Our daughter was born at 26 weeks and 5 days at 2 lbs 4 oz. Much to everyone’s surprise, she came out crying, giving me confidence that she would be alright! I didn’t get to hold and breastfeed my baby girl right after she was born like I’d always imagined I would. Instead, a great NICU team worked to stabilize her and then they took her to the NICU which would be her home for the next few months. I got to visit her a few hours later. She was so tiny and had so many things attached to her. I was so unsure of what our new little family’s future would be, but I knew that God was taking care of us.
The doctor told us that they would want to start feeding her through a tube in her mouth as soon as possible. They told us breast milk, as opposed to formula, is extremely beneficial because it lowers her risk of infection, and it’s easier for her under-developed tummy to digest. She only needed 1 ml to start, but being a preterm mother, my milk would probably not be coming in for a few days, maybe even a week. We were told about the option of donor breast milk and we agreed, knowing that it was the best thing for our daughter.
I started pumping the day she was born and thankfully, my milk came in a couple days later! She only ended up needing donor milk for her first couple days of life, but we were so grateful that a mother out there had donated her milk so our baby girl could have the best start possible to life outside the womb. I quickly started producing much more milk than she needed and I decided to look into becoming a milk donor. Because she was born so early, my milk is different from normal term milk, and I knew that it could help some other preemie get the best start to their life outside the womb.
It’s now 11 weeks later and our little girl is still in the NICU, but along with bottle feeding, I’m also finally getting to breastfeed her! She weighs 7 lbs 9 oz and she is doing so well. So far she has no major complications from being born early. We’re looking forward to bringing her home in the next few weeks! —Jessica
Click here to submit your own Milk Story!