Let’s talk about milk, mother’s milk. When my oldest was born my milk was a plenty. In those first few, hazy days we were not yet sure if I would return to work or not.
So just in case I decide to go back to work, I went on to stock up on my milk. Hence, we got an electric pump. It was bad! It was a cheap model from some brand I had never heard of, and used. At the time it was the best one we could afford so I just made good use of it. .
Luckily, my breasts seemed to love that cheap, loud, almost painful pump. Each day I hooked myself up to the thing, feeling like a cow at the dairy farm, and worked towards a stash of milk that I hoped would keep my son nourished should I return to work. Just as my maternity leave pay was ending we made the decision that I would stay home instead.
I cannot explain the sadness of seeing those bags and bags of precious milk going to waste. A few were used now and then when we went out on trips. Since this was way before I was confident enough to breastfeed in public, not much of the milk I had saved was actually used up. . For the most part I was only counting down the days on the bags, watching all that work go to nothing.
It was by total chance that I had read online about a woman who had had multiple infants and was unable to nurse them all. The article talked briefly about her trying to buy milk from a milk bank, but the costs were high and the supply was low. It was like a light switched on in my head.
The next week I had faxed in forms and was eagerly awaiting my blood test results. Though I could not donate the bags of milk I already had, I could put my breasts to good use for babies I would never see.
I was fortunate to have a good supply already established. I could nurse my own son and still pump 5 – 8 ounces per feeding. It was an amazing feeling to know that I was helping other mothers and children each time. Somehow it made the pain of pumping lessen.
Though I was only able to donate milk for a short while before time and other issues became a problem, that short time was amazing. I still keep on my fridge a magnet for the National Milk Bank to remember the time when I could give to more than just my own children.
Nothing can really beat mother’s milk. It’s just too bad that some moms don’t have enough supply of milk. I wouldn’t know what to do if I couldn’t come up with enough supply for my own kids. I just feel very lucky that my milk supply is more than enough to feed my own babies.
The good thing about it is that we, moms, can get together and help each other. There’s no reason why some moms would have to resort to formula milk all because their own supply of breast milk is not enough.
It’s just really amazing that moms can help other moms by providing breast milk. That’s the best thing about breast milk; it’s good for every baby.
Speaking of breast milk, I read an article about breastfeeding in the UK. Apparently there is a law being passed through the Parliament in the UK to protect breastfeeding mother’s rights for up to 1 year. However now the government is trying to take that down to only 6 months. The entire thing is a tricky read, but interesting nonetheless.
The writer says that in Scotland mothers are protected for up to 2 years. As soon as I read that my heart skipped a beat. I could not imagine breastfeeding in public with my own now 2 year old.
When he was younger I had no problem with it. However now I can only imagine how people would respond. I envision someone flipping open their cell phone to report me for child abuse. So the idea that a country would create a law to protect a mother’s right to breastfeed her child for two years just makes me swoon.
In the US there is a Federal Law protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed in public on Federal property. However, the law does not establish an upper limit for age. Each state has also created their own laws for breastfeeding in public and how to protect that. The sad thing is that they need the laws at all. Why can’t it just be accepted that mothers will feed their babies a outside the home?
Toronto, Canada is also working on a public breastfeeding initiative. It’s something that has me pretty excited. Imagine, an entire city proudly promoting breastfeeding moms who dare to leave the house and feed their baby. It’s a beautiful thing.
The initiative, called “Breastfeeding Friendly. Anytime. Anywhere.” will encourage the 6,100 restaurants throughout the city to post decals in their windows and register online to let mothers know that breastfeeding inside is not only accepted but encouraged.
Considering all these developments, things are looking great for moms. We have definitely gone far from the days when breast milk was scarce and breastfeeding in public caused a stir.