Saturday, March 28, 2009

Don't Cry

"Don't cry over spilt milk" has a whole new meaning when you are breastfeeding.

Yes, as everyone says, this stuff is like liquid gold.

I've been struggling, however, about what to do with my freezer FULL of milk. Seriously, I have enough to feed us for months in the case of a nuclear fall out.

I am freezing about 75-100 ounces each week beyond what I need to feed the Girl. Doesn't take a math major to figure out that I will quickly need a 3rd freezer. Some issues: 1) Milk doesn't last forever in the freezer, 2) The quality of breastmilk changes to best fit the needs of your baby - is it bad to give them milk from several months ago?, 3) It seems like too much work to freeze the fresh milk and thaw the frozen milk just to get it used up in time.

I asked my trusty LC what she would advise ....

She agreed that it was always the best option to feed freshly pumped milk if available. She also pointed out, which I hadn't thought of, that your fresh milk is best because it has antibodies to the microbials that you and baby are currently being exposed to, not just general immunity.

So, best case scenario, I continue pumping and nursing for 6 months or a year and end up with a HUGE amount of frozen breastmilk that was never used.

Seems crazy and, frankly, wasteful. I worked hard and stayed up late to freeze that milk! My LC also suggested looking into milk donation. While I never considered it, I am having nightmares about a power outage and spoilage of 500 ounces of milk, so it seems like a good plan.

She suggested the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. I read a little bit on the topic and it appears there are not-for-profit milk banks and for-profit milk depots. The idea is that milk is donated from around the country, pasteurized in large batches and then provided to babies in the NICU who need it. It is expensive for families to purchase from a milk bank, but it is outrageously expensive to purchase from the for-profit milk depots. Most require a donation of at least 100 ounces. So, if you are interested, check it out.

Unfortunately, I don't think I can donate because I regularly take medication. Other suggestions for 200 frozen bags of milk?


Bets said...

Yikes! Does this mean all your hard work can't be used? Could you defrost the bags for her bottles for school?

Nichole said...

Honestly, I was in your same situation. I had 500+ozs in my freezer saving it for a "rainy day" and now she is 10 months old and I still have breast milk from when she was 2 months old. Well that milk has gone bad. After throwing out bags and bags of milk we only have about 3-4 bags left in our stash. If I had it to do over again I would freeze the fresh and thaw some to send with her to daycare. It is agonizing to throw away something you have worked so hard for. Think of it this way. She is getting plenty of fresh milk when she nurses so why not keep your stash rotated by thawing milk to send with her to school?