Elisabeth has been donating milk for over 2 years and to date has donated over 90,000 ounces of milk. At 8 months postpartum with her second daughter, she is pumping an average of 225 ounces a day on top of breastfeeding her little one. That’s 1.75 gallons a day! She stays at home taking care of two young children while balancing all of the work involved with pumping, sterilizing and breastfeeding.
When pregnant with her first child, she started researching milk donation and pumping with her heart set on helping other moms and babies in need. Starting out, she had absolutely no experience or idea how much milk that her body would produce after giving birth. Within a week of having her first child, she starting pumping and reached out to other donor moms to learn more about the donation process. Elisabeth signed up with the Tiny Treasures Milk Bank and went through a vigorous screening process to be approved for micro preemie milk donations. As a ‘super producer’, she has been able to help hundreds of families with her breastmilk!
Throughout her pumping journey, Elisabeth has been using the Wabi Steam Sterilizer to sterilize her pumping parts and bottles. Instead of washing the parts by hand, she is able to use the machine to simplify her cleaning process and improve the quality of her donations. We had the amazing opportunity to speak with her and learn more about her donation experiences and use of the Wabi Baby product.
What inspires you donate breastmilk?
I’ve been donating blood for years and wanted to continue making a difference while breastfeeding. I’ve also lost many family members to cancer and believe that breast milk will help to further cancer research. Knowing that I am helping other mothers and babies is the ultimate reward. It’s incredibly relieving to know my milk is being used to save the lives of our tiniest little heroes.
How do you manage being a stay at home mom of 2 and pumping so much?
I’ve developed a routine to keep my little ones on a schedule and try to take advantage of nap times. There is no doubt that it is challenging, but it is every bit worth it to be helping premature babies!
Tell us what are the steps you go through on a daily basis when sterilizing?
Because I produce so much milk having several sets of pumping parts is an absolute must. I use 2 Wabi steam sterilizers to sterilize, dry, and store my bottles and pumping parts in. I keep 4 sets in each unit. Every evening after my own children are asleep I spend about an hour washing each part and loading both Wabi to sterilize and dry overnight.
I leave parts in the units till I am ready to pump, then I remove what I need and leave the rest to remain in a dry sterile environment till needed. I clean the units as needed and descale the hot plates about once a week to have optimal performance.
How strict are the milk banks about the donations they accept?
Standards to donate to any milk bank are strict, as they should be, but standards to donate to a milk bank that supplies micro preemies are incredibly stringent. There are certain strains of bacteria that are present in breastmilk either naturally or introduced while pumping. Some strains are extremely hard to keep out of breastmilk but it’s critical to make sure it is not present for micro preemies as their systems are incredibly fragile. The Wabi steam sterilizer has been found to effectively kill this strain of bacteria that can be found on bottles and pumping parts. Milk that does not pass testing cannot be used for micro-preemies.
What was your experience before Wabi Baby and how has this product made your life easier?
Before having Wabi in my everyday life I kept pumping parts and bottles everywhere all over my counter a
nd dish racks. It wasn’t pretty to look at and my counter space was crowded or non existent. I had issues with bacteria being found in my milk.
Now all my parts are kept organized till needed in a sterile unit. I have my counters back!
How has the special air rotor design for drying compared to other sterilizers you’ve used? What are the differences you’ve noticed?
Even when I pack it full of pump parts and bottles, the steam design dries everything evenly. It saves me so much time from having to go back and hand dry. Other sterilizers that I’ve used didn’t fit nearly as much and left annoying wet spots.
Besides pump parts, what else do you use to Wabi to sterilize?
I’ve used the Wabi unit to sterilize pacifiers, legos, plastic toys that can fit inside, teething items, and really any item that can be safely sterilized with steam.
How do you know Wabi Baby is working?
After the birth of my second daughter the milk bank I donate to required the use of an approved and tested sterilizer in order to maintain a higher level of sterilization. No longer were microwaving parts in a steam bag approved. Only 2 sterilizers were approved for use while donating. The Wabi steam sterilizer was one of them. To date I’ve not had any of my donated milk fail testing while using the Wabi steam sterilizer. I know the Wabi is 100% to thank for that.
Tell us things that we don’t know about donating breastmilk.
Being a breastmilk donor is a serious lifestyle commitment. Having an oversupply means you have no choice but to commit to a pumping schedule in order to ensure you don’t get mastitis or other serious complications. You can never take a day off, or even skip a pump at times without being in serious pain. It can be extremely painful to pump. It truly is a labor of love to pump whether it is for your own baby, or to donate.
One word that describes wabi baby.
Do you recommend wabi baby?
Yes, I would recommend Wabi because the product has proven to eradicate strains of bacteria that regular soap, water, and other sterilizing options cannot. It brings a piece of mind when using it and knowing it is doing its job.
Last but not least, what are some words of encouragement you have for breast milk donation or anything else you would like to share?
To any mother considering breast milk donation, the first time is hard, but to see little ones thrive off of your hard work and liquid gold is the best reward.
I encourage any mama willing and wanting to help babies that require breastmilk to look into local milk banks and mom groups. There is an insatiable need! Join the mama movement, making this world a better place one ounce at a time.
Elisabeth’s commitment to milk donation is admirable, as many people don’t realize how much work and dedication it truly takes to pump and breastfeed. Having an oversupply of milk is certainly not something that can be ignored as she is pumping at least 10 times per day. And that is in addition to breastfeeding her own child. The amount of time spent on a daily basis is comparable to a full time job!
Now that she uses the Wabi Baby Steam Sterilizer, she no longer has to worry about spending hours washing pump parts just for the milk to be rejected by the milk bank. Not only does the product make her life easier, but it gives her more time to enjoy making memories with her little girls.
She has helped to raise donor awareness and inspired women around the world to embark on their own journey to donate milk. We are thankful that she was able to share her experiences and look forward to hearing her feedback after trying the Wabi Baby UV Sterilizer!