'Pumping for Preemies': How Donor Breast Milk Helps Moms in Need

Katie Garza was crowned Mrs. United States over the summer, and she continues to use her platform to discuss the importance of donating breastmilk. As a mother of three once-premature girls, Katie understands the struggles of trying to nurse a child firsthand, and she hopes her nonprofit, Pumping for Preemies, can help moms in need.

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Formerly Mrs. Texas, Katie founded Pumping for Preemies when her youngest daughter, Aubrey, was just a month old. Aubrey, now 7 months, is the only child Katie nursed, as she hadn't been able to do so with daughters Phoenix, 6, and Gracie, 4. Already dealing with the stress of having a child in the NICU, Katie found that her breastfeeding success with Aubrey was her "aha moment" to launch a foundation that promotes human breast milk donations and awareness. Katie also put her breast milk where her cause is by donating milk of her own.

More from The Stir: A Breast Milk Donor Helped Me Feed My Baby (VIDEO)

Donor breast milk isn't taboo, but it is also something that's not discussed a lot. Sure, we sometimes hear news stories about donor banks, but how many folks were privy to their existence, say, in the hospital? Katie mentions how no one discussed the possibility of using breast milk donations with any of her children, as there was more of a focus on lactation tips -- or using formula as a fail-safe.

Honestly, I didn't know such a thing was possible, but I am so glad human milk donation is getting the attention it deserves. Moms should be made aware of their options, and those who want their child to have breast milk -- even if the mother is unable to provide it herself -- should be able to get it. It also empowers breastfeeding mothers to pay it forward with (liquid) gold that will never depreciate.

In the five months of operating, Pumping for Preemies has donated over 5,200 ounces of breast milk, which is truly awesome (Katie hopes her nonprofit can provide donor milk to families who might not be able to afford it).

More from The Stir: 7 Ways to Keep Baby Safe When Using Donor Breast Milk

Two cheers for mommies helping mommies and building a network that can help one another! I'm so thankful to have had the experience of breastfeeding my firstborn (he self-weaned at 11 months), and the chance to do it again with my 4-month-old. It's something I always wanted to try, but have heard stories about regarding how challenging it can be. Now knowing there are national donor banks -- and organizations like this to help other moms -- I think my supply (I'm not a lactation wizard, but I do okay) could get better use in the hands of a family or hospital that wants it, instead of sitting in my freezer for a later date.

Just a little food, or in this case, milk for thought.

 

Image via Pumping for Preemies/Facebook

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