D finished his first year at school last week, and E finished her first year at pre-school. That year absolutely flew by! I remember this time last year, when D finished at pre-school and E at her old nursery, and thinking “wow, I’m going to have a school-aged child soon”. I remember D’s first day of school and feeling sad because I couldn’t be present, and due to working full-time I can count on one hand how many times I’ve actually been to his school. That said, I’ve not been to E’s at all this year. read more …
One of the things I did after having E was to become a breast milk donor. I’d read about human milk shortages in my area between D’s weaning and having E, and knew that after E was born I would try and help if I could – especially as D received donor milk himself after being born.
Compared to the poor start with D, I was fairly confident breastfeeding E and as soon as we returned home after having her, I registered with my local milk bank to start donating. I think E was about 6 weeks old when I first started to donate – I had to wait a bit for an electric pump to become available, but I started off with my own manual pump and managed to give a few donations that way. It wasn’t difficult – just pump as much as possible, put it in a bottle provided to me by the milk bank, log the date and time, and freeze it until collection. Easy!
I did underestimate how much I’d be able to give however. It wasn’t that I wasn’t able to (though yes, me and the electric pump didn’t immediately see eye-to-eye…), but rather that I didn’t have the time to do as much as I wanted. I had 2 children under 2 and I found it difficult to find the 15 or so minutes I needed to sit down and sterilise all the equipment then to actually use the pump each day. I did manage to do 1 or 2 donations a week though, which I was happy enough with.
I stopped when E reached 7 months and I moved out of the area. I was sad to do this, but I was on my own with the 2 children and a house to pack up, and I’d had no time to donate anything in the past few weeks anyway, so it was time to wrap it up :(
I’m still very proud of having done it at all though, and hope I’ve helped a few babies off to a better start in life. My chosen milk bank provided milk to premature babies at one of 2 hospitals, including the one D was born in :) If you’ve got a bit of spare time and are confident with a pump, why not give it a try? Contact your local maternity unit and ask where you might be able to donate; they should direct you to a milk bank near you if they don’t have one themselves.
Sometimes, parenting isn’t easy.
Sometimes your child will run out into the middle of a road while the other one runs in the opposite direction while yelling their head off. Said children may cause chaos and shout all through a supermarket trip or restaurant meal, throw things at each other/you and scream that they hate you because you cut their sandwich into squares and not triangles.
Sometimes people will glare at you while this happens because obviously you are a terrible parent and should have 20 arms and psychic abilities and/or definitely should have brought them up better than that. Tut tut.
Sometimes those people can shove their opinions. You will feel angry, you will feel helpless, you will feel like those people are right.
They’re not. You’re amazing. Keep going.
Note to self: get more chocolate.