Now She Will Give
Born at 31 weeks, Alyssa’s son, Noah, developed a serious gut infection called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) requiring breastmilk in the NICU.
Alyssa’s milk production hadn’t kicked into full gear, so Noah relied on pasteurized donor humna milk from Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT).
While her son Noah was in the NICU, Alyssa felt like so much was out of her control, except her milk supply.
Overtime, after continuous pumping and a lot of patience, Alyssa’s milk came in.
“I’m not a doctor, I’m not a nurse, so I felt helpless when it came to my son’s medical care,” Alyssa said, ” Pumping was [in my control] and providing milk for him made me feel like a part of his medical team [by] contributing to his recovery.”
Once Noah was discharged from the hospital, Alyssa realized she had pumped a lot of milk.
“I knew I wanted to give back to the NICU to help babies like my son, [just] as the mothers/donors helped [my son],” Alyssa said.
After asking for information on how to donate her extra breastmilk, her lactation consultant gave her a card with MMBNT’s information.
Although she wanted to immediately donate, Alyssa’s doctor recommended she waited to ensure she had enough for Noah.
Now 10 months at home, Alyssa is grateful to be exclusively breastfeeding.
“Since I [felt] confident that we no longer [needed] to hold onto my pumped milk, I knew it was time to call the milk bank and let go of it,” Alyssa said.
Her decision to become a donor was reinforced when Alyssa found out that MMBNT helps raise awareness about NEC, a disease she and her husband had been unaware of until their son was diagnosed with it.
“Noah was fortunate enough to only need one surgery so far, and has his scar to remind him of how strong he is and has been from the beginning of his life,” Alyssa said, “If my milk can help babies like my son, I’ll keep donating until I can’t anymore,” Alyssa said.
Alyssa’s first donation to MMBNT was the 1,800 ounces of breastmilk she pumped during the 61 days Noah was in the NICU.
Alyssa is a full-time student and a stay-at-home mom. She and her husband are celebrating 9 months of marriage and Noah’s 10 month birthday.
Breastfeeding advice from Alyssa:
“Remember to hydrate, eat, and take care of yourself. I know firsthand how easy it is to forget about yourself while taking care of your children, but we cannot pour from an empty cup.
It is also important to hydrate because it is very easy to get dehydrated. After learning the hard way about dehydration during breastfeeding. I try to keep a bottle of water close by and actively drink water to rehydrate while my son breastfeeds.”