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Monday, November 5, 2012

Does it have to be a contest?

On the top of last week's news was about a Texas mom who donated more than 86 gallons of breastmilk to a milk bank.   Definitely admirable!  Moms with excess milk who donate are blessings to milk banks and babies whose moms cannot make enough milk or are sick.

However, publicity about these donations and excess milk donors sometimes have adverse consequences.  For instance, my friend Mec shared that at the height of Sendong, she wanted to donate milk and felt bad that she couldn't.  She was with her nursling 24/7 and didn't see the need to pump.  She eventually found peace with her ability to produce just enough for her nursling and writes about it here.

New moms think that oversupply is a good thing.  But oversupply comes with its own set of problems - engorgement, plugged ducts, mastitis and overactive milk ejection reflex.  Plus, donating milk also has its own issues.  I previously shared the concerns I had as a milk donor mom.

What I was disappointed with is the slant taken by most articles - milk donation sounded like a competition.  Even the Texas mom herself stated that she will try to beat her own record when her second baby comes.

My stand is you don't have to pump just so you can donate milk.  PLEASE do not be pressured.  Time at the pump is time away from your baby.   As I shared to Mec, if you are able to be with your nursling 24/7, you don't have to pump.  Usually, it is the working moms who have excess milk to share because they regularly express milk.  In my case, I pump Monday to Friday when I am at work and away from my E.  I conscientiously protect my milk supply and I believe this hard work paid off, allowing me to have enough milk for my E and sometimes have a little excess to share.

In one of my yahoogroups, moms were asked to post their freezer stash of milk.  The original intent was for moms with low supply to be encouraged to continue expressing their milk.  Most of the moms who posted the photos started with supplementing or with donor's milk but all were able to build up their supply.  However, a downside to it would be that some moms would feel pressured to pump, resulting in unhealthy competition and unnecessary pressure.

How do you feel when you see this picture? Do you feel pressured to pump? If you are a low supply mom, do you feel encouraged that you will eventually pump enough or even excess milk or do you feel disheartened that you can't pump as much?
one mom's stash
Let's not make it into a competition.

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