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In order to satisfy the milk-lust of Miss Olive, I have been known to hang out on sites that make milky matches between mamas. I happened to be cruising through one when I saw a lady called Lamea thanking her long term donors for all the milk her daughter Elsie had received.

Being a collector of strong female narratives, I asked her if she would share her story. I am amazed at how similar her story is to my own and incredibly thankful to her for allowing me to share this with you all.
I had a dream pregnancy: We live on a massive farm and I have lots of dogs, so I walked for hours each day. I loved the hot weather, I lay in the river and I worked on the farm until the day Elsie was born. There were days I would walk nearly 20kms, I just loved being outside and feeling my baby moving around.

A few days before my due date I started having mild contractions. I was a bit dilated, so went home to wait it out ... and wait and wait and wait. I was contracting very regularly for 4 days but Elsie was stuck and she wouldn't turn. In the end she came out on her due date: It was an easy birth, but I was genuinely shocked at how much it hurt!

Because of the long pre-labour I was really exhausted by the time she was born; and then the breastfeeding began. Elsie was a very willing little drinker, and everyone kept saying how well we were doing, but I just so strongly felt she wasn't getting enough.

We came home from the hospital and had nearly a straight week of sitting 24 hours a day on the couch trying to feed her. She got dehydrated, hungry and lethargic.

I remember hovering over the scales each time they weighed her and she just wouldn't put on an ounce. They were so calm about it, obviously trying to prevent further anxiety.

The midwife drove 80km a day to see me and check Elsie’s nappies. When there was no improvement in her weight gain she said I must go in to town with her and give her formula.

It was absolutely indescribably awful.

I had never in my wildest anxious dreams thought I couldn't feed my baby. I had stocked up on cupboards of nursing pads and nipple cream, I knew I had brilliantly shaped boobs and nipples: I thought I was a dead cert.

I balled my eyes out as Elsie drank her first bottle of formula; so relieved she was getting a decent feed, and so heartbroken I had to give her formula.

After a few weeks of lactation consultant work I had her drinking from a Lact-aid, a wee tube that goes into her mouth from my nipple. She was really, really good at it, even though it was super fiddly.

It was really hard to breastfeed in public because I felt ashamed I was 'bottle' feeding. I was pumping 10 x a day, taking every herb and drug under the sun, making weird concoctions, and yes - as everyone kept saying - drinking lots of water!!

I constantly stressed over the formula factor, but then my darling friend Jerry told me he knew someone who used donor milk and suddenly, I had found my answer.

My lactation consultant was super supportive unofficially, but couldn't help me officially. She heard of a lady with a big stash of frozen milk, sent me some info on pasteurizing, and then I found Piripoho Aotearoa.

The tricky part was persuading my very 'straight' partner that it was the best thing to do for Elsie. I think what won him over was showing him the World Health Organisation's stance on donor milk, and we were away.

I spent the next months contacting people for milk. I would run really low and panic I wouldn't find more, and every time someone came out of the woodwork and bailed me out. I met Amanda and Porsha, my long term donors, and would visit them once a month, driving hundreds of kilometers with cake and a freezer bag.

I truly love those woman, and all the woman who donate milk. As someone who pumped a lot I know what a drag it can be. I think having a good supply would make it easier, but it is still a big job. It is amazing what woman do for each other.

I felt so relieved Elsie was getting the nutrition she needed. I could provide about half her milk needs, the rest I pasteurized and fed her through a Supplemental Nursing System
Breast milk donation using an SNS

So now she is one and a bundle of pocket rocket joy. She’s really tiny - on the 2% scale - but is full of beans and meeting every milestone head on. She is in perfect health, is incredibly cheerful, has amazing creamy milk fed skin, and still drinks off me 5 - 10 times a day.
We gave up on the SNS at 8 months as she kept pulling at the tube, so now she has unpasteurised breast milk in a sippy cup. Over the next few months I will replace donor milk with cows' milk and just continue to breastfeed for as long as I can.
As I type this Elsie Joy is playing in her cot with her sheep Steve and singing away, so I will go and give her some lunch.
Thanks for reading!!!
It is no secret that I have used donor milk:  I have been blessed to have been surrounded by some incredible friends who have selflessly given milk to help me feed my girls and they will never understand the enormity of their gift.

It fills me with endless joy to see social media helping to create networks of women who are willing to become heroes to friends and strangers alike.

There are no words to describe the gift of milk donation: only heartfelt thanks.


If you would like to share a story of milk donation then get in touch, I would love to hear from you.

If you like what you read, I would really appreciate a nomination for the BiB Awards


  1. What a wonderful story! And yay for normalising milksharing!
    As a donor via HM4HB UK, I think it'd be cool if you could include a clickable link in case families see the meme at the bottom and wonder how to find it. The more milksharing spaces, the better. :)

    1. That's a great shout, thank you. I've made the change so hopefully people should be able to click through.

  2. Thank you so much for your beautiful story :) It is such a well written, concise account and I now have a new blog to follow!

    Hearing about the positives make all the stress of maintaining a milksharing community online worth it, I am eternally grateful to you and very happy to link people asking why we do what we do. The HM4HB quote is dead on!

    Arohanui and on to your next big journey! :) Zoe, Admin of Piripoho Aotearoa (formerly EOF NZ)

    1. Thank you for all your hard work Zoe! Without people like you there are no stories to tell. I want to keep telling these stories for all the women who feel like they have no options available to them.

      Arohanui to you and all women out there supporting us mamas XX

  3. Great story! I'm starting a new milk sharing community, you should check it out!

    1. That sounds amazing! Technology is such a wonderful resource for mamas who need this sort of instant help, I really hope it takes off!!


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