Story by Nidhi Parmar Hiranandani
Motherhood has brought its fair share of surprises and challenges but never could I have imagined that my milk would not only nourish my baby but several other babies.
Two months after the birth of my son, I faced a little dilemma. Normally, after feeding my baby, I used to store the excess breast milk in the freezer. These packets took up quiet some space which left me with no space for my next batch. The only way I could make space for the fresh milk was by discarding the packets I’d stored earlier.
However, it felt wasteful to throw them away. So, I started researching the uses of stored breast milk. My friends suggested that I could bathe my child in the milk, use it to scrub my feet or apply it on my face. None of these suggestions appealed to me.
Hence, I turned to the internet which introduced me to the wonderful world of milk banks. I stumbled upon milk banks located in the U.S.A and I wondered if India had them too.
I rang up my gynaecologist and asked if there were any such banks in Mumbai. They directed me to Surya Hospital and put me in touch with a doctor who worked there. The doctor promptly arranged a milk pick up and ensured zero contact in these covid times. This was my first milk donation and many more were to follow.
When the doctor told me that my milk is being utilised to help save pre mature babies in the NICU, I was very thankful. I was giving more than a fighting chance to pre mature babies who badly needed the milk.
My family gladly supported my decision to donate milk. My husband recognised the importance of the donation immediately. Both our families have been very encouraging.
I’ve encountered people who think that this topic shouldn’t be discussed. But when you talk to them, they realize that their prejudice is pointless. Once, my friend made a judgemental comment about me talking about my donation openly. When I reasoned with her, she realised that it was a deep rooted prejudice that needs to be quashed.
The importance of the donation became even more pronounced to me after my visit to the NICU. I visited the little darlings for the first time in October. It was an overwhelming experience. I went there with my husband and son to drop off the milk. I even got the opportunity to see how the milk was pasteurised and how the babies were fed. That day, I decided to keep doing this for as long as possible.
Motherhood gave me an amazing chance to help so many little ones. I’ve been donating milk for almost seven months now. Every day, I’m more grateful that I have enough milk to feed my child and help other kids as well. I go to sleep peacefully knowing that I did the best I could do to help on that given day.