Milk Sharing & Me

September 22, 2017 1 LIKES

This is a story about adoption, “magic” milk and kindness in an online community of women helping women.  This is about milk sharing.

Before I was a mom, I was a high school teacher. I taught the courses in which counselors stuck kids when they couldn’t find another elective to fit their schedule. My favorite course to teach was called “Parenting + Child Development.”  Not only enjoyed it for the content, but also the hilarious questions I was asked by hormonal 15 year olds sitting in the desks across from me. Some of the most epic questions graced my ears during the conception unit (obviously).  I knew I had to play it cool when they started with something to the effect of: “I’m not trying to be funny or awkward okay…I’m serious with this question, Mrs. Liszt…” I anticipated the following question to be one for the record books.

“Can you die while having sex, Mrs. Liszt?”

“Well, sweetie, it is possible that a human could die while walking to the mailbox or throwing a softball or many other things, so yes, one could die while having sex.”

Second to these questions (that often fueled my dinner party conversations) though, was the amazement when these kids learned something that left them in awe.

“You are telling me that breast milk can change temperature and then regulate the baby if it’s hot or something?”

“There is NO way that stuff can help the baby get better if its sick…”

“That sh*t is magic.”

“Yes, kids! All of that is true… and please remember that we don’t use any profane language in the classroom.” I would reply.

In learning these facts growing up and studying them in my undergrad courses, I too was in awe of the ability and beauty of the woman’s body to not only grow and protect her baby from conception to delivery but then to fully sustain it once earth side.

When my husband, Shaun, and I decided to pursue infant adoption for our firstborn,

I knew I wanted to explore the options for feeding our future baby breast milk. Not knowing exactly what he received in utero made me want to bolster his health in those first months of life with the “magic” milk. I began researching right away and learned some fascinating things about induced lactation and milk sharing. Induced lactation is a term that describes the method by which a woman who is not pregnant breastfeeds her child. The woman takes a daily regimen of hormones to mimic pregnancy in the body and then once the child arrives and begins to suck, the body continues to produce more milk to keep up with what the baby needs. It is an amazing technology that is similar to wet nurses utilized in other cultures. The other option, milk sharing, is when women come together and share pumped breast milk with other women who have a low supply or adoptive parents in need.

When our son was born just two weeks after we found out about him, I was not prepared to induce lactation. I became worried and upset about the possibility of not giving him breast milk, so I immersed myself in the milk-sharing world. My doctor gave me the run-down on milk sharing and gave me a great list of questions to ask mothers willing to share including:

  1. Do you have any special dietary restrictions?
  2. Are you on any medications?
  3. How old is your child and when was the milk pumped?

I went home that day excited and ready to ask for help. In our local Facebook group, “Triangle Milk Share” moms in need of milk can post about their situation and wait to hear back. I posted about our little guy and our need for a long-term donor if possible. Then…Jennifer commented. Best day ever.

Today, I sit with my 23 pound 8 month old (yes, he weighs as much as many 2 year olds; he LOVES the milk) who has been almost exclusively breastfed and I am so very thankful. I’m thankful for Jennifer and many other mothers who pumped endlessly for a baby boy they barely knew. Isaiah is a healthy, thriving baby boy and we have come to truly believe in the design of the “magic” milk.

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All images via GIPHY
Milk Sharing & Me

Laura Liszt

Momseze Blogger

Laura Liszt is a former high school teacher and current wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her baby boy, Isaiah, was brought home through domestic adoption on his birthday in the summer of 2016. When she's not playing with her little guy at home or at the park, you may find her taking photos, hiking on a local trail, or whipping up something in her petite, downtown kitchen.