Giving Back to Move Forward: A Milk Journey
By Brittany Regan
In 2021 I learned I was pregnant with identical twins. Cue me driving around with my jaw dropped for about two weeks! Once my husband and I finally picked ourselves up from the shock, we started getting really excited and began preparing to bring home two babies.
Our birth was intense, to say the least. I am big on prep and questions, but there is only so much you can “plan” for with a twin birth. I was amazing (definitely patting myself on the back still), my husband was incredibly supportive, and our medical & support team carried us through what ended up being both a vaginal birth for Twin A and a crash cesarean for Twin B. Our babies spent time in the Newborn Care Center, but eventually were back in our arms.
While in the hospital, we required the use of bridge donor milk for our early term babies. This is milk from Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast, provided in tiny bottles, to help with my transition into feeding my babies all on my own. There are so many different reasons a baby may need donor milk. I am just completely blessed that my hospital had a program and a freezer filled with safe pasteurized donor milk from the milk bank and could support us! We were even given donor milk to bring home for both babies.
I was working hard at triple feeding and eventually used up our donor milk, moving to supplementing with my own pumped milk. Then we were only using bottles every now and then and it felt incredible! Yet, I still did not feel complete. I realized that I had helped others donate milk and I had received milk for my babies, but I was missing something. I wanted to donate milk back to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast for future babies in need. For me, it was a required step in both my healing from my birth and in empowering myself as a breastfeeding parent making it through feeding difficulties.
Milk donation is something I am especially familiar with. I have worked at an office that houses and runs a donor depot for Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast for years. A milk depot is a location where local moms who have already been through the screening process can drop off their milk donations. It has been so special to get to know many breast milk donors through my work running our depot. And I’ve loved meeting and working with the amazing staff at Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast. They are all incredible and so dedicated to what they do for families and fragile babies.
It was amazing to finally come full circle and become a milk donor myself. The screening process was so easy!
Filling out an interest form on their website,
A 15-minute phone screening with an intake coordinator- mine was the incredible Melisa,
A blood test (that the milk bank pays for),
And filling out a few forms, including input needed from my OB.
One part of the donation process that is not required but that I loved, was decorating the breast milk storage bags. It was so fun and motivating! It made pumping a bit more exciting and something to look forward to.
My first donation was made on October 12, 2022!
Have questions about becoming a donor or receiving milk? Reach out to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast any time