posted in Parenting
St. Louis-area mom Danielle Palmer found a unique and vital way to help families affected by Hurricane Harvey: She donated more than 1,000 ounces of breast milk.
Mothers losing their stashes of frozen breast milk probably isn’t the first problem that comes to mind in the wake of a hurricane. However, it’s a reality many families have faced since the catastrophic flooding in Texas. And for Palmer, it was an opportunity to bring some good out of a bad situation — in more ways than one.
“My son, Truett, was born with a complex congenital heart defect,” the mom of three told BabyCenter, noting her baby boy has had eight surgeries in the past six months. “So for the first big part of his life, he was unable to take my milk. All the milk I was pumping was going into the freezer.”
In the beginning, Palmer was pumping between 16 and 20 ounces at a time — every four hours! Truett is able to receive his mama’s milk through a gastrostomy tube; so now she pumps 8-10 ounces every six hours. Still, her milk stash has rapidly grown through the months.
“Truett’s speech therapist, Nicole Edwin, knew of my oversupply and really large stash of milk,” Palmer said, adding she has also shared her milk with one local mom. “Nicole reached out to me asking if I would be interested in donating milk for some mothers and babies in Texas. She had been contacted by someone from Texas letting her know of the need for breast milk and formula.”
Palmer explained that Edwin is the president of a non-profit organization called Guiding Star Mid-Missouri. The frozen breast milk was packed up into a deep freezer with special ice and driven to Texas by Edwin and her midwife, Terina Knarr. Once they arrived, the milk was immediately transferred into another deep freezer for storage, where it could be distributed to babies in need.
“The first mother and baby to receive some milk was a mother who had a 1-month-old baby that had been displaced and had lost all the milk she had,” Palmer said. “The stress of losing everything they had and known contributed to her loss of milk supply. They were able to give the mother and baby several hundred ounces of milk. The mother gladly accepted! More milk has been given out and gladly accepted. What people don’t understand is that these mothers lost all their milk supplies, their pumps and just the stress in general decreases, or worse, they lose their own supply.”
Palmer ended up sending over a whopping 1,040 ounces to families affected by Hurricane Harvey. Donated formula, bottled water and other items — like diapers, wipes, feminine products — were also brought to hurricane victims.
“I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to share my breast milk with these mothers,” Palmer told BabyCenter. “The Lord has blessed our family beyond measures. I don’t take my son’s heart defect lightly, but before he was born, I prayed that some beauty could come from our pain — and here is part of the beauty! I’m beyond thankful that my milk can provide some stress relief for these mothers and nutrition for the babies.”
Looking to help those who are rebuilding their lives after Hurricane Harvey? Click here for ways you can make a positive impact.
What do you think of this mom’s story? Have you ever shared your milk with a baby that wasn’t yours?
Images courtesy of Danielle Palmer
The post Meet the mom who donated over 1,000 ounces of breast milk to Hurricane Harvey victims appeared first on BabyCenter Blog.