The Power of Breastmilk goes beyond the incredible health benefits it has as your baby’s first food. Originally, I was going to write about 3 alternative uses for breastmilk. A quick google search will bring you to many, many things breastmilk can be used for. Soothing diaper rash, soothing eczema, soothing sunburns, helping to cure ear infections and pink eye (though evidence shows that it likely doesn’t help with these infections, many mothers swear by it!). Some claim it even helps erase wrinkles and stretchmarks. You can even make breastmilk soap! Breastmilk jewelry is a fairly new thing. This could provide you with a beautiful keepsake representing your incredible breastfeeding journey. You can find legitimate companies who can do it for you or you can find DIY kits online as well. Do a bit of extra digging if you want to try this though. What I’ve found on the net is that if done improperly, the colour of the jewelry can yellow over time.
So, what did I decided to write about instead? Looking at all these different ways to use breastmilk just didn’t feel very authentic to me at this particular time. With everything COVID-19 swirling all around us, I felt it was important to remind people that they can still donate their breastmilk. This truly is the most important and beautiful alternative use for your breastmilk if it’s not being ingested by your baby. Breastmilk donation is tremendously valuable to vulnerable preterm and otherwise fragile infants. Preterm infants drinking formula have a higher risk of developing a devastating intestinal disease called necrotizing enterocolitis. Their gut bacteria are immature and their little tummies are so sensitive. Most donated breastmilk will go to these little ones in the NICU whose mamas are having trouble with their milk coming in.
I called BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre to ensure that they are still taking milk donations amidst this pandemic we are experiencing. I explained that I was an RN writing an article and that I didn’t want to lead my readers astray. They told me breastmilk donation is considered essential, just like blood donations! She went on to explain that their donated milk supply is sadly way down. I do realize donating breastmilk is a commitment. The minimal amount required for donation is 150 ounces (this may differ between provinces and states). It takes time and pumping isn’t fun by any means. Giving a gift like this has to be a good fit for you and your family. If you do have an oversupply and think this might work for you, please consider donating your breastmilk. COVID-19 does not transfer via breastmilk. Donors are screened and the donated milk goes through extensive testing as well. The person I spoke with on the phone did say, because of the virus, protocols are changing often and receiving donated milk could change at some point. However, don’t let that deter you. They are currently taking it and need it desperately.
The power of breastmilk is quite extraordinary and can be lifesaving for those in need. You can find so many alternative uses for breastmilk with the stroke of your keyboard. Go ahead and have a look! It really is quite miraculous. But how beautiful is saving a fragile, preterm baby’s life? Wow! Beyond words, so incredible. Especially during this stressful time.
Here is a link for you BC mamas out there who want to learn more about donating your milk. And, of course, The Mama Coach has an article about how to donate breastmilk written by an Alberta Mama Coach. Last but not least, check out Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Here you can look up milk banks in your area.
Take care everyone. Wishing you and your family happiness and health.