Some Pumping Applause Please

As we get closer to August we are filled with anticipation for the many great things this month has to offer; first off it is National Breastfeeding month, we’re a few days away from our Mamava iPhone app launch, we’re gearing up for the ABC Kids Expo in early September and lastly, and most excitingly, we’ve recently connected with Cathie Rosado, the newest Guinness World Record holder for most breast milk donated. From April of 2009 to January of 2010, Cathie donated 1,273.23 litres of breast milk to the Ohio Health Mothers’ Milk Bank. We asked Cathie to share her story with us, and she did.

“The road to motherhood was not the easiest for me.  My husband and I first adopted his great niece and nephew when they were 9 and 8.  Today they are 23 and 22 and proudly serving in the Marines and Navy.  I had two miscarriages before and one miscarriage after the successful birth of my daughter Lydia.  During those 6 years of wanting a natural child I had lots of time to think about what I wanted to do.  First was to breastfeed and second was to go the whole first year as recommended.  Things did not work out as planned.  Latching did not go well and I ended up resorting to pumping and bottle feeding.  At six months my body simply quit producing milk and I was devastated and felt like a failure. 


When my son Caleb came along we were again struggling with the latch and while still in the hospital I started pumping.  I came home and found I had a new problem.  I was completely engorged, running fevers, and rapidly running out of space to freeze the excess milk.  My body settled into the routine and then I had to find some place to go with the milk.  I figured someone somewhere could use it and called the children’s hospitals in central and eastern PA.  Someone recommended I check into milk banking.  I first stumbled on Wakemed in North Carolina who referred me to Ohio figuring that the freight would be cheaper from PA.  It took a little while until the milk bank and I got into a routine and they realized exactly how much milk I was producing.  It was up to 100 ounces every 24 hours.  When Joshua and Nathaniel each came along the milk bank was on alert to be ready.  Each time I seemed to be even more prolific. 


In addition to the milk bank I have been able to help some local moms, one who was adopting a baby born to a drug addicted mother, one who simply needed some supplementing as her body slowed its production, and one who was unable to produce at a level that could allow her baby to thrive.


Part way into my donating journey I learned that a woman I knew from high school but hadn’t seen in years adopted a little girl who was a survivor of preemie NEC.  I met that precious little girl which made me even more passionate about donating.  I have heard pieces of the stories of medical challenges they have been through as even now at age 5 she is in a fight for a full life.  If I have been able to help even one mother bring home a healthy baby that otherwise wouldn’t have made it then it has all been worth it. 


It’s not always been convenient to take the pump with me everywhere I go or wake up at crazy times of the night, but those sacrifices are inconsequential in light of a child’s life. 


I’ve pumped in hospitals, hotel rooms, employer lactation facilities, airport bathrooms, in locker rooms, in my office, in probably every room of my house at one time or another, in the car, in the back of work vans and a small Uhaul truck.  I’ve taken my pump across PA, to Wisconsin, to Atlanta, to Florida, to Nashville, and various other places I can’t think of at the moment.  I’ve run the pump off of standard electric, the cigarette lighter in the car, AAA batteries, a generator, and even an emergency battery backup gizmo.  I’ve pumped at every possible hour of the day and night.  Moms will do whatever it takes.  I even had the milk bank laughing when in a pinch I had to put milk into rinsed out Gatorade bottles while traveling.”


Thank you Cathie for your amazing story, commitment to breastfeeding and helping others.