Pumping breast milk when you’re a nursing mom isn't really enjoyable, but we do it because we want the best for our babies. An Oregon mom has taken pumping to another level, though. Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra started donating her extra breast milk when her first child was born back in 2014. It was something she felt called to do, but it wasn’t until the birth of her second daughter in late 2016 that she really ramped it up and took to it as a full-time job.
For any mom who's ever struggled with breastfeeding and keeping up their milk supply, this mom is a hero. Anderson-Sierra pumps about 225 ounces of milk a day, the equivalent to almost two gallons. What her 6-month-old daughter doesn’t drink during regular breastfeeding sessions, she donates. In fact, in the 2 1/2 years since her first daughter was born, she has donated more than 78,000 ounces of breast milk. That’s more than 600 gallons of milk—and it’s been going to milk banks around the country, as well as to local families in her area.
The 29-year-old mother was diagnosed with hyperlactation, which is a fancy way to say she produces an insane amount of milk. Once a recipient of donor milk when she was unable to nurse her daughter after an exhausting 30-hour labor, Anderson-Sierra now dedicates herself to providing other moms with donor milk.
The experience of receiving milk when her baby needed it fueled her desire to continue donating, she told People.com. The stay-at-home mom spends 10 hours of her day dedicated to the process, with four to five of those running a breast pump. The rest of the time is spent properly storing the milk, communicating with milk banks and packaging the bags to send off.
She’s also, you know, a mom with two kids—but insists that her day-to-day life isn’t affected by the enormous supply of milk she’s producing. Luckily, she also has a supportive husband who encourages her in her decision to pump and donate her milk.
“So far pumping hasn’t really stopped myself or my family from doing things, but it does add a extra hiccup in there,” she explains.
Anderson-Sierra receives $1 for every ounce received—not exactly an impressive amount, considering large-volume milk donation brings added expenses such as extra freezers for storage, sanitation kits and replacement pumps. All in all, she’s barely breaking even, but it’s a labor of love she says helps her feel like she's being active in her community and giving back to humanity.
The months of great expectation have finally culminated in the birth of your family’s newest addition. You’ve waited so long to hold your baby close in anticipation of feeding your newborn in a way only a mother can. But breastfeeding isn’t always trouble-free. It’s not unusual for new moms to experience physical difficulties and emotional frustrations while attempting to feed. It will take some time for you and your baby to become comfortable with the process. But there are solutions or comforting explanations for what you are likely experiencing as you both try to settle into a groove.