“I am married to my high school sweetheart, Ryan, and we have a 2-year-old, Aria, and 5-month-old, Kaia. We both work in healthcare and have a passion for helping others. I stay home during the week with my daughters and work weekends as a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse. We are also huge animal lovers and foster rabbits for a local shelter. Our pit bull, Bella, is also a part of our wild crew!
As a NICU nurse, I have witnessed the benefits of human milk over and over again. There are so many tiny and fragile babies who desperately need the immune support and nutritional components of human milk that formula does not provide. Donor milk is critically important to their well-being. After Kaia was born at 36 weeks and spent some time in the NICU, I found myself with an oversupply. Donating to NICU babies was the first thing I wanted to be a part of. My goal is to pump and breastfeed Kaia until she is at least one year old, which is an achievement I was able to accomplish with Aria. In terms of donation specifically, receiving passing test results for all my coolers has been very rewarding. Donation has also helped supplement my income so that I can work part-time and be home with my girls. The compensation from donation has also allowed us to purchase a new dryer and pay off a credit card!
The most challenging aspect of donation is struggling to find the motivation to pump and wash/sanitize everything when I am tired! My last pump of the day before bed is definitely the hardest for me.
My advice to new donors: Prioritize your self-care! Rest and nutrition are important. Also, pay attention to everything that you touch and/or your pump parts touch when you are pumping and bagging milk to help avoid bacterial contamination!”