A freezer mishap is every pumping mom’s worst nightmare. Jessica Brown tells how she recovered and went on to donate milk to help fragile babies.
When I was pregnant, I knew I had always wanted to breastfeed. However, being my first experience, I had no idea how it would turn out. Fast forward 13 months and we have been blessed to continue on a really wonderful breastfeeding journey!
However, as beautiful as it was, it definitely did not come easy or as “naturally” as I thought it would, mostly because of the mental toll it took. I was always wondering if the baby was getting enough, was she still hungry, was she gaining enough weight, etc.
She started sleeping long stretches pretty early on, which is why I began pumping. With the late-night pumping sessions, I started to realize I had quite a supply stored up. A friend of mine who was a surrogate at the time had mentioned she was looking into milk donation for herself after she birthed the baby she was carrying. This inspired me because I knew I had a freezer stash that was really more than what my baby needed.
A devastating freezer mishap
I had called Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast and begun the preliminary screening to donate my milk when something really unfortunate happened: the freezer my milk was stored in became unintentionally unplugged and I lost months’ worth of frozen milk! I was devastated. It might sound silly to some, but to me it meant much more than lost milk. It was memories, tears, joys, late nights, bags, labels, and really a huge part of my journey. Dumping the thawed milk down the drain was pretty soul-crushing. I felt really amazing knowing my milk was going to babies who needed it, and now I felt like I completely failed these babies.
After that experience, I was lucky enough to have saved a small frozen stash in our kitchen freezer. From there, it took more time, but I was able to add to the supply I had and ended up with enough to send over to the milk bank.
Sending milk to help babies thrive
It was a bittersweet experience as I packed up the milk and later saw the FedEx guy coming to pick up my cooler to send off to the milk bank. I was happy when I received an email confirming my milk had arrived safely. I felt like part of me had left in the box, too! But my heart was filled with so much joy and happy tears knowing the milk was going to babies who really needed it and would thrive from it.
Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast is an amazing organization. I am so honored I could be a part of their mission and give babies a fighting chance to thrive. Thank you so much for all you do!
Screening to become a breast milk donor is an easy four-step process. Once accepted for donation, milk can be shipped for free door-to-door or through one of our donor milk depots throughout the Northeast.