First of all I have to thank another Wet Nurse who I forgot:
Rachael from Letters to Ames: Porcelain and I escaped the insanity of my own house to bring Rachael a meal when she had just had her twin girls. I remember what it was like having newborn twins. (Actually I don’t. In fact, Rachael may not even remember that I was there; such is the first year with twins. Or three years.) She had plenty of milk to go around and she nursed Porcelain, even though her own nipples were really sore from having new babies. Thanks, Rachael! You’re handing this whole twins’ thing beautifully!
And now the pumpers:
One of the first things I did when Porcelain needed donor milk was ask my local La Leche League group if anyone had any extra milk in their freezer. I’d been attending LLL even before my pregnancy with Porcelain, because I was a doula and childbirth educator at the time. I attended meetings all throughout my pregnancy — even at a week past my due date. A lovely mom of an absolutely gorgeous cherubic baby offered me some milk from her freezer. She gave me about 200 ounces. A few weeks later she asked if I needed more and I said yes — at the time Porcelain was taking about 16 ounces per day. She gave me another 200 ounces. By the time I moved to Raleigh I had literally cleared out her entire second freezer of milk. I think she gave me around 800 ounces total.
HT was a doula client of mine — my last doula birth before I “retired” from birth work. She had an amazing home waterbirth, and I’m not just saying that because she provided lots of chocolate and snacks for her doula and midwives! However, after the birth she had some serious breastfeeding challenges. I remember going to visit her and she was pumping and crying. I promised her it would get better. I promised her that breastfeeding is 98% intention and that she WOULD get through this and go on to nurse her baby. A year later I went to her for donor milk because I knew she was pumping (and nursing). When I told her how upset I was about not providing enough milk for Porcelain, she reminded me of the WISE WORDS SOMEONE HAD ONCE TOLD HER. They were my words.
**Bonus: she used really awesome milk bags that NEVER ONCE LEAKED.**
After I contacted La Leche League and HT, I posted on my local Mommies Network, in the breastfeeding forum, to ask if anyone had any extra milk or would pump for me. Lo and behold, a total stranger offered to pump for me. She was concerned about her coffee intake affecting the milk, and I said coffee was the least of my concerns. We met a few times so I could pick up milk. One week we tried to find a time to meet, although we were both busy on Saturday morning — we were both going to the Great Strides Walk for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It was then that we realized we had a mutual friend — Stitches, my Jug, who was JH’s friend from school! The world is so small. I couldn’t believe that the total stranger who was pumping breastmilk for Porcelain had gone to school with my friend. (Just goes to show, once again, how awesome my Jugs are. They make great choices in friends.)
CA was another total stranger who I actually found on craigslist. When we were getting ready to move to Raleigh I posted on craigslist looking for local milk donors. I did it very vaguely, since I didn’t want to get flagged about selling body fluids. I posted looking for “milk.” I said that my daughter takes donor milk and did anyone have any donor milk for us? CA contacted me — she loves craigslist — and we emailed a few times back and forth before she agreed to pump for me. (We were both feeling each other out to make sure the other wasn’t some weird fetishist, I think?) We met in person when her baby was about a month old — and CA makes the richest, creamiest breastmilk ever. We took our kids to the park together — she has four kids, and we both homeschool — I still appreciate that she didn’t hold it against me when Animal brought his Cub Scout knife to the park and showed it to a bunch of kids. Possibly by threatening to kill them. In other news, CA donates milk to many many mamas in the Triangle area.
Another local mama — I think I found her on mothering.com — NS had a very premature baby, and she pumped and pumped and pumped while her baby was in the NICU. She ended up with a huge surplus of milk, which she graciously gave to me for Porcelain. When we met she told me that 95% of NICU mamas discontinue pumping early. She is still going — and nursing! — today. Go NS! **Bonus: her milk came in NICU-style bottles so they never spilled.**
My list of donors will continue in another post…