Breastfeeding comes with all sorts of great brain- and immunity-boosting benefits, but not every infant is able to get milk directly from the breast. Donor milk can be a great option in those cases, but getting fresh milk to a new parent can be a challenge. If a family is lucky enough to live in New York City, though, they could get some help from an amazing group of women bikers. You read that right: A women’s motorcycle club called The Sirens is helping to get donor milk to babies who need it. Honestly, I can’t decide whether these women on motorcycles delivering breast milk are real life superheroes or if they’re just the most badass thing you’ll see this week. Either way, they are amazing and I’m here for it.
According to the group’s official website, The Sirens Women’s Motorcycle Club is the oldest, largest women’s motorcycle club in the city. And since early last year, the club’s 40 members have been working with the New York Milk Bank to get much-needed breast milk from donors to hospitals and recipient families in the area.
How did such a perfect idea even come to be? In a video interview for 60 Second Documentaries, Sirens president Jen Bacquial explained that the group volunteered “because, who wouldn’t help a sick baby?”
The executive director of the Milk Bank called me out of nowhere and introduced the idea of delivering breast milk to babies. I was immediately attached to the idea. We’re all women. We have friends that have had trouble breastfeeding and being able to help just a little bit I know it’s gotta be doing some good.
New York Milk Bank director, Julie Bouchet-Horowitz, told Slate in an interview recently that, because of the twists and turns of Manhattan traffic, the Sirens can zip around traffic snags and get donor milk to families quicker than other methods. Anyone who has been caught in traffic knows the value of that kind of superpower.
And the Milk Riders — according to Slate, that’s the nickname for the team of women who deliver the milk (love!) — can make all the difference for a family whose baby is sick. A mother profiled in the video said that her baby daughter was born months early with an intestinal infection that could have proven fatal; The antibodies found in breast milk would help heal the baby's intestines and strengthen her daughter's system. But keeping up with the grueling pumping schedule while caring for her daughter was stressful, too. The family’s pediatrician told her about the New York Milk Bank and she was able to get on the list for a delivery from their kind-hearted volunteers:
The first day we got a delivery and I saw her and I was so shocked because she was a motorcycle lady! And I thought it was so cute! Really, we’re just so thankful for them. They’re like our little personal angels providing us milk.
For women who choose to breastfeed, worries over whether their milk supply can keep up with their baby’s needs can be frustrating, even frightening. Finding a supply of donor milk that’s nearby and available to use can be tough. Imagine the relief — really, the joy! — that a parent feels upon opening their door and seeing a delivery of much-needed human milk brought in by a badass biker chick. I would have to give our Milk Rider a high five and a hug literally every time she showed up. I mean, how could you not?