The Unexpected Part of Motherhood~The International Breast Milk Project

Last week I shared part of my breastfeeding journey with you and how I'm sad to see it end. Just in case you missed it, here's more of the story and how you can help critically ill infants*:

I put this pillow away once. I knew I was done having babies, but I wanted to save it. It was such a positive part of raising my children that I couldn’t let it go.

I never thought I wanted to breastfeed before I became a mom. The idea seemed very strange to me. My mom and my sister never nursed, and I always felt really uncomfortable around people who were doing it.

But as soon as my first baby was placed in my arms, it seemed like the most natural and normal thing to do.

As a brand new mother, I was lucky in a way that my twins were born early and had to stay in the NICU for a couple of weeks. I was visited by a lactation consultant every day until she was certain my babies and I were in sync.

And with one of them, we were. Despite being so tiny, he latched on right away and nursed like a champ from the beginning. It felt wonderful, and I couldn’t believe I ever doubted I had this ability to feed my own child.

My other twin, born with a cleft lip and palate, couldn’t nurse. As much as we tried and as much as his natural instincts told him he wanted to, he just couldn’t make the seal that kept the milk from running all over him and me.

I had to pump my milk and feed it to him in a special bottle. While I had plenty of milk, sometimes I couldn’t quite pump enough for my second son’s bottle. I felt terrible that one of my babies was getting all liquid gold and my other baby’s mama milk had to be mixed with formula.

But we all did okay; in fact, I nursed three more babies after that. And every single one of them latched on immediately with no problems. I feel so lucky that was my experience, because not all women have such luck.

I didn’t expect my surprise fifth baby who came long after the nursing pillow was stored in a special box. By the time I was using it with him, the material was so thin and worn that it tore. Despite fixing it twice, it kept tearing, and eventually had to be “retired.”

I’m still saving it though. It represents an unexpected part of motherhood for me. A part I never thought I wanted or could achieve. A part that many women, because of varied circumstances, never get to experience.
I loved breastfeeding my babies, but I know that not all women can or even choose to breastfeed. The International Breast Milk Project is an organization that screens and sends breast milk to children in Africa and critically ill infants in the United States whose mothers cannot produce enough milk. Their mission is "that every infant in the world have access to donor human milk as a first choice when a mother’s own milk is not available. We aim to create awareness for the need for donor human milk, mobilize donors, and provide donor milk to infants in need."

Sounds pretty great to me. If you can help or know someone who can or just want to know more, visit the IBMP website for more information.
*This was a sponsored post, but all opinions were my own.

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