When Natasha Brenko had her son seven months ago, she quickly learned that breastfeeding was going to be a challenge.
What the Kelowna woman didn’t know, however, was that the solution she found for a short-term problem could one day bring relief to other mothers in worse circumstances.
“When my second son was born he had a tongue tie, and I had to exclusively pump and feed,” she said.
In the first two to three months of pumping, Brenko had produced enough milk to ensure her son was well nourished and then some.
She had an extra 13 litres of breast milk that were immediately packed up and put in her freezer.
In the months that followed Brenko’s son’s tongue-tie was fixed and he was able to breastfeed. She realized that he’s more than able to get the milk he needs to flourish, but there was no way she was going to get rid of her stockpile of “liquid gold.”
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Peaches has arrived! On Tuesday, February 12th, at 6pm, we welcomed Bianca Bloom (Peaches) Holmes to the world. She came out with a scream that changed everything and took to mammas boob immediately. – Paola was absolutely amazing, and I am awestruck with the love, passion, strength and calm she showed. – Gratitude doesn’t approach what I’m feeling for the fact that everyone is safe and for all of the kind help we received. A huge thank you to Paola’s mamma Martina who was a rock, our doula Raman who was so wise and so funny, our midwives Laura and Michelle who kept things on track and kept everyone safe, and the team at Women’s Hospital who were so kind and professional. Finally I am so grateful and proud of the Canadian medical system. I truly wish that women and families around the world can receive the same level of support we did. We are blessed. – We love you all, but we will be going offline for a bit while we take time to bond as a family. ❤️
So she reached out to the provincial milk bank, which is at B.C. Women’s Hospital. It’s the only milk bank in the province and provides donor milk to the sickest babies in B.C. across NICUs.
It is also always in need of donations.
“Many moms who deliver preterm babies do not produce milk right away or have enough, studies have shown that breastmilk provides needed antibodies for babies to fight infections which is critical for preemies,” said a representative from BC Women’s.
To get women in a donating frame of mind they sent out a call to action that tied in to the day of love.
”We were thinking for Valentine’s Day, it would be a good opportunity to remind moms to give something close to the heart: mother’s milk (breastmilk),” said the representative.
Brenko offered her milk before the call for donations because she knows how important it is to be supported during the early days of having a child.
“Parents in that situation are already in a difficult position and if you can take away a little bit of that stress, why not?” she said.
She also said that if she was ever on the receiving end she wouldn’t hesitate to pull from its reserves.
“For me, it’s important to provide breast milk for my children. It’s the perfect meal,” she said.
She also said she was impressed with the screening process she just went through.
She provided medical information and she had two phone interviews. Her doctor had to fill out paperwork and she had a blood test.
She said it wasn’t onerous.
It was, however, extensive and worthwhile.
“The breastmilk is going the teeny tiniest babies in the NICU and it has to be safe for the little babies, and for the parents,” she said.
To find out what’s needed to donate breastmilk, visit http://www.bcwomens.ca/our-services/labour-birth-post-birth-care/milk-bank/donating-milk.
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