So Russell decided to donate whatever else she could produce to a milk bank in Raleigh. As any woman who has bent over a breast pump can tell you, it's a true labor of love. Over the course of 14 months, this patient mama pumped every three hours— for more than 140 hours total—while also caring for her baby and toddler. In the end, she ended up donating an astonishing 4,880 ounces (or nearly 38 gallons) of breast milk.
Pretty incredible, right? But even more inspiring is how many babies can benefit from her generosity. Russell explained that just one ounce of milk can provide up to six feedings for a preemie and help prevent infections. Already, the donated milk is being used in more than 40 hospitals along the East Coast.
As a mom who grudgingly pumped every now and then, I'm blown away by Russell's dedication and tenacity. I counted the days until I could say goodbye to the snaking tubes, hissing machine, and godawful suction. Meanwhile, she's working overtime to squeeze out every last drop of breast milk to help babies she'll never meet. Of course, the decision was a natural one for this professor of public health, who says her incredible donation is "one way that I feel like I've been able to give back to the community."
I want to hear from you: Would you consider donating your breastmilk?