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Donor Story: Nicole & Arlo

NorthernStar Milk Donor Nicole had a challenging beginning to her breastfeeding journey with baby Arlo. Thank you, Nicole, for sharing your story, your precious milk, and these wonderful photos of Arlo!

"Our breastfeeding journey started off far from perfect; my body had a lot of milk to offer my baby (Arlo), but he struggled to latch , mainly caused by his tongue tie, as well as my lack of experience as a first time mom. We had to take a small break from breastfeeding, so I pumped and we bottle fed Arlo for a few days while I healed from the pain (physical, mental, emotion pain), until things were healed enough to continue breastfeeding again.

"When I started nursing Arlo again a couple days later, things continued to be quite frustrating. (I also had an oversupply, so I started pumping and freezing my extra milk). We went to a few lactation consultants for tips on helping Arlo latch, extra support, and we also ended up getting his tongue tie clipped, which didn’t resolve the latching issues as soon as I’d hoped. Arlo then had to learn how to nurse with a bit of discomfort/pain, as well as he had to navigate his tongue that could now move freely.

"Breastfeeding continued to be frustrating for both of us. I dreaded the thought of having to feed him. The beautiful bond of breastfeeding seemed to be nowhere in sight; There was a lot of frustration, tears, mental and emotional stress, and guilt of wanting to give up.

"The doctor was a bit concerned he wasn’t gaining enough weight (a combination of not consuming enough during nursing and reflux issues as well), so we topped him up with my pumped milk after (unsuccessful) nursing sessions.

"By the time Arlo was about 2 1/2 months old, our stressful journey was coming to an end and I began to look forward to nursing him, and continue to do so! We finally got to experience that special breastfeeding bond! I’m so thankful that I didn’t give up, and I’m so grateful for all of the support around me from my husband, family, lactation consultants, breastfeeding support groups and my mom friends and family.

"Throughout this journey, our freezer became overrun by my extra milk. I remembered a while back when one of my friends, Kelsey, had posted on social media that she donated her milk to NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank, so I reached out to her and she encouraged me to look into it, so I did, and here we are! After an extensive screening process including an intake form, questionnaire, interview, doctor appointment, blood tests, and waiting to hear if we’d be approved (approved, yay!)…we began donating!

"Arlo has been sleeping through the night for a while now too, so I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night or early morning, in pain from being engorged, so to release the pressure, I pump, and into the freezer it goes to donate! It feels so good to be part of such an amazing organization, sharing our milk and helping out mothers and their babies in need!"

- Nicole, NorthernStar Milk Donor, Superhero, & Arlo's mum

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