Sharing Is Caring – Shana’s Story

Sharing is caring - milk donor Shana's story

Sharing is caring . . .

Five-year-old Mark loved packing up boxes of milk with his mom, Shana. “Sharing is caring,” she would explain as they took the bags out of the extra chest freezer – the one they bought just to hold all that breastmilk. These precious pouches were bound for Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast. Together mother and son would talk about where the milk was going and how it would help the tiniest of babies. Babies who needed it so they too would have a chance to grow big and strong . . .

The start of a five year journey . . .

Shana had not been able to donate milk when she was nursing Mark. Natural but certainly not easy, breastfeeding was a struggle for Shana. She fought hard to have enough milk to exclusively breastfeed Mark during that first year. But, as is often the case, things were very different the second time around. Having just welcomed her second son, Colin, all the time and effort spent pumping really paid off. Now, Shana was producing even more milk than her little one needed.

“Pumping is extremely demanding,” explains Shana. “I had to put a lot of energy into producing that milk. I drank crazy amounts of water to stay hydrated (and ate just as much!) just to make the milk Colin needed. Of course, there’s also the time that it all takes. I didn’t want to waste a single drop. I knew it could do good in the world. Then I found your milk bank and saw the impact you have. What a difference this milk can make for babies in need.” And if there’s anyone who knows the power of nutrition, it’s Shana.

A nutritionist, Shana was at that time working for WIC, supporting families with very young children. A lot of them would come in while their baby was still in the hospital – often needing NICU care. These families were struggling and many wanted to breastfeed their babies. Shana was glad she could help them in the day-to-day and especially glad to know her milk was going to NICUs. She was making an incredible difference for countless medically fragile babies whose very survival depends on the generosity of milk donors.

Three’s company . . .

When their third beautiful baby boy Ted was born, Shana’s body kicked right into gear. She started producing a true abundance of milk. Perhaps her body had learned from the first two times and mastered the art of creating the aptly named, “liquid gold.” Shana knew she could slow her milk supply down but found herself asking, “Why?” After all, she could offer this vital nutrition to another baby who truly needed it. This was something important she could do. Something that could give the gift of hope and health to a family.

And so, Shana began her second donation journey. And once again, it was truly a family affair. Both of her older boys were involved, and she and her husband used this gift as an opportunity to teach them about the power of giving. “You give what you can. You help people in the special ways that you can.”

The boys would look into the freezer and say, “Are we going to do sharing is caring again?” Shana and her husband would smile and assure them that they were, indeed. This was a family gift, something they would collectively share with another family who was starting out and needed a helping hand. 

Did you know that your freezer stash could save a life? There’s a reason they call it liquid gold! Here at Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, we’re always looking for new milk donors – especially this time of year when demand for donor milk increases. Ready to save and support newborn lives? Learn more about becoming a milk donor here. You can also make like Shana’s family and practice a little “sharing is caring” by sending this story to a friend. Thank you for everything you do to help families in need.

Sharing is caring - brothers meet
Sharing is caring - three brothers together

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