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She has donated 62 gallons of breast milk to new moms struggling with breastfeeding

Katy Bannerman struggled with lactation herself during her first pregnancy and did not want other new moms to experience the same challenges.

She has donated 62 gallons of breast milk to new moms struggling with breastfeeding
Image Source: Breast Feeding Mothers Protest Outside Primark Store In Madrid. MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 23. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Katy Bannerman from North Carolina, a mother of two, started donating her extra supply of breast milk when the ongoing public health crisis first began. At present, her deep freezer is overflowing with packets of her breast milk—8,000 ounces of it to be exact. She was inspired to donate her overflow after she struggled with lactation herself during her first son's infancy. After she met with a private lactation consultant, she began overproducing, pumping up to 90 ounces of breast milk in one day. Now, her surplus breast milk helps other new moms who, like her, are experiencing issues with lactation, CNN reports.


"That was kind of my intended recipient, someone who had themselves struggled with breastfeeding, for one reason or another," she said in an interview with the news outlet. "I was so happy to be able to donate. At one point I had consistent people that I would donate to, they would come by every week." At first, Bannerman was unsure about what to do with her surplus breast milk. That was when she began surfing online, eventually turning to local Facebook groups where women, and mothers, in particular, fostered discussions about breastfeeding and nursing. Some groups even featured calls for breast milk. Responding to these calls, Bannerman posted about her surplus milk supply. She received dozens of messages from interested mothers.


One of the many families who benefitted from the mother's milk supply included one that had recently adopted a baby. Another family recently had a baby that suffered from "borderline failure to thrive." This is a condition wherein a child's weight is significantly below that of other similarly aged children. As Bannerman's breast milk had a high-fat content, it had the potential to help increase the baby's caloric intake, helping the baby gain weight faster than through breast milk alternatives.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that 60 percent of all new mothers stop breastfeeding earlier than they want to. This is primarily owing to lactation problems, lack of family support, and concerns about their baby's weight and nutrition, among other factors. At the same time, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life. However, only 25 of infants aged six months actually are. Such expectations can cause greater concerns for new moms, who may believe they are not giving their children the best nutrition possible.


Bannerman experienced these worries. During her first pregnancy, she was only able to nurse her baby for the first two months. She explained, "I wasn't able to nurse like I wanted to and that ate me away, like so horribly." She felt as though she had failed as a mother and beat herself up for not being able to meet her baby's recommended nutrition needs. Therefore, she was determined to overcome her lactation challenges when her second child came along. Evidently, she has passed those hurdles. Now, the mother encourages other new moms to seek out all the resources available to them. She stated, "That's another reason why donating was so important to me, is that women were able to still take care of themselves and take care of their babies without that guilt." Bannerman donated her last supply in December after she stopped pumping a surplus of breast milk in October.


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