Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Breastfeeding Chronicles: I Used Donor Milk To Help Feed My Twins (CP)

One of the beautiful things about being a doula is supporting women and their choices for there pregnancy, birth and postpartum time. We also educate, but we don't pressure or try to sway a woman in either direction or another, rather we can present multiple options and allow the mother to decide.

There is a spirited debate about bottle feeding vs. breastfeeding and I have my own opinions, to be sure. I've spoken to several friends who expressed their desire to nurse there children, but for a variety of reasons were unable to. I've spoken to other friends who didn't think they'd enjoy breastfeeding, but now love it and hope to do it for as long as possible.

The concept of a wetnurse isn't new and it's not something that only the wealthy or aristocratic people do, it's actually more common that we'd like to think. I, for one, think if you've got it, why not give it?

Below is a story of a mother who wanted to nurse hear children and her journey to getting them yummy and nutritionally-dense good, old-fashioned mama milk.
Breastfeeding her twins -- a boy and a girl, born two weeks early -- mattered very much to Melissa, 38, a special education teacher from North Carolina. But when they quickly started losing weight, she and her husband were forced to turn to options like donor milk and a supplemental nursing system to make it happen. As part of our series on what it's really like for new moms to breastfeed, Melissa talks about how it feels to rely on donor milk, and how dramatically nursing can vary from child to child.The BirthThe twins came two weeks early, so they actually made it a long time for twins. I didn't want a cesarean section, but at 38 weeks, my doctor was really insistent that I needed one. It was the end of June, and I was so swollen. I had so much water retention, I ended up needing carpal tunnel surgery to reduce the pressure in my hands, and my doctors were worried about permanent nerve damage. They thought that maybe I could deliver my daughter vaginally, but I'd need a C-section for my boy. I didn't want to do both, so we went with the C-section.
The nurses at the hospital were fabulous. As soon as the babies were born and cleaned up, we tried nursing. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I didn't know what to expect. I knew there was a learning curve, but it hurt, and there I was in the hospital, watching their weight drop. The doctor said that we had to start supplementing, because their weights were getting really low. He said we could do formula or donor milk. We were really fortunate that there was a milk bank right there in the hospital.
Going DonorI had heard about donor milk before, but I had a lot of questions about how it works and where the milk comes from. Ultimately though, breastfeeding was so important to me. Selfishly, there were health reasons -- there's breast cancer in my family, and I know breastfeeding can help reduce the risk. Plus, I wanted the twins to have the health benefits of breast milk, so at the end of the day, that's what we went with.
It's amazingly expensive, probably $4 to $5 an ounce. It was a lot of money, but we knew it wasn't going to go on forever, and knew that we really wanted to provide our babies with breast milk. We probably used donor milk for almost two months. I haven't calculated what it was total ... but it was a lot.
The fact that it came from other women was a total non-issue for me. If anything, it seemed like such an amazing gift for these women to be able to provide milk to babies who need it. And we knew it had been screened and tested.
Read the rest of this article on Huffington Post 

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