Heather and Darin’s Story

We’re happy to share a guest post by our friend Heather and her breastfeeding experience. Heather has 3 children and 3 totally different breastfeeding experiences. She wanted to write to reinforce the last guest blogger. Today is the second and final segment of Heather’s story.

Heather and her children today.

I was fortunate to have a super-healthy 2nd baby, and experienced 18 months of wonderful breastfeeding with him without complications.

My 3rd child, Darin, was born to me by adoption. He was a 33-week preemie who also has Down syndrome, and I really wanted him to have the benefits of breastfeeding. Unfortunately, I did not have a long time to study the inductive lactation protocol. By the grace of God, the time from when we entered the adoption process, to when Darin was in our home was 5 weeks.

But I still had to give it a shot. After such a successful experience of pumping, and breastfeeding, I was certain that my body could figure out how to feed Darin.

So, I found a friend who had ordered Domperidone from a Canadian pharmacy to help with her milk supply, and I started taking this medication that has a common-side effect of lactation, even in men! I started pumping every 2 hours.

And a little milk started appearing.

A.little.milk.

Like drops.

By the 4th week, a whole days pumping would yield 8 oz. And I had gained 8 lbs.
But the good thing was, Darin was a strong baby. While still in the NICU, he was drinking 4 oz bottles of formula. So, when I put him to the breast, he knew what to do. And even though he didn’t get alot of nutrition from me, we did gain in our bonding from this.

I had to weigh the personal effect of gaining weight so rapidly (others reported 25 lbs of gain during the inductive protocol), against getting 1 bottle of milk per day. And the milk was very watery, thin, and white. Not what hearty breastmilk looks like.
So I gave up the idea of making the milk for Darin, and started working on the next-best thing:
Find donor milk!

I found a huge network of women in my area that were breastfeeding moms who pumped either for work, or just to have a stockpile, who would share with us.
Each week for about 2 months, I’d drive house to house to pick up 3, 10, 15 bottles of milk.
And then I hit the mother-load! There was a mom who had filled an entire deep-freezer, and her son never took a bottle! She donated the whole freezer to Darin. He ate off her for 1 whole month.

Darin today.

Fortunately, due to Darin’s prematurity, Darin was eligible for pasturized donor milk through the Mother’s Milk Bank in Austin. Insurance began to cover a weekly shipment of frozen donor milk to feed Darin from 4 months old until he was 1 year old. Such a gift.

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Comments

  1. As a professional who works with special needs children and a mom your story really touched me. One thing that is sometimes overlooked with breastfeeding children even if there is not much milk there is the oral motor workout. This is especially important with children who have low tone like most childen with Down syndrome have. That is a gift in itself!!