New mums know that breastfeeding is not easy! From leaky breasts to sore and cracked nipples, from saggy breasts to stretch marks–all these are real discomforts. However, the the benefits of breastfeeding trump these discomforts for most mums who choose to go the breastfeeding route.
But that is not the case with all new mums. There are also those who choose comfort over breastfeeding and ask other to breastfeed their child because they do not want ‘saggy breasts!’
Yes, you read that right.
A new mum recently took to Reddit to share that her sister asked her to pump breast milk for her unborn baby after seeing that she had recently done it for her sister-in-law who had cancer.
But it looks like this request will be denied for a very specific reason.
Donating Frozen Breast Milk: “My Pregnant Sister Wants Me to Donate Breastmilk”
Image courtesy: Stock
The woman wrote in her post, “I have an 11-week-old daughter, my SIL has a 14-week-old son (yes this was planned). My sister is currently three months pregnant. These are all our first children.”
She explained that she is very close to her sister-in-law who she’s known since their primary school days. Seven years ago, her SIL had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer. She had arranged to source colostrum for her newborn from the hospital, but COVID put a stop to any milk donation.
The mum who wrote the post said she was leaking colostrum since the 33rd week of her pregnancy and had started to collect it in order to donate to the hospital. Fast forward to when their babies were born, the woman was struggling terribly with an oversupply and her SIL’s son was reacting badly to formula milk.
She wrote, “When my daughter was born I developed a very forceful let down and oversupply that made her gassy and spilly so my midwife recommended I pump before feedings. This turned into a freezer full of stored milk and I offered some to my SIL as she was having issues with having tried 9 formulas and 2 he was allergic to and the others made him spilly and gassy.”
The woman mentioned, “This has worked really well for us over the last 10 weeks, both babies are doing amazing and no more upset tummies.”
And this where the woman’s sister, who is three months pregnant came into the picture.
“My sister has now asked me to do this for her when her baby is born because she doesn’t want to breastfeed as she doesn’t want to get saggy boobs or stretch marks,” she said.
The woman refused. Because, by the time her sister’s baby is born, she will be back at work and her daughter will move onto solids.
“She has now gone apeshit at me and put me and SIL on blast on various SM platforms for ‘deliberately excluding her’ and ‘wanting to see her baby suffer’. No amount of explanation calms her down and I’m starting to wonder if I should just do it as her big sister,” asked the woman.
Mums Reacted To Her Sister’s Request, Some Called It ‘Laughable’
Other mums stepped in with their suggestion and advice on what the mum should do.
“Your sister doesn’t have any medical problems”
One user wrote, “Your sister doesn’t have any medical problems where you need to give it to her. It seems you won’t even have any when she has her baby. So there’s no point in your sister doing this. she can just get some from the store or hospital.”
“Breasts get back to shape”
Another user said, “I breastfed 2 kids and, honestly, both times my boobs went back to exactly as they were before breastfeeding once I weaned each kiddo. Time and gravity have taken a FAR worse toll on my boobs than breastfeeding ever did.”
This whole temper tantrum is absurd. “You did it for SIL but won’t keep pumping even after your own kid is off the tit for me?! How selfish of you! I don’t want saggy boobs! But to me, yours already are so keep it coming for me! You dairy cow!” another user chimed in.
One mum called the sister’s way of thinking “laughable.”
“So your sister is upset that you are supporting a cancer survivor’s feeding journey because you won’t do the same for her and her reasoning is pure vanity? So using her logic, you should continue to ‘make your boobs saggy and risk stretch marks’ so that she doesn’t have to? Oh, and she wants you to do this towards the end of your breastfeeding journey with your own child,” she wrote.
Everyone pointed out that the mum is under no obligation to provide breast milk to her sister or anyone if it’s not convenient for her to do so.
Donating Frozen Breast Milk: Why Your Baby May Need It
While breastfeeding can be quite a stressful experience, it is also a life saver. However, lets not forget that some mums are genuinely unable to breastfeed their babies for multiple reasons including the following:
Low milk production and need to supplement your own breast milk with the donor’s breast milk
If you had a double mastectomy and cannot produce breast milk in a sufficient amount
When you are undergoing treatment with some medications that may interfere with breastfeeding
If you have had previous surgeries on the breast that affect your milk production
When you are suffering from an infectious disease that can pass to the baby through breast milk
If you are fostering or adopting babies
In all these instances, a baby will need donated frozen breast milk. And if your baby is one of the candidates, here are few things you must know.,
Donating Frozen Breast Milk: FAQs For All New Mums
Image courtesy: iStock
Who can donate?
A healthy lactating mother who tests negative for HIV or any sexually transmitted disease, is not under any drugs, and is free from any evidence of Hepatitis, can donate breast milk after due examination and approval by a doctor. Remember, you may choose to donate the excess milk to human milk banks out of goodwill, with no payment or compensation.
Who cannot donate breast milk?
If you drink alcohol often, take certain medications, and have communicable diseases that may be passed on to the baby through breast milk, you will not be accepted as a breast milk donor.
I take medicine, can I donate my breast milk?
Some medications are approved to use while donating and some aren’t. It is important to check with your doctor before donating. Remember, you need to be extra careful because there are some babies who may also be premature.
First, check if you have excess milk
The most important thing to check is if you have excess milk to breastfeed your own baby. Only after ensuring your baby is fully fed, can should donate excess milk.
You can donate newly pumped breast milk or frozen milk collected previously (up to 10 months of the date of pumping), provided it is marked with the day, month, and year of collection.
How To Become A Breast Milk Donor?
A number of Milk Banks also have pre-screening on their website. You can fill out the questionnaire online at your convenience. The paperwork needs to be filled out and returned to the Milk Bank.
A blood test will be conducted to check the following:
HIV 1, 2 & O
Hepatitis B & C
HTLV I & II (Human T-lymphotropic virus)
You will be asked to give a cheek swab for creating a DNA profile. This is done so when you ship your donated breast milk, the DNA of the milk is matched against your DNA to ensure you are screened.
After your application is qualified at the human milk bank, you will be given detailed storage instruction and a guide on how to collect your breast milk. You will also be provided with breast milk storage bags. All you have to do is fill, freeze, pack and label your donation, and then ship it to the respective bank.
Once your donated milk is received at the bank, it will again go through some tests. It will finally be prepared for use as a life-saving option for critically ill infants.
Remember, donating frozen breast milk is a choice and it cannot be forced upon you.
Keeping the current situation in mind, it is important for mums to practice good hygiene. For instance, wash your hands before breastfeeding your infant. Plus, wipe your breasts with a wet cloth or have a bath before your child latches on to your breasts.