A Christmas Day Delivery
Michelle from Birmingham, Alabama, donated her extra breastmilk a few years ago after the birth of her daughter, Neva. In the following story, originally published in December 2015, Michelle shares the story of Neva’s birth on Christmas Day and her experience as a milk donor.
My daughter, Neva, was born on Christmas morning last year. I was committed to letting her come when she was ready, even if that meant arriving on Christmas Day. My family had been asking me for weeks if they should come to Birmingham for Christmas or wait until she arrived to travel from Memphis (about a 4 hour drive). Everyone arrived at our house on Christmas Eve, we had a great meal and went to bed.
My labor started around 3 a.m. We headed to the hospital and she was here right on time – 9:42 a.m. on Christmas morning. Our son had just turned 2, so Santa decided to wait two more days to come… until we could all be home together. As our kids get older, we will have to come up with a better plan for making her birthday celebration special and separate from other family traditions and events. (Luckily we have time to figure that out!)
Breastfeeding has become such an important part of my identity. The more you learn about it and the benefits, the more passionate you become, and the more you want to share what you know with others. I think it’s much easier to “trust your body” when you know what to expect and have an understanding of the science behind the process. There are great evidence-based online resources and books. I also really appreciated my mom’s advice, “Drink a tall glass of water every time you nurse or pump.”
I found out about MMBNT through efforts to establish a local milk bank depot in Birmingham. After the birth of my son (3 years ago), I joined a breastfeeding support group and affiliated Facebook group. The moms in the group often talked about formal and informal ways to share and donate milk. The screening process to become a donor was very smooth. There are several steps, but they are all easy and it was a much easier process than I would have thought. I think some people hear the word “labs” and expect something very involved, but I just stopped by a local LabCorp site less than a mile from my house and was in and out in 15 minutes. Very easy.
I have been lucky to have a good supply for both of my kids and made the decision to tandem nurse them for the first 10 months or so of my daughter’s life. Now that I am no longer tandem nursing, I look forward to having more milk to donate in the year ahead.
To learn more about becoming a milk donor, click here.