I want to start at the beginning. Seems to make sense, right? Why am I here and why am I involved in starting a milk bank in the Western Great Lakes Region?Well, I only had a vague understanding of milk banking or milk donation prior to the birth of my second child. And I wish I had known more, but such is life.On May 1st, Lennon was born after a chosen induction at 37 weeks due to preeclampsia and low weight (the baby, not me). He was all of 4lbs 5oz and was perfect. Except, he was unable to regulate his blood sugar levels on his own. So about 45 minutes after birth, I was handed a bottle of formula to feed little Lennon. And about 15 minutes after that, he was taken to the NICU for treatment and observation.
Lennon spent 6 days in the NICU, and was fed formula for the first two days of that stay. Never once was I educated on the risks associated with NEC or alternatively, the choice I had with obtaining human donor milk instead of formula. Of course, that would assume that this particular hospital or any hospital in the state of Illinois regularly prescribed human milk to it’s patients, especially the teeny tiny babies in the NICU.Fast forward about four months (yes, it takes some time to settle into the routine of “2 under 2”).I began researching the network of non-profit human donor milk banks, HMBANA. And also the fact that a milk bank did not exist in Illinois or Wisconsin. It seemed a mistake. How could an area with so many NICUs and so many hospitals and births not have a local milk bank? But, it was not a mistake. A milk bank did not nor had ever been established in this region. And, as I probed further, no one was working on starting one either.And I couldn’t think of a good reason why I shouldn’t start one.And so the story begins, and there are many more reasons why I am compelled to start a milk bank. But that is for another time.Marissa