While the importance of breastfeeding is common knowledge, complications such as premature birth prevent many mothers from providing breastmilk for their children. Latasha is passionate about the benefits that her breast milk has provided not only for the immune systems of her children, but for other infants in need of the liquid gold.
Donating milk after the birth of her daughter has been a challenging yet rewarding experience, she has been pumping milk as well as breastfeeding for almost 2 years. Being an overproducer means that just like being a mother, she can’t take a day off and has to stick to a regular schedule. She has recently been appointed as a breastmilk donor liaison and is eager to help guide other moms through the donation process.
We interviewed Latasha to find out more about how the milk donation process works and how the Wabi Baby UV sterilizer has made her life easier.
Tell us about your experience with donating breastmilk.
Being a donor has been an amazing experience! There is something about knowing that you are helping out the tiniest members of the population that is awesome. I've been donating for just shy of 21 months and now pumping and donating is part of life but it was harder, in the beginning, to get the routines figured out and established. Now that I'm so used to it I love it and everything about being a milk donor!
What does the process of donation look like?
Not all milk donation programs have the same requirements. The program I used required an application process to go through and approval. The milk bank does a DNA swab for all donors to DNA match their donations and blood work to ensure the donor is medically fit to donate. Once all of that comes back acceptable, you are able to send donations in! The milk bank provides shipping coolers so those are filled and sent back to the bank.
What are some things that many people don’t know about donating?
I think often people don't realize it's not as simple as deciding "I want to donate milk!" because there is a multi-step process involved. It can take a few weeks or more to be approved!
Once you are approved, the milk banks follow strict requirements in regards to testing of your donations. You have to be extremely careful about the parts and containers you use to pump milk because even the smallest bit of bacteria can cause donations to be rejected.
We heard that you will be a liaison for breastmilk education, what inspires you to be a part of donor education?
I feel like many moms get discouraged easily about how complex the process can be for becoming a donor. If I can make a difference by helping other women navigate the screening and donation process, so many more babies will be able to benefit from their gifts.
The position is so new, my role has only just begun and I am super excited to get more involved with the milk banks as a liaison.
What steps do you follow when sterilizing your pump parts?
I immediately rinse all of my parts after pumping to get any milk residue off. I wash with a bottle brush, soap and warm/hot water. Once I've finished washing and rinsing, I place the parts in my sterilizer and run it for a sterilize and dry cycle.
What is the most random thing that you’ve used the UV sterilizer to clean?
I use it to clean the video game controllers in my house - I can only image how many germs are on those!
What would you say about your experience when you started donating versus when you started using the Wabi Baby products?
When I first started donating, I was using the boil method of sterilization for three months before I bought my Wabi Steam Sterilizer and I don't know how I survived that long! The Wabi makes things so easy because you don't have to babysit it like you do a pot of boiling water. And the dry feature means you know your parts will be ready to go when you need them.
Now that you’ve owned both the steam version and UV sterilizer, how would you compare the two?
When the UV sterilizer was announced I knew I had to have it. It has a larger capacity than the steam version and the UV technology is just amazing.
What would you say to people who think that breast milk donation is easy?
It's hard! It is seriously one of the hardest things I've ever done but is still worth it. I think that there is a misconception that donation is easy. I hear all the time that because I overproduce I should give my milk to anyone and everyone who asks. The milk bank I provide to makes a human milk nutritional product for micro preemies- I feel like this is exactly where I want to be sending my milk because I know that my donation is appreciated because of who the product is for.
How has this product made a difference in your life?
The convenience of it has made all the difference. It takes an added two minutes on top of my washing and rinsing routine to load it up, turn it on and be done. This is so much easier than waiting for a large pot of water to boil and hovering over said pot for 10 minutes for each batch - you would have to have a very large pot to be able to hold as much as the Wabi holds!
One word that describes Wabi baby.
Would you recommend Wabi baby?
Yes, absolutely! I am constantly recommending Wabi sterilizers over the others out on the market. Why wouldn't I when I know how great and easy to use they are?
What would you say to other women who are thinking about donating breastmilk?
It is hard but it is also incredibly rewarding to be able to help out tiny babies. It's also not for everyone and that is okay. Any amount donated is amazing and any donor should be proud of their donation whether 100 oz or 100,000 oz.
“It means a lot to know that I have been able to help out dozens of families.” says Latasha about her milk donations. She is proud of her experience as a donor and is thankful for the Wabi Baby products for making her pumping and sterilization process much easier.
She has loved every part of being a donor and feels that every woman who is able to produce breast milk should look into the process of donation. Even if you are not an overproducer, you can still make a difference with breast milk donations.