Internet celebrity Lucie Fink was pumping extra breast milk. Instead of hoarding it, she decided to donate it to NICU babies through her local milk bank.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on June 13, 2022
When mothers in the United States were experiencing a severe baby formula shortage, to plug the supply gap, several people banded together, some donating any formula they could get their hands on and others, like social media star Lucie Fink, donating their excess breast milk. Fink, a new mom, stepped up to help after she was inspired by her TikTok and Instagram followers. As she began to pump her breast milk, she realized she had an excess supply. Her followers encouraged her to donate what her newborn did not require, CNN reports.
As a father and a grandfather, I understand how difficult the formula shortage has been for families all across the country.— President Biden (@POTUS) June 1, 2022
It’s why I’ve directed my Administration to use every tool available to increase supply and get more formula on shelves as quickly as possible.
"I had never thought about donating milk," she revealed in an interview with the news outlet. "I never knew anyone that donated milk before." Fink, who has never been shy about sharing intimate moments online, admitted that pumping breast milk was a big mystery to her when her son Milo was born last November. She stated, "People don't tend to share a lot of behind the scenes about pumping." Therefore, she launched her "Pump With Me" series. "That was something I had never seen before," the content creator commented. "And my audience has found it fascinating."
Soon enough, excess breast milk began to pile up in Fink's freezer. She said, "All I knew was that my body was producing more milk than my son currently drank in a day." Unsure about what to do, she looked to her followers online. They urged her to not waste the milk and donate it instead. At the time, she did not realize she could donate breast milk. Nonetheless, after a quick Google search, she was armed with all the information she needed. She found the New York Milk Bank and went through a phone screening, online application and blood test. The TikTok user also had to give permission for the milk bank to access her and Milo's medical records.
Fink began donating her breast milk before the shortage began. However, amid the growing scarcity, she noted that donations were needed more than ever before. "It is important to recognize that the milk sitting in your freezer is better served going to a child that is in need right now," she affirmed. "Especially those really young babies in the NICU that are compromised because of their size and age." So far, the responses she has received to her donations have been "overwhelmingly positive and powerful."
The social media celebrity said she hopes that sharing this part of her journey inspires others to do the same. She stated, "The process was really very easy and simple because it does sound kind of daunting." Fink concluded with a message for mothers struggling to feed their young children right now: "If you are impacted by the formula shortage, there are people and ways to connect to these people who have an answer to your problem. There is help in your community." If you are interested in donating your breast milk, you can click this link to access the Human Milk Banking Association's official website and find a milk bank near you.