A mother from Beaverton, Ohio has been putting her excess breast milk to good use—donating to local milk banks, premature babies and gay couples.
Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra has hyper lactation syndrome and produces double the amount of milk than the average breastfeeding mother.
“I realised I was an overproducer when I was pregnant with my first child, but when I had my second baby, my supply ramped up,” she tells the New York Post.
Although the process can be quite painful for her, Anderson-Sierra spends five hours per day pumping breast milk and another few hours sterilising, labelling and storing it.
“I’ve not had a day off in two-and-a-half years. It’s more than a full-time job. It is instant gratification when I donate locally because I see the babies and I see them thriving.”
The mother says her milk has helped thousands of children whose parents cannot provide them with breast milk for a variety of reasons.
“I don’t discriminate — I have donated to gay couples and to mothers who are on medication or had their breast removed due to breast cancer. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Anderson-Sierra is paid a small amount for the milk she donates to California milk bank Prolacta Bioscience—enough to help her pay for equipment, storage and the extra food that she needs.
The 29-year-old—who used to work for the US Coast Guard—says the experience is a “labour of love”.
“Donating has been a massive part of my life for the past few years,” she says.
“I would encourage other mums to reach out to their own community and consider donating. Breast milk is like liquid gold — it should never be thrown away. And there is a high need for it out there.”