A NICU Doctor Mom Donates (Donor Story)

Donor Story: A NICU Doctor Mom Donates

A NICU doctor  mom donates breast milk

About Maushumi 

My name is Maushumi Assad and my first and most important job is being a mother of two kids: my four-year-old son, Maheem, and my one-year-old daughter, Aleena.  I am also a physician in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I know firsthand how important donor milk can be when mothers are too sick or are otherwise unable to provide milk (liquid gold) to their preterm infants, babies who are at high risk of developing intestinal infections. Throughout my training and in my current work, my focus has been on breast milk research in the preterm population, so I understand the myriad of health benefits when babies receive human milk.  

Both of my children were born via c-sections. My son was born by emergency c-section. My daughter was a scheduled c-section, but of course she had other ideas and showed up earlier than planned!  

My Breastfeeding Experience 

With my son Maheem I was able to breastfeed him until he was 17 months old. I didn’t have any excess milk that I could donate though.  

With my daughter Aleena, I was able to breastfeed for five weeks. At that point, my daughter got Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and was hospitalized. She had to be given IV fluids and was on oxygen. After this, she primarily drank from a bottle, and I pumped to provide milk for her. 

When I was pumping for Aleena, I had an abundant milk supply. I was able to pump 65 oz a day. That was plenty for her with lots left over to share. I wanted to be able to give back to the community in some way. Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast made it extremely easy.  

Pumping along with working is exhausting and hard work but watching preterm infants in the NICU thrive because of donor milk they have received makes it worth it. As a doctor I have a front row seat to the many babies helped by donor milk. It was gratifying to become part of that process in a new way, by donating milk.  

Learning about Milk Donation 

As a NICU doctor, I care for vulnerable babies every day. For many of them, if they are not able to have their mother’s own milk, we recommend donor milk rather than formula to lower their risk of developing Necrotizing Enterocolitis (a serious gastrointestinal problem that primarily impacts premature infants and can lead to permanent debilitation or death) When I realized I was making more than enough milk for Aleena, I wanted to give to babies like the fragile babies I work with who I knew really needed that milk.   

Even though I have an extremely busy schedule, it was very simple to schedule with Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast for the phone screen and the lab draw so I could become a milk donor. The results came back very quickly, and I was able to ship milk while I continued to breastfeed. I also donated some milk for research at the hospital I work for.  

Family Response 

My family is so proud of our milk donation. It really teaches young children the importance of community and giving back. My son even says proudly, “We are helping many little babies to eat and not get sick.” 

What do you want others to know about Milk Donation? 

If you have enough milk for your little one, do not waste a drop. Put your milk to good use and donate it to a nonprofit milk bank. You can save some very vulnerable babies’ lives! 

I would really like to thank all the donor intake coordinators who have been so wonderful in making this such a streamlined process and answering all my questions. They are so knowledgeable. This process is simple because they help every step of the way. Thank you to my family and colleagues at work for supporting me through this as well. 

Donor Story: A NICU Doctor Mom Donates