A Nebraska mother whose 10-month-old son died responded by donating 17,503 ounces, or 131 gallons, of breast milk to a local hospital.
Demi Frandsen, of Omaha, said her son, Leo, died at 10 months. “Leo was born 2 months early and he was diagnosed with gastroschisis. There was no skin to pull over his exposed organs. It was kind of a new case they had not seen before,” she told WOWT-TV.
The boy spent 10 months at the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, at the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha.
“We’re still trying to figure out how to have a life without such a big part of it…a little piece of our soul,” said Frandsen.
During his stay in intensive care, Frandsen said she felt helpless. The only way she felt she could help him was via breastfeeding.
Frandsen also wanted to help the hospital that took care of him. Before he died, she began donating some of her breast milk to the hospital. After he died, she persisted—waking up every three hours to pump bottles of milk.
“My final donation was 17,503 ounces…which is 131 gallons. So, a dairy aisle, basically,” Demi said.
Her breast milk is being used to feed other babies in the hospital’s NICU.
“He was worth it. He was worth all of this,” Frandsen told WOWT. “His life in 10 months was the best 10 months of mine.”
An increasing number of mothers are choosing to sell or donate their breast milk.
According to a Wired report, some mothers are selling their milk online for $1 to $2.50 per ounce.
Breast milk donations are also on the rise. In March, Arizona opened its first human milk donation center in Tuscon. The Mother’s Milk Bank has listed more than 50 donation sites across 12 states. The banks consistently provide “more milk to NICUs than any other nonprofit milk bank in North America.”