I have never been a milk donor but I of course have been an advocate and also a hardworking pumping mom. Today as I begin to step up to the plate and plan my baby’s first feeding, I know everything will be okay. And, it’s not because I was able to express some golden colostrum at 37 weeks (yay! Normal). But also because donor moms make a difference and have a different way of helping.
With coronavirus approaching I am considering not signing the waiver to receive donor milk and yet I am starting to realize that I can not feed my baby by myself in the early days. Every baby everywhere has a right to passive immunity and it’s not just about immunity to stop the coronavirus. It’s about immunity to build up from where they are at and defeat other little things that they have no immunity to. It takes at least 48 hours from when the placenta is delivered to when a mother can begin to produce her own transitional breastmilk. She may have some colostrum during that time, but there is no guarantee. Lets take a look at what it takes to get a baby through those first 48 hours on minimum.
For the first day of feedings a baby needs 5-10 mL per feeding every 3 hours for the first 24 hours. For the second day, the baby is going to need 10-20mL per feeding every 3 hours for the second 24 hours. This means that a minimum of 40mL plus 80mL should get you through the first 24 hours. This is 120mL of breastmilk or 4 oz or a half cup of breastmilk.
I think it is possible for mom’s to achieve this together if they keep their supply up in an organized fashion. My personal goal is to make 2oz of colostrum before delivery, and then receive less than 2 oz of donor milk to get through the first couple days. Moms and doctors are a little bit different in this regard, and I just like to say really it is a little bit random and not total rocket science, but you can make it into rocket science if you want, to each his own.