A Letter from London
By Rachel Marie (London’s Mommy)
Dear Donor Mommies,
My name is London and today is my 3rd birthday! When I was born, my mom was just 24 weeks pregnant. I was very tiny and weighed almost 1 pound. My mom and dad could hold me in the palms of their hands. As you can imagine, it was a very scary time for my family. Being born too soon meant my body wasn’t fully developed. My mom and dad visited me every day at the hospital while they waited for me to grow strong enough to take me home.
Babies like me have special feeding needs. Our tiny tummies cannot handle anything other than human milk. I was lucky enough to have some of my own mom’s milk. In addition to keeping me fed, my mom’s milk gave me special antibodies which kept me healthy and prevented me from getting sick. Like many babies born too soon, I was never able to nurse directly from my mom’s breast. This means that my dedicated mom connected herself to a machine several times every day to try to keep up her milk supply.
Once my mom pumped her milk it was given to me through a tube that ran from my nose into my belly. But not all moms are able to provide milk for their babies. With all the stress of having a baby in the hospital and because I could not naturally suckle, my mom’s milk supply eventually ran out. She and my dad tried feeding me many different types of formula, but my little belly couldn’t digest it and I would vomit all day. Even after I went home from the hospital, I still had my feeding tube and my parents and doctors agreed it was best to put me back on an all breast milk diet. Since my mom could no longer make her own milk, we relied on donor moms. The donor milk made my belly feel better. It helped me continue to grow and even provided me with protection from germs that could have made me sick enough to put me back in the hospital. So many awesome mommies donated their milk that I was able to be fed with human milk until after my first birthday, which gave my body the time it needed to be able to handle other foods.
I have never once been re-hospitalized! I know that not only was I able to grow with the nourishment you provided, I was also able to stay healthy and flourish in all other areas of development. I am so thankful for all the hours and love that donor mommies pump into their donated milk. I hope you know that because of you I am as strong as can be – I am thriving! My family recognizes that I carry a little piece of you everywhere I go..
If you live in Illinois or Wisconsin and would like to donate your extra milk to help babies like London, please visit our Donate Milk page to learn about the donor screening process.
Moms throughout the remainder of North America can visit www.hmbana.org to find their local non-profit milk bank. Happy pumping!