Donating breast milk to mothers who need it is a noble cause, and women everywhere benefit from it. But can you imagine being this mom who's donated 600 gallons of breast milk? For the sheer amount of milk she's donated, people have started calling her the "breast milk goddess." Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra, 29 years old, first donated her excess breast milk after her first daughter was born in 2014.
She was lucky to be able to donate her milk, but then things changed. In late 2016, after her second daughter was born, Anderson-Sierra was too tired to produce milk after her 30-hour labor. She was so thankful for the donations that she received that she considered donating her breast milk full time.
As it would turn out, this winter she was diagnosed with hyper lactation syndrome, which means that she has more milk producing glands in her breasts than other women. Because of it, she produces a lot of breast milk. Her youngest daughter consumes about 20-28 ounces of milk a day, but Anderson-Sierra produces 225 ounces (or 1.7 gallons) every single day.
Instead of letting it go to waste, she's become a full time donor, something that she calls "a way of life."
It really is, too. Anderson-Sierra says it's basically a full-time job, since she has to make sure her milk meets the qualifications for donation. She wrote in a Facebook post that she spends about 10 hours every day pumping milk. The 29-year-old mom said that she has be careful about what she eats, making sure the milk is always the right temperature, and cleaning all of the pumps and equipment meticulously.
She receives a $1 for every ounce donated and the milk bank provides the bags, but she's also taxed on that. It's actually not a lot of money, since Anderson-Sierra not only has to spend her time pumping and cleaning, but also spending money on supplies. She says that she's burned through eight Medela pumps and two Symphony pumps. In addition to that, there's the breast pads and other supplies. Anderson-Sierra wrote:
I need pumping bras for good support and compression, one at each pumping station and I wash them every day or every other day to maintain cleanliness. Breast pads, changed out at every pump that adds up quick. I use the disposable pads because cloth can harbor bacteria. Nipple creams are another expense.
She replaces her pump parts every three months and has tons of tools to sterilize them, along with three freezers to store the milk until she can donate and ship it.
But she told People that she loves being able to give back, even though it's a lot of time, effort, and some expense. “If everybody had this kind of mentality, the world would be a better place. I feel like I am doing my part, one ounce at a time.”
It's a lot of commitment and dedication, but when you think of all the moms who would like to breastfeed their kids but can't for whatever reason, Anderson-Sierra really is sort of a goddess for them.