Donor Profile: Chenxin's Story
Updated: Jun 24, 2020
"Like many twins, Laura and Layla were born prematurely on 2018.10.02 and were admitted to the NICU immediately. I was fortunate that my milk came in on the second day and the amazing lactation consultant encouraged me to pump early on.
Laura latched on with her first try. However it took time for me to produce enough milk for both of the girls so I cannot thank the donors enough as I was using donor milk for the first few days after they were born. The girls were discharged from the NICU with 100% breastmilk and gained exclusively tandem breastfeeding.
I also kept on pumping after each nursing session and soon found out that I’m producing quite a lot of milk. Later, a nurse practitioner gave me a brochure about donating milk when I took the girls back to the hospital for the World Prematurity Day celebration. That's when I decided I wanted to do something for other preemie babies. I pumped after each nursing session for at least three months postpartum to ensure I had enough. I found my freezer was filling up fast so I stopped pumping to balance the supply and demand.
Around four months Layla started to have feeding issues and was later diagnosed with a rare, but catastrophic, form of epilepsy-infantile spasms. When she was at the hospital she was tested with her swallowing and they used nectar bottles for breastmilk to avoid aspiration but it didn’t work for her. We then went back to nursing and managed to keep on going with exclusive breastfeeding until they were 8 months old.
Due to Layla’s swallowing issues and her physical conditions, she still couldn't take solids by the mouth and her weight gain was not great. She was put on an NG tube to top up her feeding and that was the time we started to use the frozen milk and I started to pump again. With her growing and gaining her feedings also went up. She was later changed to a G-tube and fed 100% with breastmilk and Pediatric formula as suggested by her aerodigestive doctors and SLPs.
I pump every single day 2-3 times at least to meet her needs. In the meantime, her twin sister Laura has always been nursing. As of now the girls are 18 months old, and I still pump at least twice per day, but Layla’s need for breastmilk has been decreased (increase in formula for better growth as suggested by her dietitian and pediatrician).
We had quite a lot of milk sitting in the freezer, and I contacted the NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank to see about donation. With the current pandemic going on and shortages in donors, the milk bank is accepting pumped milk up to 14 months postpartum! This is finally the time we can donate our extra to those babies in need. Nursing and pumping for twins, especially with a tube fed baby is not an easy task. But I am blessed to have enough supply and my girls have encouraged me to kept on doing so.
The three of us always wanted to do something for other preemie babies and this is it, we did it! Thank you NorthernStar, we are helping the most fragile babies and we cannot be more proud of it!"