By Rebecca Drew
MEET THE selfless mum-of-one who is proving that breast really is best by donating more than TWENTY-EIGHT-LITRES of her breast milk to families in need in the space of just three-months after finding out her daughter is a BOOB ONLY BABY and her freezer was overflowing with her milk.
When frozen yoghurt shop worker, Shawna Boyes (25) from Oak Harbour, Washington, USA, fell pregnant with her five-month-old daughter, Delta, last year she always knew she wanted to breastfeed her baby if she was able to after seeing her friends breastfeed their children and witnessing the close bond they had formed through nursing.
Delta was born on October 30, 2018, weighing 7lb 8oz and both mother and daughter took to natural breastfeeding straight away. As well as feeding Delta through her breast, Shawna also started expressing her milk so that she could bottle feed her as well, but Delta refused to take the bottle, preferring to be breastfed instead so Shawna’s freezer was starting to fill up with milk that she didn’t want to be wasted.
After some extensive research into milk donation and finding out that there were so many families out there that were in need of breast milk, selfless Shawna decided to donate her surplus milk. Her first donation was at Christmas last year and she has since donated to families where the mother is unable to produce enough of her own milk and newborn adopted babies.
Since then, Shawna has donated just over 28-litres of her milk and likes to think that someone would step up for her if she was ever unable to produce enough milk for Delta.
“I grew up watching my close friend breastfeed almost all her kids and she made it seem so natural because it is. I knew once I found out I was pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed, I’ve always been comfortable breastfeeding,” said Shawna.
“It’s an amazing bonding experience between a mother and baby. On top of that our bodies produce exactly what our babies need.
“My first donation was right after Christmas, Delta was just turning two-months-old, and our freezer was getting full of milk. It was taking over really.
“Honestly, our freezer was filling up too fast. I knew they were plenty of babies out there after I had done lots of research that needed breast milk. Plus, we recently found out that our baby is a boob baby only and she won’t take a bottle now.
“I feel every baby deserves breast milk, I’m not against formula but if you can get your hands on breast milk I’d choose it over formula.
“These mums have either gone through something stressful, can’t produce enough milk or just needed some back up just in case. I’ve also donated to a newborn adopted baby.
“Some babies need it over formula. Some have such sensitive tummies that just can’t take formula. Or in some cases in adoption the option to breastfeed isn’t there. I’d choose breast milk over formula any day for any baby.
“I knew before I had her that I wanted to donate if I could because in the end if I needed it for Delta I would want someone to step up for me.”
Shawna’s husband, Jacob, is supportive of her decision to donate her breastmilk to those in need. At the moment, Shawna intends to breastfeed Delta, who she is currently feeding on demand anywhere up to 10 times during the day, until she is a year old.
Through her donations, Shawna has been able to meet the mothers she has donated to and always asks if she can get a photograph of Delta with their baby as they are milk siblings now.
Shawna shares her breastmilk journey on Instagram and hopes to be able to inspire other mothers to do the same if they can.
“Jacob is very supportive, he knows I’d want someone to do the same for our baby if we needed them to,” said Shawna.
“I love meeting the mothers who I’m donating to. If I can, I always just ask for a picture of our babies together because they are milk siblings. Most are very thankful and appreciative.
“I hope to inspire just one mother to donate to a baby in need that’s all. If I can inspire more that’s great.
“Just about any mother who’s breastfeeding can donate their milk and please do. There will always be a demand for breast milk donors.
“Don’t ever feel like you have to donate like 100-200oz. Families are thankful for whatever you can give them, or at least they should be.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/deltasmommy101316