"I'm a single mom raising two girls, Mya, 6, and Aubree, 3. I live in Virginia and am a kindergarten teacher. I love being around kids—they're funny, spontaneous, and always keep me on the go. For fun, I enjoy spending time with family, teaching my girls new things, cooking, watching documentaries, and online shopping.
Growing up, my mother was an Air Force NICU nurse, and my family lived on the base. Every day after school, I walked to the hospital to see her and visit the NICU babies. Although I could never go near them, I remember how tiny and fragile they were.
When Mya was born, I wasn't too knowledgeable about breastfeeding and started exclusively pumping after 2 weeks, because nursing was so painful. With her, I was a "just enougher" and didn't have much excess milk. With Aubree, I also exclusively pumped and had a huge over supply. I followed a strict schedule, pumping every 3 hours, day and night. As the weeks went on I ran out of freezer space and didn't want it to go to waste, so I looked into milk donation. Through research, I came upon Tiny Treasures and learned about the company's high quality standards. After being inspired by stories about babies who had benefited from Prolacta's human milk fortifier, I applied to become a donor.
The most rewarding aspect of donation is the ability to help sick babies, like the ones I saw as a child in the NICU. Additionally, the compensation has allowed me to save enough money for a down payment on my house and give my girls things that otherwise would have taken a long time to save for, like a trip to Disney World and large Christmas celebrations.
My goal was to make it to a year and a half of pumping for Aubree, until she weaned. Three years later, she hasn't weaned, and I'm still producing enough to donate! I'm so surprised I made it this long! I just reached my goal of donating 40,000 ounces, and my next goal is to ship my 100th donation cooler!
The biggest challenge has been sticking with my pumping schedule, especially when I'm exhausted from a long day, or I just want to enjoy my lunch break. Thinking of my supply decreasing is enough to motivate me during those times.
My advice to new donors: stick to a schedule, fully empty your breasts when pumping, eat enough calories and drink plenty of water. Also, try not to compare your milk production with others. You ARE enough, and your milk is helping your baby and other babies thrive. You are all heroes!”