*I received product and compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions remain my own.
I spent my first year of motherhood pumping and donating my breast milk to the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank. Inspired by Lindsay of Maman Loup’s Den and Stefanie of The Monarch Mommy, I looked into donating breast milk as soon as my supply was established and I was confident in my breastfeeding routine. Before Huckleberry was 2 months old, I was approved, and able to donate what that I had already stored, plus anything that I collected before his 1st birthday. I donated close to 5L (150oz.) each month and loved every minute of it. Now, I recognize that pumping isn’t for everyone, and that donating your breast milk may seem strange at first…but let me give you 6 reasons why you should consider pumping and donating your breast milk. And why you should consider the Philips Avent Comfort Manual Breast Pump for the job.
6 Reasons to Donate Breast Milk
1. Because your baby won’t take a bottle and you can’t fathom wasting that frozen liquid gold.
We tried four different bottles on four times as many occasions and Huckleberry never drank more than an ounce of breastmilk from a bottle, once. But yet I had pumped enough to feed a small army of babies (ok, not that much) and couldn’t fathom throwing it out. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Then, donate!
2. Because you prepared for the apocalypse and now have no room in your freezer.
We only have a fridge freezer, so we can’t actually prepare for an apocalypse, but it does mean that we have to keep things in our freezer moving. I knew when it was time to send off a donation, because we could no longer get the freezer door shut without some super awesome ninja moves. The other side of this reason is an anecdote from a friend. She worried and stressed a lot in the first few months postpartum. She had this fear that something terrible would happen to her and her daughter wouldn’t have her breastmilk. So she pumped and froze breast milk like it was her job. Her freezer quickly became far too full and her daughter had no need for all of that milk. Best solution to that problem? Donate it!
3. Because that sympathetic let-down is going to wet your shirt so you might as well roll with it.
I don’t know about you but for the first six months, every time I nursed on one side, I leaked on the other. Using a manual breast pump on the side I wasn’t nursing on allowed me to save milk otherwise wasted, and made pumping easier because I could work with my natural let-down instead of struggling to get the flow going with just the pump. I have a few mom friends who often complained about pumping and couldn’t fathom donating the amount that I was donating. But they described pumping as this time-consuming unfruitful task. Because I only pumped when I was tied down by a nursing baby, it never felt like an extra chore. Sympathetic let-down and multi-tasking…it sounds so easy to donate!
4. Because it feels good, both emotionally and physically.
I’ve made the odd financial donation to various charities, and I pay my “Hiking Taxes”, but we really can’t afford the feel good acts of donating that some can. We still want the warm fuzzies and the good karma though, so we get creative. Trail Dad and I have both donated blood on many occasions, and I’ve chopped off 8″-16″ inches of hair at least three times now. Donating breast milk is another great way to give without spending any money. And breast milk is something that money can’t buy. That’s the emotional side, now for the physical side. When your milk comes in, when you miss a feeding, when you’ve had an emotional day, you might just need the kind of relief that pumping provides. And if reasons #1 and #2 rang true for you, then donating just makes sense!
5. Because someone somewhere needs it.
According to the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank:
“While mother’s own milk is the gold standard, many mothers of extremely vulnerable hospitalized babies are unable to provide the necessary volume of milk for their babies. When mother’s own milk is not available or is limited, pasteurized donor milk is recommended as an alternative to formula by The Canadian Paediatric Society for sick hospitalized infants.
Pasteurized donor human milk can help protect the most medically fragile babies against life-threatening illnesses such as necrotizing enterocolitis (a severe bowel condition that preterm babies are prone to), and potentially against serious infections and other complications related to preterm birth. The bioactive components of donor milk, including cytokines, hormones, and enzymes, optimize the health and development of babies, and are unmatched by any commercial formula.”
6. Because someday that someone might be your tiny human.
What goes around comes around and there may be a time when you or friend or family member need a breast milk donation for a medically fragile little one. The more mothers there are donating, the more little ones there are receiving the milk they need.
If you would like to donate breast milk, find a milk bank near you and contact them about your eligibility.
I do all of my pumping with a manual pump and have never felt that I needed anything more. I can use it with one hand while holding Huckleberry with the other, it travels well and it uses no electricity. It is also super easy to clean! I may be a little biased against double electric pumps anyway, having grown up around dairy farms (lol) but I couldn’t afford one at the time and the manual pump has served me well. For that first year, I pumped every day, once each morning and each night. I pump less frequently now and seeing as I cannot donate to the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank now that Huckleberry is over a year, I have taken to donating any extra breast milk to my local chapter of Human Milk 4 Human Babies.
The Philips Avent Comfort Manual Breast Pump is only the second breast pump that I have tried, but I feel no need to look any further. It is so comfortable, so easy to use, and so easy to clean and put back together. The parts are all well-made and durable, and the short bottle provides a low centre of gravity so that if you set it down half-full, it doesn’t topple over (an issue I had with my first manual pump). The Philips Avent Comfort Manual Breast Pump, like many Philips Avent products, has even won the PTPA (Parent Tested Parent Approved) Seal of Approval.
In true review fashion, here’s what I love about my Philips Avent Comfort Manual Breast Pump:
- It is so comfortable! And, according to Philips Avent, “More comfort, more milk.” The wide and soft massage cushion with warm feel gently stimulates natural let down and milk flow. The pump is ergonomically designed for single-hand use allowing you one free hand to wrangle a child, text your bestie or turn the pages of your favourite book.
- It is easy to use and easy to clean! The intuitive assembly makes it very easy to visually match parts. There are also very few parts, which is a bonus!and makes for easy cleaning.
- It doesn’t require you to lean forward! No one wants to lean forward to pump, especially if they are trying to nurse a little one on the other side. With any of the Philips Avent Comfort Breast Pumps you can sit more comfortably thanks to the unique design.
- It comes with a natural bottle nipple and a cover! The natural bottle nipple makes for easier latching and the storage bottle doubles as a feeding bottle – perfect for breast and bottle feeding parents! And the cover fits over the massage cushion to keep it clean and prevent spills.
- It is compact and lightweight! This makes it easy to use, store, and transport!
- It is also available as a single electric and double electric breast pump! So if you, unlike me, have no reservations when it comes to using an electric pump, you can get the same comfort and potentially more convenience and have all the reasons to donate, with any of the Philips Avent Comfort Breast Pumps available.