We all know that breast milk is worth its weight in gold. As a breastfeeding mother I know this fact very well. I’ve been fortunate enough that I don’t often have to pump for my son because I work from home. When a work trip to a blogging conference in San Diego was inevitable l was faced with a new problem- what to do with the breast milk I would be pumping while away from my baby?!
The simplest option would be to simply pump for relief and dump out the milk. I would save myself a lot of trouble that way. Another option would be to save the milk and find a way to smuggle it back on in a cooler. The final option was to save the milk but find a donor recipient who was willing to pick up 4 days of my milk from the hotel.
There was no way I was wasting the milk so the first option was out. Breast milk is too amazing and it is hard work to get. With TSA guidelines as strict as they are now I was also not willing to risk having to dump out my milk in airport security. The logical choice was to donate.
I posted my proposition on the San Diego Eats on Feets
page. Eats on Feets is a peer to peer milk sharing program where mothers with extra milk will donate directly to families who need it. Eats on Feets and similar organizations have websites and Facebook pages for local chapters making it easy to find a match. Quickly a mother responded saying she would be happy to work with me and pick up the milk.
Since I knew that thousands of women would be attending I also assumed at least a few dozen would be currently breastfeeding a baby or toddler. Many women, like myself, would be leaving their nursling home with a loved one and would be faced with the same dilemma.
Through social outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and by writing a post on my blog
I found many others who wanted to join me in donating milk. We used a hashtag to keep organized. During the conference we saved our milk and, towards the end, I met up with the women either in their rooms or at parties. (Yes, I had a large bag and collected milk from a donor at a party!) Another blogger and friend who didn’t have such an early flight home met with our recipient on the last day.
I’m so proud to say that 13 women collectively pumped and donated a whopping 300 ounces of milk in 4 days!
The recipient was thrilled and had a large stash for her freezer and all of the donors were just happy that our precious milk wouldn’t be lost to the sewage system.
I attended BlogHer 12 in NYC last week and unfortunately did not have enough milk to donate. Several other women did join forces and sought a recipient. Next year BlogHer will be in Chicago and I am planning on working closely with Gina from The Feminist Breeder
and utilizing her local connections to make sure we are able to better plan out a donation group. I'm hoping the BlogHer planning committee will be more responsive to helping out in an official manner as well.