A breastfeeding mama was diagnosed with a syndrome that causes her body to overproduce milk—and she's harnessed it to help countless families in need.
Oregon mom-of-two Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra couldn't breastfeed her second daughter Sophia after a grueling labor. She told People magazine, "My body was just exhausted so she had to have donor milk for the first couple of feedings." That experience inspired her to start donating her own breast milk to other families in need... a lot of it. More than 600 gallons of it!
Anderson-Sierra now spends up to 10 hours a day not only pumping milk, but packaging her breast milk supply, and working with milk banks nationwide to pick up, vet and deliver what she is able to produce, due to hyperlactation syndrome. In essence, her body produces far more milk than now 6-month-old Sophia could ever consume, every day.
According to People, Sophia takes about 20 to 28 ounces of breast milk daily. But her mama's body can make 10 times that, and Anderson-Sierra sure doesn't want what many people call "liquid gold" to go to waste. So she now donates her milk pretty much as a full-time job.
Not that she gets paid. Yes, Anderson-Sierra gets reimbursed for her donations, but she tells People she barely breaks even given the cost of buying supplies to pump, sanitize and freeze her breast milk.
But this isn't about the money for Anderson-Sierra. She says, "I definitely feel good about being able to help people, but I also think it's kinda ingrained in who I am." She adds, "This is my way of being active in my community and giving back to humanity, and so it's my labor of love."
Even if you aren't producing at the same levels as Anderson-Sierra, you can still donate any additional breast milk you create.