Joshua's Story: Why I Chose Another Mother's Milk

By Lindsey Ward © 2010


Joshua was born on August 23rd, in the water, at our home. He weighed 6lbs 2oz and was 19 inches long. He was a tiny little guy, but healthy. Before he was conceived I knew I wanted to exclusively breastfeed him. I have a daughter who is 27 months older than Joshua and I was not successful with breastfeeding her. I quit after 2 weeks because it was "just too hard."

I am a different mother than I was the first time around. I was so excited to try breastfeeding again. I bought a pump (which wasn't a good one, but I thought I would only need it from time to time). I didn't buy any formula or have any in the house. I had a cabinet full of formula before my daughter was born because I knew it "might not work out." I didn't want that temptation to give up this time around. I wanted to know that the only way my baby was going to eat was from my breasts because we did not have any other options in the house. I stocked up on lanolin and breast pads. I bought a latch assist because I remembered I had a hard time getting my daughter to latch on because I wasn't "sticking out" enough for her. I felt prepared. I felt confident. I had support. I had the most determination I ever had to accomplish something (besides my homebirth). I was not at all ready to accept "no."

His birth was uncomplicated. 17 hours of labor and an excellent birth. We were healthy. He breastfed for an hour straight afterwards. I thought, "This is wonderful! This is going to work this time!" He slept a lot his first day which was normal. His 2nd day he was still sleeping a lot. I was waking him up to feed. He didn't want to stay latched. He would pop on and off constantly. He would only actually be sucking for 30 seconds at a time at best. I would work with him for over an hour each time before he would get exhausted and go back to sleep.

My milk came in on day 3. I felt like I had plenty to give him. I didn't want to start pumping in fear of an over-supply. I look back now and think I should have started pumping. Day 3 he wasn't any better at latching. He was still sleeping a lot. I didn't feel he was getting enough. My midwife called because she noticed my concerns that I posted on Facebook and said to come in the next day so he could be weighed. At our 2 day check up he was 5lbs 10oz, which was in the normal range for weight loss after birth. Day 4 I went in to my midwife's office. I expressed my concern. I told her how he was popping on and off. I fed him so she could see his habits. She suggested different positions and that I feed him around the clock, that I not allow him to sleep for very long, and hold him skin-to-skin. He was weighed and was still 5lbs 10oz, like 2 days previous. She asked me to come in the next week.

Joshua eats his first meal

I did what I was told and things seemed a little better, but not by much. When I left her office that day (Friday, Day 4 of his life) I immediately went to BabiesRus and bought a My Brest Friend pillow. It was much easier to position him with this. We came in on Tuesday - he was now 8 days old. I was still having difficulties with him staying latched. He was weighed at 6lbs even. I was so happy! He had gained weight despite my worries.

I continued to nurse him around the clock and we came back in the next week. He is now 2 weeks old. He was weighed and was 6lbs even. He had not gained any weight in a week. I felt like a ton of bricks just fell on my chest. My midwife said to keep doing what I was doing. We came back the next week. He is now 3 weeks old. He was weighed and he was still 6lbs even. Not even an ounce gained!

What is wrong with my baby?

What is wrong with my body?

My midwife told me to start pumping and give him expressed breastmilk through a syringe with my finger or through a tube at the breast the same time he is latched on. I started to do what she said. I started pumping and it hurt so bad! I was tore up from my pump and literally in tears. I needed a new pump. I expressed what I could through the pain and he was finger fed. He was still popping on and off, only staying latched for a minute at best. His suck was not all that strong but I didn't know at the time. I didn't have anything else to compare it to since my daughter only breastfed for 2 weeks. We went in to the office again the next week. He was 4 weeks old. He seemed bigger to me, surely he has gained weight! Right? He was weighed: 6lbs 4oz. He gained weight! It was not enough, though.

1 Month old Joshua, 6lbs

We really did have a problem. My midwife asked if I would be ok with supplementing with formula. Joshua was so skinny and just looked sickly. I agreed even though it broke my heart. I was completely devastated. I wanted him to not have even 1 drop of formula, but I had to do it for him. I started finger feeding him formula and he was spitting up more but was otherwise tolerating it okay. I was still trying to breastfeed him. His latch and suck were not improving. I bought a new pump that was more comfortable and started pumping like crazy. I started taking herbal supplements. I was on fenugreek, blessed thistle and later on goat's rue. I was drinking mother milk's tea and making sure I had plenty of water to drink. When he was 1 month old I was pumping about 2-3oz total (both breasts) each session. I pumped 4-5 times a day.

We went in the next week. He was 5 weeks old and had been on formula for 1 week. He weighed at 7lbs 4oz. He gained 1 pound in 1 week! I was so happy to see the scale move, but sad because it was the formula that made it happen, not my milk. We scheduled to return to the office in 2 weeks to make sure he was still gaining, and for my post-partum check up. Over those 2 weeks his interest in the breast diminished. After 2 weeks of finger feedings I gave in to the bottle. My daughter was acting out and feeling neglected. It would take me so long to finger feed him each time. He was eating 4-5oz by 5 weeks old. The bottle made is it easier and happier for both my children. I would still put him to the breast but he started denying it. He stopped trying to latch on and his suck just wasn't strong enough to get the hind milk out. We know now that was the problem to begin with. That is why he wasn't gaining weight - because he wasn't getting the fatty milk. I never did have a giant supply of milk. If I wasn't taking the herbs, it may have disappeared a lot sooner than it did. I think I might have IGT  (insufficient glandular tissue) but am not certain.

We went back 2 weeks later. He was now 7 weeks old and weighed, 9lbs 4oz! He had gained 2lbs in 2 weeks! He was still gaining 1lb per week. I was thrilled he was gaining weight. He was much more alert, and seemed happier. Deep down I still felt awful that this was all because of the formula. I wasn't making enough milk to cut it out. By 8 weeks he wanted nothing to do with the breast. I continued to pump. And I looked into donor milk.

I contacted a milk bank in North Carolina. She said it would cost $3.50 per ounce! I was shocked. We could not afford that. I thought I would just have to accept that my son will have to be primarily formula fed. My daughter was formula fed from 2 weeks of age and she is "fine." I convinced myself that the milk I was pumping was his multivitamin and I had to continue. I knew every drop mattered. At that point I was making 6-8oz per day to give to him. That amount continued until he turned 3 months old. After Thanksgiving I started getting merely drops, and that was all. I had a decrease before but it came back with more blessed thistle and goat's rue, but I was tired of fighting. I had been working for a good milk supply since Day One and I was exhausted from the around the clock pumping. I was not a happy mom. It showed, and I knew my kids could feel this.

On November 18th, however, before the Thanksgiving milk slump, I went to two mom's houses for the first time. And it was there that I picked up two weeks worth of breastmilk from them! I had contacted the mothers through Human Milk 4 Human Babies on Facebook. That day was the last day my son had any formula. When the milk bank wasn't an option anymore, I found HM4HB - or rather, it found me.

I thought my son would never have the breastmilk he deserved. But today, the offers of milk continue to pour into my inbox. My son has received milk from 8 different mothers from HM4HB so far. A few of them have offered to continue pumping for him and give me milk in the future. My son has been exclusively fed human milk since that day. I have a deep freezer we bought solely for this purpose and it is half full right now of frozen milk. Tomorrow I am going to pick up another 400oz (est.) from one mother.

My son is healthy and happy! I am completely satisfied now that he is off formula entirely. I feel better about my "failure" at breastfeeding because of HM4HB and the generous moms who have donated to us. My son is still gaining almost 1 pound per week. I know he is doing great and it's not because of some artificial formula. He weighed 15lbs at 3 1/2 months old and I am pleased to know he has the antibodies in his system thanks to human milk to fight through the winter/flu season. My husband and I have had a cold already and he didn't even catch a sniffle. My daughter was 3 months old when she caught her first cold while being exclusively formula fed.

If it wasn't for HM4HB my son would also be 100% formula fed right now because I am no longer producing milk. I know formula is not poison, but it is not what nature intended for our babies. I know if it wasn't for the formula in the beginning, my son would not have gained any weight. Formula has its occasional purpose. It's 4th in line behind breastfeeding, expressed milk from a baby's own mother, and then donor milk. If I don't have to give my son formula why should I ever? HM4HB is such a great organization! I believe without doubt it will make our world a healthier place because more babies will have access to breastmilk. To see mothers helping mothers is what reminds us that their is good still left in this world. There are hundreds of people doing a selfless service to help another mother and her baby. Not everyone would give their baby some other mother's milk, but I have chosen that this is the best for my son. I know he will thank me later for all the time and effort I have put in to his health and well-being. He will also have a lot of "milk mamas" to thank as well!

Thank you to HM4HB and the many, many mothers out there who have donated to us or will in the future!

Thank you to all those mothers who are donating to other mothers.

Thank you!

Update: Read Part Two of Joshua's Story here: Joshua's Story: Why I Still Choose Another Mother's Milk

Lindsey Ward is a 24 year old wife and full time mother to two beautiful children - both whole and happy! She's a homebirthing, lactivist, intactivist who considers herself to be 'semi-crunchy.' She says she is both loved and hated for her health-conscious advocacy for babies and their mothers. Ward serves clients through her Virginia based, Know Better, Do Better Birth Services, and also directs Intact NoVa.  

If you would like to donate milk or need milk for your baby, please visit the Breastmilk Donation page to discover your options.

World Milksharing Week Homepage

For additional helpful books, websites, and articles for nursing mothers, see Breastfeeding Resources.



  1. Okay, I'm crying! Good job Mom! and Thank god for Eats on Feets!

  2. I know this is going to seem a very ignorant question. But i am genuinly puzzled about how you can know that the milk from women you don`t know, is safe?

  3. I know it is safe because these women are very open about their health status and diet. They also have records from I can look at from when they had their blood screens while pregnant. If I feel something is wrong or get a bad vibe. I simply do not accept the milk. I always firmly believe that these women would NOT put their own babies lives in jeopardy. These women pumped this milk with intention of giving it to their own baby. If any contamination takes place it will happen due to not being stored properly. I trust that these women know how to do that. Yes there are risks but there are also risks to formula feeding. I believe the risks of milk sharing outweigh the risks of formula feeding. Breast is best.

  4. I had a very similar situation with my son 7 years ago. I, too, tried everything possible to give my son my milk. The 'skinny' picture of your son brings me right back to when my boy was 2 weeks old and failing to thrive. Unfortunately, I didn't know about private milk donation at the time, so he ate formula and the several ounces per day of milk I could pump. While it was so hard emotionally, I learned to define my own success. I came to feel ok about all the formula since I was doing everything I could to give him as much of my milk as possible. He did continue to breastfeed every day for the comfort of it if not for the milk and I pumped until he decided he didn't want my breast anymore at about 8 months. I'm glad I can look back now and know I did my very best. I'm so glad you have come to that knowledge even sooner! Great job, mama!

  5. This gave me goose bumps! What a lovely story that supplanted what could have been feelings of total defeat. Thanks for sharing your story, and thanks to peaceful parenting for posting it!

    To Laura, most donors are willing to get blood work done, or still have their prenatal blood work showing that they are disease-free and their milk is safe :) As an extra safety measure for those who feel it's necessary, flash heating the milk on your stove can even kill the HIV virus!

  6. Laura, just a thought, but how do you know formula made from cows you don't know is safe? I'm not trying to be a smart aleck either.

  7. I love you and Joshua's story so very much. It will keep me warm tonight and give me strength whenever I question the path that I have been led to follow.

    Forever yours,
    Shell Walker

  8. I love Joshua's story so very much.

    It will keep me warm tonight and will give me strength whenever I am wrought to question the path that I have been led to follow.

    Forever yours,
    Shell Walker

  9. Lindsey, I met you at the BBD Christmas Tea Party--the "placenta lady" ;) What a whole other amazing conversation we could have had there. My last two babies were given the most amazing donations of milk. I had a reduction at 15 and I don't make enough to even sustain a newborn. Formula it was for my babies, in addition to the paltry amount they got from me. After the sixth baby, I started using the Weston A. Price foundation's raw milk formula to supplement instead of the powdered formula (when the donations ran dry, of course). At least I knew the quality of the ingredients. I can only hope I have the success you have had with Eats on Feets VA with the new baby in April. Thanks so much for sharing your story!!

  10. Thank you all for love!

    Celeste I wish you the best! I hope you do find all the milk you need for that baby! We have been so very blessed!

  11. Lindsey I thought you looked familiar!!! I delivered with BBD, too :) So very happy that your sweet baby is able to have human milk. As for questions about safety, WHO recommends formula as an absolute last resort behind donated milk. Women who donate milk have pumped additional for their own children, and are willin to disclose their lifestyle choices and medical information to other mothers because they recognize an intense need for the accessibility of human milk. I have cross-nursed and continue to do so. At the very least, donating mothers see babies - tiny humans with need - and not a means to increase profit. I have faith in that kind of good will.

  12. What a great story. Thank you for sharing it with us! I think the speed with which Eats on Feets has spread shows the need.

    One other benefit, which my hubby pointed out, is that by donating my milk, I am sending a very strong message to my own children. A message of the importance of breastmilk, and the message that mothers can band together to help each other out. The more milk donation is seen as a normal, viable option, the better for babies who drink the donated milk, the better for mums who use the donations, and better for all mums as the magical aura of formula decreases. As Lindsey noted, formula does have a place, but a small place if mothers can come together to help each other out. Well done Eats on Feets for helping to make this possible!!

  13. @Laura, how do you know it's not safe? Cows are given growth hormone, antibiotics and who knows what else. Formula can cause big problems. Human milk does not. It is species specific. If you would be worried at all just flash pasteurize it and that will take care of any 'bugs'. The food issue is crazy, if you know you or your baby is allergic to something (like cow's milk) you just seek out a dairy free or whatever free mom.

  14. @Lindsey...Please contact an IBCLC the next time you have a baby. It's not that he wasn't getting the hindmilk. It sounds like he wasn't transferring any milk well. And the first important thing is to get lots of stimulation in the first 3 days. The pump could have really boosted your supply if you had used it. If he was not nursing 8-12 times then you needed to be pumping that much. He might have a tongue-tie (the less common type, posterior can cause problems and many doctors don't see it)

    I see so many factors that may have caused the not enough milk scenario but the main thing now is your little guy is getting human milk thanks to the wonderful donor moms from 'eats on feets', yay! But next time don't wait and get lots of skilled help within the first days and definitely in the first two weeks, this is the crucial milk building time when your body is setting it's calibration system for how much milk you will be needing. You can't get too much stimulation during this time. Good luck!

  15. Lindsay, Thanks so much for sharing your story! What a beautiful boy you have. You should be a proud mama!

    As far as shared breastmilk, I think the benefits outweigh the risks.

  16. Thank you ladies!

    He was checked for tongue-tie during his newborn exam by my midwife. I do wish I had started pumping earlier. If I do have a 3rd baby (which hubby says he's done) I will seek out more help to try and succeed.

    I also froze my placenta and made smoothies with it. I heard it could help increase milk supply. I wanted to try everything in my power to make it work with my son. The smoothies made me feel wonderful, but it didn't do much for my supply like I had hoped.

  17. Yay! Thanks for sharing this story. It could almost have been my story with my first (only, so far)... right down to the not gaining weight and listlessness, knowing something is not wrong and so not wanting to give formula... I wish that I had known about "eats on feets" then... fortunately I had a friend who was nursing an 11 month old who helped me for a while. I was able to nurse for over 2 years with supplementation via SNS at first and later the bottle. Just never made enough for my 10lb at birth boy. ~Cindy B

  18. This story hit close to home. My older son had a hard time latching on and also slept alot. By 2 weeks he was not thriving and was dehydrated. We ended up having to supplement with formula while I got my milk production up. I had a very supportive pediatrician who encouraged me to keep trying. I was able to exclusively breastfeed in the end for 2 years. I remember feeling so guilty when I was giving him formula. I also remember my horror when another pediatrician tried to shame me into giving up breastfeeding him because "it was my fault" that he wasn't getting enough. He is now an extremely healthy 3 yr old and I am successfully nursing my 2nd child. I loved reading this because breastfeeding can be one of the most heartbreakigly difficult things when it isn't working and most people don't talk about it.

  19. I enjoyed reading this!I am so happy for you and your baby that you are able to get breastmilk for him!!It reminds me of wet nurses..years ago.LOL
    I was also unsuccessful breastfeeding my oldest son.The same thing happened to us.
    I went La Leche League and I was successful breastfeeding my two other boys.
    But I can absolutely sympathize with how you felt.

  20. Women are smart, we are intelligent enough to handle this. Milk donation gives me faith in humanity. It warms my heart.

  21. I wish I had known about breast milk donations when I struggled to feed my first born. When I finally learned about donor milk I swore that I would donate my own milk when I had my second child. I and proud to say that since the birth of my second child I have now donated over 2000 ounces of milk to a needy family and it feels SO good! I've also wet nursed for friends, which is such a sweet experience. :)

    For those who are concerned about health risks, for my family I provided all my blood tests from before, during, and after my pregnancy to show I had been and was currently in good health, and my midwife also included a letter of reference stating that I was fit to breastfeed my own child and donate milk to another families child. I developed a bond and a certain level of trust with the family I was donating to so they did not ask me to continue with blood testing but I certainly would have if they were concerned.

  22. If you do decide to have a third baby, please try breastfeeding again. My 6th child had a very similar nursing pattern, latch, stay on for just a short time, then pop off. Thankfully, I am a childbirth educator and had access to great lactation consultants for help. We began pumping every 2 hours at day 7 and with the help of fenugreek to help get my supply back up, I was out-producing my baby by just a few days later. We had a set routine for every feeding, I would try to latch him, if he didn't latch, I would hand him off to another family member to feed while I pumped. We kept this schedule for 6 weeks and one day he just latched on and nursed as if he'd been doing it from birth. He nursed till he was almost 3. I found Dr. Jack Newman's book to be a great help, he says that as long as the mom's milk supply is maintained, that almost every baby will go the breast and nurse between 4 and 8 weeks of age, even if they've never nursed before. So, you could still nurse. I doubt you have IGT since you were getting 2 to 3 ounces per pumping. My daughter has IGT and only gets about 1 to 1.3 ounces per pumping. She is getting breastmilk donations through EoF for her daughter. We are very thankful for each and every mom who selflessly shares her milk with my sweet grandbaby.

  23. Thanks for telling your story. I know other babies who have benefited from donor milk. It's so important. I'm glad your family is doing well!

  24. Exciting to see your story getting more exposure on NPR - even if it was a little down on the awesomeness that is milk sharing!

    Thank you so much for giving your baby such a gift and for sharing your story with others so they know there are other alternatives if they find themselves in a similar position. ❤

  25. The mama/baby in the story are who've I've donated milk too! I'm so happy her little boy is growing big and strong on mama's milk.... She's coming by today to pick up more milk!

  26. That's so awesome!! =) I donated some milk to a friend of a friend.

    What irks me is the NPR comments underneath about how its "unsafe". I hate to say it but the only people who are pumping and storing milk like this are people who are huge lactivists and pro breastfeeding... its not like donating blood which anyone can do! I really doubt someone who is so into breastfeeding is going to be doing anything risky!

  27. What a great article!

    As to the safety, this sums up my feelings: "The ultimate assurance, she says, is that these women are feeding their own babies with this milk."

  28. NPR:

    As for the info reported by NPR where approximately 3% of donors are diseased, please know it is based on a single study where blood *screening* tests were used.

    Blood screening, due to its very nature, has a high false positive rate. This study did NOT look at the results from the further confirmatory testing required to get an actual diagnosis for HIV, HTLV, Hepatits C, etc., and so this study reports little else but inflated numbers.

    To say that 3% of donor mothers are infected is nothing other than scare tactics and helps no one to make informed milk sharing choices.

    To re-cap, false positives ABOUND for initial blood screening tests. It is unacceptable that there is no mention of the (extensive) confirmatory testing required to get an actual, confirmed diagnosis (this is especially true for HTLV, but also for all other diseases that they tested for).

    The study’s authors did NOT disclose this very pertinent information, and simply stated that a blanket 3.3% of potential donor mothers had positive serology for infectious disease. That is not called ‘science’. It is called fear-mongering.

    Please see the study's abstract, here:

    It then comes as no surprise to see that one of the study’s authors is the recent past president of HMBANA (Human Milk Banking Association of North America). :/

    I can't help but wonder… Why the devise? Why aren’t all advocates of human milk for human babies able to get on the same page?

    When radio reports like this come out, speaking to the supposed “inherent danger of other women’s breastmilk”, it makes me sick, thinking of the formula big-wigs sitting back, watching us play directly into their hands.

    Let me put it this way: I go to sleep far easier at night since the launch of Eats On Feets GLOBAL.

    Simply put, this is due to the fact that less powdered infant formula is finding its way into the unsuspecting guts of babies. I feel incredibly good about that.

    I must ask those who are pushing women away from INFORMED milk sharing without having done due diligence (shame on NPR for not investigating that "3%" number the medical professionals are throwing around) how *they* sleep at night, knowing that disingenuous reporting such as this will inevitably scare mothers away from human milk –the optimal food for infants, the species-specific milk that human babies biologically expect to consume . . .

  29. when i lost my twin girls at 8 months pregnant I desperately tried to donate my breast milk....I called the hospitals where they advocate for mom's to breast feed their babies....but they told me they dont take donations because there was no sure way to know if the milk was safe...I wish I had of heard of eats on feets then, i wanted to turn a tragedy into something good, I think it would have helped with dealing with my lose knowing I was able to help someone elses babies.

  30. To the last Anon - I am so sorry for the loss of your babies. I cannot imagine losing twins (or any baby). My heart goes out to you. ❤

  31. I love this!! My foster to adopt son is now on 100% donor milk and I'm so appreciative to all those milk mamas who are so selfless and giving and provide our babies with the milk nature intended them to have

  32. I love that she is so young and so smart this mother!!!! Bravo to her for not giving up.

  33. I went through similar problems with poor latch when my twins were born. One twin just wasn't latching and nursing properly. I never heard her swallow while she nursed. The other twin nursed well and the one with latch issue would get some residual let down when I tandem nursed. We tried everything and worked for weeks and weeks to try and get her to nurse but I ended up exclusively pumping for them. This was so discouraging for me, especially since I had nursed 5 other babies before the twins and had even pumped and donated milk after a couple of my other babies had been born.

    I pumped about 50oz a day until they were about 4 1/5 months old and then my milk supply tanked when my menstrual cycle came back. I did have a wonderful local friend who gave me about 8 grocery bags full of frozen breast milk that I used also until it was gone.

    I wish I could have found something like Eats on Feets when I was needing it so badly last year. We went through a ton of digestive problems with the twins.

  34. The initial group that Lindsey found and obtained donor milk through is now "Human Milk 4 Human Babies" (HM4HB) reflecting a more global name for milk sharing between moms. Their site and all the local chapters around the world is here:

  35. that is PHENOMENAL!!! i have been donating on HM4B for a while now (maybe 4 months?)when the name used to be "eats on feets" and i love it! it makes me feel so good that im able to help out not only expense wise with another family, but more importantly help out and pave the way for ANOTHER HUMAN LIFE. there are positives and negatives to formula let alone the BPA that the can is lined in....why not give what babies are intended to eat? its a shame and quite heinous that milk banks charge so much. yeah, my mum and some friends are repulsed with this "giving milk to people you dont know"-doesnt make sense to me...but it doesnt have to. it only needs to make sense with the donor and the mamma---GOOD FOR YOU by the way!!!! you sound like a wonderful mother and not to mention VERY SMART lol

  36. It does sound like posterior tongue tie could've been an issue, and for those dealing with similar situations, I highly recommending reading up on this more subtle form of tongue tie.

  37. I love reading these stories. I'm so blessed to have been able to breastfeed my baby. And everyday I thank my MIL because if it wasn't for her LACK of support and stubbornness to prove her wrong we would not have just passed our 5 month EBF milestone! :D

  38. I love this too! And Mrs. Chastain - your comment made me smile because I completely understand... We are still nursing at 34 months despite not being able to nurse for the first 2 weeks due to latch issues from a traumatic birth and ONE of the reasons is because of my very negative MIL who constantly told us we couldn't/shouldn't... She's also the reason my husband and I are now intactivists (after being screamed at repeatedly for keeping our perfect baby whole) but that's another story. It just tickled me to see that someone else would maybe understand the whole negative-MIL turned positive-experience thing. :)

  39. I had the same situation with latch problems with my 2nd, who turned a year old yesterday. He would not stay latched and popped off and on. The best advice I got was from my chiropractor who does a lot of alternative therapies. He told me to TURN IN PLACE, my baby was in a sling at my breast. Spinning is supposed to stimulate the baby's brain stem, which causes them to suck- and it WORKED! Amazing, really. It saved our breastfeeding relationship. I'm just posting it here in case other mothers are struggling with a baby who doesn't stay latched are reading. Give it a try, and see how it goes.

    Great story- thanks for sharing!

  40. Thank you all for the support and information from your own personal experiences!

    We are now over 6 months without needing formula! Joshua has grown so much with donor milk! 9 months old and weighs 20.4lbs! That is a 14lb weight gain in 8 months, which to me is outstanding! It IS working just fine for him! He is still EBF, he prefers his boobie milk over food :D Milk Sharing is wonderful!!!

  41. Thank you so much for sharing. I need to blog about my experience on my blog. I don't know what I would have done without HM4HB. My little guy is sooooo healthy and I owe so much of that to my milk mommas.

    I would do almost anything to be able to breastfeed my own baby, but for some reason my body just won't produce enough. May the Lord richly bless all the moms who are so willing to help our hungry babies!!!

  42. JeniYah Bat YahMay 29, 2011 3:24 PM

    What A Wonderful Story....The heavenly Father Is a blessing to this family as well to many other families...Praise Him..HalleluYah!

  43. Just out of curiosity, I'm wondering about a few things just so I can better understand what went wrong and how to better help the moms I work with:

    1)was an IBCLC involved?

    2)was a properly applied nipple shield tried (turned almost inside out then applied so as to pull as much nipple as possible into the shield) with a supplementer at breast?

    3)was he evaluated for tongue-tie? for posterior/submucosal tongue tie?

    How fortunate that you've been able to continue feeding him human milk! All the best to you and your baby:)

  44. To answer Katherine

    1)was an IBCLC involved? No they weren't, my midwife has a lot of experience with breastfeeding being a former LLL leader and LC that I trusted her knowledge.

    2)was a properly applied nipple shield tried (turned almost inside out then applied so as to pull as much nipple as possible into the shield) with a supplementer at breast?

    I did try a nipple shield but he would not stay latched either and we did try our form of an SNS.

    3)was he evaluated for tongue-tie? for posterior/submucosal tongue tie? He was checked for tongue-tie at birth and then later on because of the problems we were having and none was detected.

    Thank you all for the information and support! It means a lot to me :)

  45. Way to go mama! I am using my breast friend's milk to supplement as well. Breast is best. As with ANYTHING there is a risk versus benefit. Good Job!

  46. Hiya
    Great piece - I'm glad you could source human milk for your gorgeous babe.

    Reading your piece the phrase echoing repeatedly in my mind was "tongue tie". A sneaky, hidden, not obvious to the untrained eye - tongue tie...

    You "may" have insufficient glandular tissue however you say "My milk came in on day 3. I felt like I had plenty to give him", which isn't typically something I hear from mums in that situation. However - if baby isn't transferring milk effectively, for some mums supply will very very quickly dwindle.

    Whilst this piece is more about reflux/colic it illustrates under ultra sound tongue tied infants who are struggling display a different tongue action - often leaving them unable to access the fattier milk.

    There is also a strong genetic link and as you mentioned you also had problems with your first baby.

    I strongly support human milk being available to mums who need it, my ultimate dream is that goes hand in hand with effective lactation support, to help mums like you get to the root of your problem and perhaps make donated milk a "stop gap" :)

  47. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. I am now going to look into donating as I am very fortunate in that I have a strong supply xx

  48. this is almost EXACTLY my story w/ my daughter (now 6). so heartbreaking for a new mother. wish i would have found a donor, i would have used one.

  49. I'm sorry, but it sounds like your midwife dropped the ball in a big way. Your breastfeeding issues were identified by day 3, yet you did not get referred for help from someone who knew what they were doing. Nothing in your story leads me to believe your midwife has much knowledge of breastfeeding. Your milk supply suffered early on, leading to inadequate weight gain. Your baby's inability to "get the hindmilk" does not really describe the problem. He had early latch problems, yes. His latch problems led to a declining milk production, which continued the domino effect of slow gain and worsening supply. None of this had to happen. Please hold your midwife accountable, not your baby nor your body. Her good intentions are not a substitute for the breastfeeding knowledge any women's care provider is responsible for having, be they midwife or OB.

  50. I loved this story of milk sharing.

    I wish I had known more and known this could have been an option for me with my third baby. She was 6 lbs at birth, didn't have a lot of reserves (fat), and while I was running after two other children and she slept, I thought, I finally have a 'good baby'. (my 2nd daughter BF every 1.5 hours for her first 4 months of life).
    All of this to say, at by 3rd baby's 2 month well baby visit, the Dr became very concerned, about her slow weight gain. I was essentially forced to give my baby formula. I would BF as much as I could get her to eat, while cuddling, then hold her away from me as I 'offered' her the formula I was 'supposed' to give her each day. She did begin to gain weight, slowly, but she only ever had about 2 oz of formula a day. I finally calmed down about it, when I started spoon feeding her cereal (mixed with the formula, for the calories), and I didn't have to give her bottles of formula any more. I breast fed her for 13 months (the first time I made it past a year)!
    My best friend had a baby 2 wks after me and her baby was fat and happy, I know, now, she would have been willing to BF my baby for me, but, I was so determined to BF my baby, I don't think I would have been willing to let her… I don't think I'd ever heard of sharing pumped milk at that time.

    When my last (6th) baby was 10 days old, he got very ill and spent 3 weeks in the PICU, I had to pump for most of that time (every 2 hrs). When I was finally able to get my baby back in my arms and feed him, I certainly didn't 'need' all that pumped milk, but I wasn't going to throw it out!!! I had a friend who adopted a baby, and tried to induce lactation. She worked at a Maternity and Nursing Boutique, and knew how important Breast Milk was. I, along with others in our community, gave pumped milk to this mother for her baby. It gave me a good feeling knowing that all my hard work to keep my milk supply up, for my own baby, went to help another sweet baby.
    I like the idea that I am one of another baby's milk mama's.

  51. just a little off topic... someone commented on the "safety' of donated milk... but we never question formula's safety there are no legislations in my country (australia) stating what must be in formula and the companies can change each "type" at will to make it from cheaper ingredients etc etc etc so how do we know the ingredients are good quality or that contamination hasnt occured?

    good on you for working so hard to make sure your lovely boy got the breastmilk he deserves

  52. Previous Posters - I don't think "Laura" was saying that formula is safe, while donated milk is not - it seemed like she was just genuinely asking how you know that the donated milk from people you don't know is safe. Maybe she was interested in the option as well, and wanted to know more about it.

    Lindsey - I'm glad that your little boy got the breastmilk he needed!!

  53. Wow, I feel like I could have written this post myself. I am amazed at how similar our stories are! And with the same awesome outcome, thankfully. :)
    Thank GOD for the amazing donor moms and their much-needed donated milk for our precious babies.

  54. I'm so glad your baby was able to get breast milk! You are a great mama for trying so hard for so long!!! I had an opposite problem- too much milk- leaked like crazy for months after my daughter was born- and I was so happy my midwife connected me with an adopted family and I was able to share milk with them. I am adopted and when I was born in the 70's my mom inquired about stimulating lactation and her doctors told her it was a scientific impossibility. :( If felt really rewarding to help out another adopted baby.

  55. I know you said he was checked for tongue tie, but again, this screams tongue tie. I had to take my daughter to three ENTs to get it diagnosed and four lactation counselors told me she wasn't tied even though she has just about every symptom. Luckily, she is managing to move enough milk to gain weight because it took 6 weeks to get it diagnosed only to find out we have to travel to get it revised. She's 10 1/2 weeks now and still nothing has been done.

    Your story is amazing and, if you plan on having another LO, I hope you have the breastfeeding experience you deserved the first two times.

  56. Update 7/19/13

    I discovered Joshua was tongue tied around 10 months old. My midwife DID miss it. It was detrimental to my supply.

    We welcomed a third child December 2012, he was tongue and upper lip tied and my midwife (different from Joshua) did see it and we had it corrected on day 3 with scissors. He had a hidden posterior tie that the ENT missed and his lip reattached, so at 4 weeks old we saw an oral surgeon who released them with laser.

    I'm proud to say that my youngest son is almost 7 months old and still breastfeeding! I haven't used donor milk since he was 3 weeks old. He's been EBF since then! I have also donated 100oz of my own milk to babies in need. I'm amazed and enjoying every minute of our breastfeeding journey.

    Thank you all for the information and support!

  57. My granddaughter was found, at 7 days of age, to be severely tongue-tied. Her mother flowed milk like a fountain and at age 5.5, she is still nursing just fine. She doesn't always speak correctly and can't stick out her tongue, but nursing was successful. I'm sorry that it didn't work that way with you.



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