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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Concerns of a Milk Donor Mom

I write this post because I have been receiving requests for milk or inquiries where to get breastmilk.  I understand that some moms need milk for their sick or premature children but having been the receiving end of rude queries and emails, I want to emphasize some things to moms who are asking for milk.  I previously wrote a post about responsible milk sharing and I'd like to reiterate a comment I made there:
Granted, there are emergencies that lead moms to request for donor's milk but it must be emphasized that requests for donor's milk should only be made one time and is really not a sustainable practice.  Moms need to learn that they are responsible for their own babies' consumption and not too rely on other moms' milk.

As a full time working mom, expressing milk through pumping is a TRIAL I have to go through EVERYDAY to provide enough milk for my baby.  Yes, I pump everyday including weekends to make sure my supply is enough for E who is growing bigger and drinking more! Plus, I do not have a private office so I pump at my desk with a nursing cover (in full view of 5 other people) or in our pantry.

Do you think I enjoy pumping? No, I don't but I know my body and based on past experiences, I know that I have to pump as soon as I wake up PLUS schedule 4 pumping sessions during the work day to make sure that my milk supply does not dry up.  I also need to pump once each day on Saturdays and Sundays to make sure that my routine is not shaken up.  PUMPING IS A ROUTINE! And to be successful, you need to keep your routine.

Because I have a small freezer, I cannot store a lot of milk which I can save for future use.  Hence, I choose to donate it.  My experiences donating Naima's milk had been pleasant.  I donated to twins, triplets, preemies and milk banks.  However, I cannot say the same for Erik's milk.  There have been some demanding moms or friends of moms.  After my post on PEDALA's milk delivery services, I received this email:
Do you deliver breastmilk? Where do you put your breastmilk? And the breastmilk which is Same day Delivery is good for 10 hours for an infant? Did I understand right? 
I replied with this - "Please read the post carefully.  I don't deliver the milk.  It is PEDALA who picks up and delivers the milk. "
Then the writer replied with this:
Oh. You had a different understanding with my message. I know that the PEDALA bikers are the ones who deliver the milk. But what if you dont have a donor? Do you offer suggestions for a donor?
To which I answered - Sorry, I don't offer suggestions for a donor.  PEDALA also doesn't offer suggestions of a donor.  Thanks!"
She then sent me this reply - "Thank you very much for the very approachable way of answering my questions. Helping a mother in need of breastmilk for a baby."

I don't think I deserved the sarcasm.  Plus, if you read the email thread, I do not see how I had a different understanding of the first email.  She was CLEARLY asking ME if I deliver breastmilk to which I answered NO.  Email messages like this frustrate me.  Sometimes, I'd like to share information about breastfeeding or breastmilk but some people expect that things will be readily available and they want to be spoon-fed with everything.  Let me repost this note from Human Milk for Human Babies - The Philippines on Etiquette of Milk Recipients.
If you are asking for breastmilk, you must know how difficult it is to express milk and fill up that milk bag you will be receiving.  Breastmilk is made with love and care.  Donor moms also pack their milk with love and care.  For people asking for breastmilk, please read the following guidelines:

1. When you say you will pick-up the milk, please do pick-up the milk.  If you promised to pick-up at a certain date and time, please text or email the donor if you will be late or can't make it.  Do not pick up late at night.  Donors are also mothers with families.  BE SENSITIVE!

2. If you fail to pick up the milk at a certain date, CONTACT the donor first if the milk is still available.  IT IS THE DONOR'S OPTION to give the milk to another recipient if you cannot pick up on the date you stated.

3. AT THE VERY LEAST, please replace the milk bags that the donor gives you.  Milk bags are also purchased by the donor so please replace them so the donor can continue giving milk to other needy babies. (I'd like to add to this - did you know that Fabella charges P200 per OUNCE of milk? So really, the least you can do is to REPLACE the milk bags.  The donor moms have the right to charge for their own breastmilk - they just choose not to do so.)

4. Be prepared when you pick up. Bring clean coolers.  Donors prepared their milk with care and do not want the milk to be thrown out because of improper transport.

5. Do not ask the donor to text you if she has more milk.  It is YOUR OBLIGATION to monitor the HM4HB Page if there are more milk offers posted.

Remember, it is not the donor's obligation to give you milk. 
As I end, let me emphasize, I am happy that I am able to provide enough for my baby E and able to donate some extra milk.  I do have a hierarchy of babies I give milk to - first would be the sick or premature babies then multiples and milk banks, then for emergencies, e.g. mom got sick, etc.  If your baby is healthy and you just cannot pump enough milk, ASKING FOR MILK is not sustainable - you need to bring up your own supply (and I have previously written how to do it here).

Also, I'd like to remind you that I am not a cow. Pumping is hard work and is a hassle. So, before you ask me for milk, please think - are you pumping as many times as I do?  I am a mother of 2 young children.  So that pumping won't take my time away from them, I wake up EXTRA EARLY in the mornings so I can squeeze in some pumping time while they are slumbering.  Pumping is a sacrifice which I make for MY OWN CHILD.  So please do not ask me to include your child in that sacrifice.  IT IS YOUR JOB as the mom to make that sacrifice for your own child.

24 comments:

next9 (Jen CC Tan) said...

i'm with you there, Jen. I was (once!) a pumping mom and I can say that it was an extra task that I (joyously naman) did for the love of K. :) I was pretty lucky that those who I shared milk with were wonderful moms who were very considerate! You won't believe what they fed me! hahaha! This should be a good guide to some people who feel very self-entitled (is that some sort of virus, ang dami na nila ha)!

Manilamommy said...

thanks for this very enlightening post jen. i wish you and all the breastfeeding moms all the best!

DarkHalf said...

Good post, Jenny!  I also donate my excess milk because I choose not to let it go to waste and want other babies to benefit.  So far though, my donation experiences have been limited to milk banks. As a full-time working mom like you, it is also frustrating on my part to hear other milk donors be on the receiving end of ungracious people! Hope your post drums some etiquette into their heads!!!

Carina said...

I agree with this post wholeheartedly. I am extremely lucky with my milk supply as A only feeds direct , I have a good milk supply and She sleeps thru the night ( its a wonderful situation and I am very grateful) but I still pump at night to maintain the supply and to avoid engorgement. Therefore most of the milk I pump I give away but I still keep a few days supply for A in case of an emergency like if I suddenly have to take meds etc. as per our pedias advice. A very good friend gets some of my donated milk for her own baby, I have donated to premmiies and even sent some to the quirino hospital near our house. I had the irritating experience when I posted on the page of human milk for human babies a mom got it touch with me so I said yes I had milk to spare. She arrived at our house and I already put aside her milk but the freezer is in our garage so I made the mistake of making her follow me
As I was getting the milk. She saw how much I had stored ( I bought a small freezer just for my milk, OA I know lol) a few days later she texted me that she needed more
Milk ( she said her milk dried up from stress) I said sorry but my "giveaway" milk was all gone. She exted me
Repeatedly first sakin nicely, guilt trippin me, and then lastly rudely and let me quote her " Hindi naman Ako humihingi para sa sarili Ko kaya Hindi Ko maintindihan kung Paano mo Pwede ipagdamot Ang gatas

Em Alcantara said...

Hi Jenny, I can relate to this. I find that there are some people who ask for milk donations that will push you or blame you if you didn't provide for their child. Aren't we supposed to provide for OUR OWN children? 

You know what I tell them, why not TRY to make the baby latch, or PUMP so they can increase supply? Milk production does not happen overnight! Baka totally nagrely na sa milk donations. Is it "katamaran" din? Sorry for the lack of proper word ha?

Yes I am glad that they chose NOT to give formula, but they also have to make the SACRIFICE in looking for milk donors AND helping their bodies produce milk because like us, THEY CAN.

It's hard work. Pagod na rin ako minsan expressing milk but I still do because I know even a little breastmilk can do so much to my toddler. My supply may have dwindled because she's eating and drinking well already but I know my baby isn't ready to wean from the breast, and grabs every opportunity to direct feed all the time we're together.

I will donate pa rin (pag may sobra, like now I have three bags ready for donation), pero sana naman di na ako makarinig na "I hope you could provide for my daughter/son, too." Hindi ako selfish. Hindi ko responsibility to donate, nagkataon lang may sobra kaya I'm glad to donate it.

And I hate the sarcasm whoever made that comment!

Carina said...

Eh Ang dami dami mo. Salamat nalang!!! "

Gosh, nakakainis!!! If only there was a lblock button for the cellphone. I am extremely grateful that I have a lot of milk but I am not your personal milking cow. There are other babies who also need it and it doesn't
Make
Me
An evil person if I want to keep milk for my baby on case of emergency. Great post Jen!!!

Blessie Adlaon said...

That email was unbelievably rude. It so reeks of entitlement, as if the mother felt the world owed her for wanting to give breastmilk to her baby. If she had been asking for other stuff, like clothes or medicine, I suspect she would have been much more polite.

Hopefully, other mothers who read this post would be enlightened. Items 1 and 2 are basic good manners, but if I had not seen this post, I would never have thought of 3 and 4 either (maybe it's because I've never really stored pumped milk for more than a couple of hours at a time; baby always drank it soon after).

Jenny said...

Here's a comment from Carina (she posted in in the regular blogger comment box which can't be seen here.  So I'm reposting in the DISQUS box:
I agree with this post wholeheartedly. I am extremely lucky with my milk supply as A only feeds direct , I have a good milk supply and She sleeps thru the night ( its a wonderful situation and I am very grateful) but I still pump at night to maintain the supply and to avoid engorgement. Therefore most of the milk I pump I give away but I still keep a few days supply for A in case of an emergency like if I suddenly have to take meds etc. as per our pedias advice. A very good friend gets some of my donated milk for her own baby, I have donated to premmiies and even sent some to the quirino hospital near our house. I had the irritating experience when I posted on the page of human milk for human babies a mom got it touch with me so I said yes I had milk to spare. She arrived at our house and I already put aside her milk but the freezer is in our garage so I made the mistake of making her follow me
As I was getting the milk. She saw how much I had stored ( I bought a small freezer just for my milk, OA I know lol) a few days later she texted me that she needed more
Milk ( she said her milk dried up from stress) I said sorry but my "giveaway" milk was all gone. She exted me
Repeatedly first sakin nicely, guilt trippin me, and then lastly rudely and let me quote her " Hindi naman Ako humihingi para sa sarili Ko kaya Hindi Ko maintindihan kung Paano mo Pwede ipagdamot Ang gatas  Eh Ang dami dami mo. Salamat nalang!!! "Gosh, nakakainis!!! If only there was a lblock button for the cellphone. I am extremely grateful that I have a lot of milk but I am not your personal milking cow. There are other babies who also need it and it doesn'tMakeMeAn evil person if I want to keep milk for my baby on case of emergency. Great post Jen!!! 

Rone said...

Unbelievable! I really don't get the point of depending on someone else's milk. The whole point of breast feeding is that you make the milk for your baby. Only you can make th milk that your baby needs. And under no circumstance should you be so demanding. To call a donor selfish is beyond kapal.

Didi said...

 I know how you feel!  That's why I asked your advice on the etiquette!  This is a gutsy post and I applaud you!  I am with you on this. 

I hate to say this but there are some moms who rely on donations to sustain their baby's need.  I dont think this is a good practice at all. 

I have given so much milk to moms in need and now that I am in need to breastmilk - hindi ko alam kung paano ako hihingi!  Nahihiya pa ako to even ask!  So ironic noh? 

Love, Didi

MyYummyMummy said...

Wow, that texter is really RUDE! Siya na nga ang may kailangan, siya pang ang galit! I used to regularly donate to PGH and Nurse Tina is always so grateful and even makes the effort to pick up the milk from our house (complete with a cooler). But I also had the unfortunate experience when an acquaintance asked for milk for her daughter then did not even pick up the milk on the agreed time (and she also did not replace my milk bags!). Two weeks in our office ref before she finally picked it up (I needed to wait for her driver pa!) After that, I just gave all the excess to PGH since I felt the babies there needed it more anyway (and appreciated it more, too!)

Thanks, Jenny, for sharing all your breastfeeding information! It has really helped me successfully breastfeed my first baby for more than a year! Please do know that there are more mommies who appreciate your efforts than those who abuse it! :)

Belle Delos Reyes said...

I love it when you said "I am not a cow".  Until now I feel guilty that I breastfed Julia for only a little over a month.  I thought I prepared enough by attending breastfeeding seminars and reading books.  Its not as easy as most people think! I may have been unsuccessful the first time, but I continue to educate myself because I WILL BREASTFEED my next child when the time comes.   

Thanks for sharing this Jenny.    Don't waste your time on insensitive people.  You are an inspiration and as I mentioned in my blog, you have redefined my definition of success. 

Jenny said...

Thanks Belle! Don't feel guilty!  I am sure you are a great mother to Julia! :D  I do not mean to judge ha if you are a FF or a BF mom.  My beef lang is that I make sacrifices for my children which I am not obligated to make for the children of others.  Whether you are a FF or a BF, I am sure you make sacrifices for your children but likewise do not want to be obligated to make those sacrifices for others' kids.  

Mom-Friday said...

OMG, this person is unbelievable!
I don't think I could even ask for other mom's breastmilk to feed my own baby!
Good that you posted this so others will learn and become more considerate, and thankful to donor moms like you!

Anne @ GreenEggs&Moms said...

Sorry you had a bad experience with that particular person. Most web readers are skimmers which is why she probably missed a few things here and there. Anyway, I never knew there were a lot of breast milk donors, because as you said, it's quite difficult to express milk. But it's completely great that moms can donate their milk to those who are needy :)

Ria_ambot said...

Sometimes there are rude and insensitive people talaga. I am very happy that the moms whom I had shared my milk with are not like that. They were understanding and really appreciated what I had shared with their babies. They did not pressure me or forced me to give them more. I have given to twins, and other babies who's moms did not have enough supply or had an allergy that ended their breastfeeding journey.

Some evern called me a "milking cow". haha which I am proud of because till now I am exclusively breastfeeding my 9 month old baby. Pumping did help for me, but now I have stopped pumping because I have anough supply to sustain my baby's needs.

Some moms just need the encouragement and should not rely on another mom to provide milk for their babies. Nakaya nga ng iba, kayo pa. Mind set lang yan. At ang panget, ikaw pa ang may kelangan, ikaw pa ang demanding.

joy said...

hi ms.jenny im joy and have been reading your blog since dra.lei(calebs closet)introduced your blog to me...i met nanay rich when i saw the video of your baby na ngccupfeeding...na meet ko na rin po sya personally nung isang araw lng kasi nandito sila sa place namin educating other moms regarding breastfeeding etc...i also met ms.velvet.nung ngdecide ako na mg breastfeed kay baby no.2 lahat ng pwede kong basahin sa blog niyo po binabasa ko exerting all the effort to learn,get ideas about breastfeeding...i believe truly na kung may gusto ang isang tao lahat ng paraan pipiliting kayanin tulad ng case ko i tried so hard mg pump para mbigyan ng bmilk ang baby ko hindi talgang madali mgpump...AND THAT LADY nakakahiya sya!!!!that only shows she doesnt value life!!!!kasi if she really understand how important and essential breastmilk is di sya aasta ng ganun personally ngayon na ngbebreastfeed ako every single drop counts!!!!the nerve to demand....save her number ms.jen para next time na mgtext badmouth her!!!kung ganun na lng nya bastusin ang mahalagang bagay sa isang tao all the more reason na dapat di rin sya respetuhin!!! dapat atang makinig sya ng training ng arugaan para matuto...its our own obligation to sacrifice for our children nakakihiya naman sya nghihingi na nga lng demanding pa!!!!arrrggghhhh

ayaw ko sana mgcomment but its really bothering me since i've been reading your blog kasi gusto kong matuto...hay naku nakakimbierna naman sya!

Jenny said...

yes, velvet and nanay rich were just in zamboanga!  congrats on your determination to breastfeed! thanks for visiting!! 

Jenny said...

breastfeeding is really mind over matter! ;)

Jenny said...

if she skimmed lang.. bakit pa siya nagsinungaling and said na that's not what she meant? dun ako nainis then after, magiging sarcastic pa!

Anne @ GreenEggs&Moms said...

Actually..:) Sarcasm really never works. Hopefully you don't have another encounter with her.. ever :)

Jenny said...

thanks for dropping by jackie! PGH babies really do need a lot of milk and yes, nurse tina is most appreciative with whatever milk you can give!

Jenny said...

you would think people know good manners noh? ewan ko ba what is it about asking for milk - sometimes, good manners appear to be have been forgotten!

Kat said...

Thank you for sharing. I am your new blog follower. I'm new to breastfeeding and it feels good to know there's a blog i can turn to for breastfeeding information. Keep it up!

www.momkatsnotes

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