatologist explained that we had a choice between donor milk and formula, but that with premature babies, the risk of Necrotizing Enterocolitis was much higher if we chose formula. The choice was easy from there thanks to the availability of donor breastmilk.”
NWWMB has been able to make a difference in many lives, including those of Baby Miranda and her family. Baby Miranda weighed only 1lb 2oz at birth. Due to a stressful delivery and extreme prematurity, Miranda’s mother’s milk was not immediately available. Miranda spent the first 80 days of her life in the NICU.
During this time, Northwest Mothers Milk Bank provided Miranda with safe, pasteurized donor milk. The donor milk she received in the NICU was the foundation for her healthy and steady growth, and supported her while she recovered from preterm complications, including a hole in her heart. Miranda is now a healthy, happy, and (fingers crossed) toilet-trained three-year-old. Miranda is thriving!
"It was an opportunity to give back to future preemie families and complete the circle of giving."
“Once Miranda was home, I was able to donate some of the milk I pumped during her hospital stay to the NWMMB. We are grateful to live in an area that supports families in need of breast milk for their sick babies, and I hope to donate (again) to the NWMMB.“
Paying it forward
Nicole and Dan are parents to twins Lucas and Amelia. They live in Salem, Oregon and their babies received donor milk after birth. Nicole has had an ample milk supply; able to feed her own babies as well as donate surplus milk to the milk bank.
"I was appreciative to have education and support from the Lactation Consultant about donor milk."
“As I learn more about the complex properties of breastmilk, and how it works toward healing fragile infants, I am continually awed and amazed. The facts about breastmilk’s effects on NEC and the GI tract alone are astounding.
I’m so grateful for the support that helped us to persevere through, and for helping our babies to thrive. As a result of that wonderful support, we are thrilled to be able to pay it forward, by being donors ourselves. Giving our support to other families in our area is the best way to say thank you.”
Generations of Giving
Passing down the Love….
Selena’s mom donated milk when she was a baby, and so she decided to donate her extra milk upon hearing her mom’s story.
“When my mom donated breastmilk in the 1980’s, she treasured the letters she received from the moms with preemies expressing their thanks. Knowing she could help other babies and their moms made her feel good.
I decided to donate the extra milk my baby, didn’t need. Sending my milk to the NWMMB made sense. I knew I wanted to help babies in the NICU, the ones that needed donor milk the most.
It’s extremely gratifying as a mom to feel like you are helping other babies. Especially the sick ones that need breastmilk more than anything. And their moms may not be able to provide it yet, so to know that the little babies really in need are helped just feels wonderful.”
Kelly is a working mom. While still breastfeeding, she traveled from her home in Minnesota for her job. She decided to donate her milk instead of trying to bring it back with her.
“I just searched “milk donation” in the state of Washington, and Northwest Mother’s Milk Bank popped up. I know they are based in the northern part of Oregon, but was happy to see that they accept donations in Washington. So I looked at their website, and love the fact that NWMMB serves preemies that are in NICU units, and contacted them.
"It just felt good to
do something for someone else."
I thought about the families that have fragile babies in the NICU, or are in a situation where they are unable to produce or safely give their breastmilk, and how it would feel to not be able to provide milk at a critcal time for your baby. I was so happy to be able to help a family in their time of need.”