As a mom who exclusively breastfed both of my babies with a generous oversupply, I understand wholeheartedly how fortunate and lucky I was. Because of my oversupply, I was thrust into the complex landscape of milk donation and determined to find a better way for moms to store their breast milk for longer term use. My own personal experience helped shape the foundation for Leche, the direct-to-mom breast milk freeze drying service I co-founded, which allows moms greater flexibility on their breastfeeding journey through better preservation and shelf life by transforming breast milk into a shelf stable powder.
My own mom was my biggest inspiration on my own breastfeeding journey. As a breast cancer survivor, she exclusively breastfed two healthy babies with determination and pride. As a mother, I knew I would try my best to offer my babies the same amazing start in life by choosing breastfeeding and the first time around, I didn’t fully realize that my oversupply was not common. Had there been more education, awareness and information around the topic and need for human milk in my area and others, I would have given more knowing what my body was capable of. When I was grateful enough to have the same experience with my second pregnancy, I was committed to helping more mamas and babies in need both locally and from afar. In my first few weeks of seeking donation outlets, I became absorbed in Facebook groups and other digital platforms like Craigslist which all proved to have a dark side – I learned very quickly why platforms like Share The Drop are so necessary in making moms feel comfortable, protected, and secure in their donation transactions. These experiences ultimately led me to donate locally, mainly through personal referrals.
Locally, I was able to help a mom who was fostering a drug addicted newborn. Through pumping, I was able to provide her with enough milk to get her through the first four months of her life, which also happened to be the most critical, due to the circumstances of her birth. I was also able to provide my milk to my pediatrician’s twin grandchildren, born prematurely, who spent their first few weeks of life in a NICU 8 hours across the state.
If the infant formula crisis taught us one thing, it’s that moms and parents everywhere need better choices and more stability in their feeding journeys. The silver lining out of the feeding crisis was the beauty and ease in which hardworking mamas stepped up to help other babies have access to human breast milk. Being a mom and entrepreneur in the breast milk space, it lit me up inside to see how when faced with a challenge, moms everywhere rallied behind the effort. Donations surged across the country – but how can we continue to drive home the importance to sustain that momentum?
At Leche, we love empowering moms to take their breastfeeding and eventually their donation journeys into their own hands – whether they are donating for a cause, goodwill or to even make extra money for their families. Technology has brought us closer together in so many ways and as a mom-founded company, we love creating communities and platforms where moms feel comfortable connecting, sharing and ultimately, doing what’s best for them and others.
We are huge believers in innovation and we hope that with more outlets for safe donation, we can inspire true change in an industry ripe for innovation across the board. That means better options for preserving wasted milk in donation centers, NICUs and at home and finding a way to put that milk to good use for a great purpose. As we work toward creating the first ever human derived formula for retail in the near future, we are committed to helping all of the key players in a mom and baby’s breastfeeding journey.
I am so inspired by the stories shared by all of the moms both giving and receiving in this community and hope you are too!