Our decision to give our daughter another woman's breastmilk
I never thought I'd wear another woman's Breastmilk as an accessory in my every day life.
It is on my clothes, in my hair, down my shirt, and Lord knows where else. And the truth is, I couldn't be more thankful for this liquid gold.
/////I first want to say that I believe FED IS BEST. I am by no means making claims that breastmilk or formula is better than the other. Or shaming any woman for her decision to use formula when feeding her child. Gypsy has taken formula and will in the future if we no longer have the option of breast milk. This post is about the decision we made to give our daughter another woman’s breast milk and our experience. Please do whatever is best for your family. You and only you know exactly what that is.//////
If you aren't aware of our story. You can read more about us here. We chose to purchase breastmilk from a woman we met in Charlotte, NC to give to our daughter Gypsy the nourishment we felt as a family she needed. We adopted her seven months ago, and desperately wanted to give her breastmilk but learned that our options were pretty limited. I am proud of our decision, and this is a glimpse into why we chose this option.
“Would you breastfeed another woman’s child?”
Some celebrity was photographed breastfeeding another woman’s child in Africa years ago. And the conversation quickly went to "would you do it"? I was fast to answer, "Obviously". If a malnourished child anywhere in the world needed milk that freely flowed from my body, I wouldn't hesitate.
But it isn't only malnourished children in Africa that benefit from breastmilk. It is babies like our daughter, born right here in the states.
When we were deciding whether to give Gypsy formula or breastmilk my options seemed limited. It was either take your pick of formula (I linked our favorite here), or self induce breast feeding myself. Self inducing did not feel like the right option for us, because it can take months and months for your supply to build up enough to nourish the baby. And often times you'll need to take a supplement to help kickstart your production. Milk banks often only provide milk for babies in the NICU, and adopted children are usually put on a waitlist.
This is why I am so thankful for our breastmilk mama. And I am encouraging women that are super producers to donate their milk, or ask their pediatrician if their is another family in the practice that could benefit from the milk and allow that family to employ you/ purchase your milk. Not all Pediatricians offer this, but I still think we should ask and push our health care providers to offer a more wholistic approach to health. This could not only benefit babies that are adopted, but also moms and babies that have a low production.
At first, we received donated milk from a woman that had some extra breastmilk. When we gave the milk to Gypsy, she absolutely loved it. And we saw a major improvement in her health. Gypsy had eczema, and slow moving digestion. Besides breastmilk, we have used these products to help Gypsy's eczema and I am happy to report she has not had an outbreak in months!
- Aleavia Body Wash : I searched for months for a product that was safe and effective for babies. Store bought brands like Aveeno were not cutting it, and now everyone in our house uses this. We love it!
Erbavia Baby Butter: You can get that here or here. It moisturizes her skin better than anything we have found. And like I said, we haven't seen any eczema in months. (Our first and no longer pediatrician that was very old school told me it go away on its own by the time she was two. I wasn't satisfied with that answer, and knew eczema was a symptom of a gut related issue.)
I asked our Pediatrican if she could connect us with someone that was interested in becoming a new age wet nurse. Thankfully, we have pumps now! We wanted to have the option to give G breastmilk exclusively, and set her up for success. We are so lucky to have connected with a family that not only feeds her own child, but two other babes that benefit from her milk!
From the words of our breastmilk mama, she says this about her experience:
“ It is my pleasure. When I started my breastfeeding journey, I couldn’t figure out why it wasn't going the way I wanted it to. But the Universe has its way of doing things for a reason. Reasons that we may not know until later down the road. The Universe knew little Gypsy needed me to thrive and grow. I think about it all the time. We met each other just in time before Robbie got released. And whats crazy is Robbie’s number with the knights was 23. My husband and I met the 23 of April, got engaged 23 of May, and my son was born the 23 of February. 23 is our lucky number in life and Robbie just happened to be that number”. - Katiria
ARE you KIDDING me?! Even crazier is that they are huge Red Sox fans! And you all know our love for the number 108. How cool that they have a number that guides them through life too? From the moment that I met Katiria, I knew I could trust her to nourish our daughter. I wont lie, I was nervous. Some friends had referred me to Facebook groups. But I wasn't sure about it. This happened so naturally for us, we knew it was meant to be. My hope is that someone reading this is inspired to donate or sell her milk.
What stood out most to me about Katiria was her ability to turn something challenging into a gift. I have never breast fed, but my pregnancy journey did not go as planned. I wanted desperately to turn my pain into something beautiful and offer it as a gift to others that had walked similar paths. Katiria told me her over production of milk made her feel like everything was going wrong and hurt her ability to comfortably breast feed her son. But somehow, someway she manifested that burden into a gift. Now she feeds her son, and two other babies breast milk.
What a gift!! This liquid gold has been a gift to our family. But receiving it from a woman who knows her power, and took adversity and turned it around to help others is my favorite thing ever. I am honored to be providing extra income to this family. If anything positive came from our time in Charlotte, it is definitely that we found a Pediatrican that will treat Gypsy virtually as we travel, and connected us to our breast milk mama.
I have said this before but it feels like the Universe conspired together to bring us Gypsy. Watching the world love her, allowing the internet in on her life, knowing how many people prayed for and over her before we knew about her is all so crazy to me. She has an adopted mama who loves her beyond the sun, and moon, and stars. A birth mama that sustained her life in the womb. And a breastmilk mama that nourishes her sweet, little body where ever it carries her. Knowing that she is getting breast milk from a woman that loves her own body fills me with so much mama pride.
You can't always see it, but I am decorated in liquid gold every single day. If your'e a mom, you know how messy babies are. Almost nothing stays in or out of their mouth. But I wouldn't have it any other way. We are so grateful for our breastmilk mama!