When a breastfeeding child is hospitalized, breastmilk becomes more than food and comfort–it is medicine. It is even more important for the child to receive his mother’s milk and often more difficult for her to provide it. Unless the mother is allowed to stay in the hospital and the baby is able to breastfeed, pumping becomes a fact of life and a hospital grade pump becomes a necessity. If the mother is not allowed to stay in the hospital with her baby, she encounters even more difficulties: it is not always easy to obtain a hospital grade pump to take home, depending on circumstances, and it is difficult to find time to pump when the mother must spend a sizable amount of time commuting to and from the hospital. It is common for mothers who have babies in the NICU to have difficulty keeping up their milk supply.
The Ronald McDonald House is a place where families who have hospitalized babies and children can stay nearby either for free or a small donation while their child is treated, easing the financial burden for them at a time when their emotional burden is already high. 40% of families staying at the Ronald McDonald House are there because they have babies in the NICU. Being able to stay nearby the hospital also provides the additional benefits of spending less time commuting and more time in kangaroo care, providing breastmilk by pumping, and if possible, breastfeeding.
One breastpump company has committed to donating hospital grade pumps to Ronald McDonald House for the breastfeeding mothers staying there, funded by their pump recycling program. Having a multi-user, hospital grade pump available to breastfeeding mothers of babies in the NICU would be a huge boon to them!! If you have a Medela pump that you no longer want, consider donating it to this breastpump recycling program.
~Chrissy Bodin, IBCLC