Donor Spotlight: Ellen’s Story

June 14, 2024

I delivered fraternal twin boys on January 10th , 2023. They were delivered at 35 weeks, 6 days. I had always planned on nursing, however, I wasn’t able to nurse as often as I wanted as they boys were in incubators in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This was the main reason that lead me to breast pumping, which then turned into me exclusively pumping. With being induced my milk took longer to come in. We relied solely on donated breast milk for the duration of our in the NICU, with the exception of two days where we had to supplement with formula, because the boys lost more than 10 per cent of their birth weight.

My milk supply eventually came in, and when we were discharged from the NICU, we were feeding them my breastmilk. In the beginning of my journey I had a strict schedule of pumping every three hours, (other than sleeping through my middle of the night pump!), and I stuck with it until the boys were about six months old and started solids. Of course, the more you remove, the more you make. I was producing more breastmilk than the boys were drinking, which left me with a massive “freezer stash” as they like to call it. It was getting to the point that our chest freezer had no room to hold any of our frozen food. We were having to make room in the freezer by eating the food that was currently in it! We couldn’t have my precious breastmilk go to waste.

It made me reflect back to when the boys were first born and how we relied so heavily on that donated milk. We would have been lost without it. I wanted to give back, so I researched milk banks in Canada and how to go about the process of becoming a donor. I gladly did the phone interviews, bloodwork, and consultations. A few short weeks later, I had gotten the email that I had been approved for donation. I went from relying on donated breast milk in the NICU to feed my boys, to donating over 500 ounces to the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank. I am so humbled knowing how many babies we were able to give back to. Donating my breast milk has healed me in tremendous ways. So much so, that I don’t know where I would be today in my healing journey without it.