A miracle mum has donated more than 600 GALLONS – 5,000 PINTS – of her own breastmilk to help hundreds of other parents feed their babies.
Selfless Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra, 29, devotes ten hours a day to her “labour of love” and says it’s like a full-time job.
The mum-of-two has Hyperlactation Syndrome which means she pumps around 225oz (1.75gallons) of breastmilk a day – almost ten times the 27oz average.
Her six-month-old daughter, Sophia, consumes 20oz a day and the rest is handed over to local mums, gay couples and a milk bank for premature babies.
The precious liquid is packaged, labelled and stored in four huge freezers in the house where she lives with the girls and her husband, public safety officer David Sierra, 52.
Elisabeth says she has fed “thousands” of babies with 78,000oz – more than 600 gallons – of breastmilk since falling pregnant with her eldest daughter, Isabella, two and a half.
The former U.S. Coast Guard boatswain’s mate, of Beaverton, Oregon, says producing the “liquid gold” is her “labor of love”.
She said: “I realised I was an overproducer when I was pregnant with my first child, but when I had my second baby my supply ramped up.
“Now Sophia is six months old I pump five times a day – as soon as I wake up, after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner and again at midnight.
“I produce 70 to 80oz of milk during my first pump alone.
“In total I will spend around five hours a day just pumping and then with storing, labelling, sterilizing etcetera, I easily spent eight to ten hours.
“Pumping is not fun – it is uncomfortable and it hurts – but it is my labor of love.
“I’ve not had a day off in two-and-a-half years. It’s more than a full-time job.
“It is instant gratification when I donate locally because I see the babies and I see them thriving.
“It will have helped thousands of children. The milk at the milk bank goes to micro pre-emies, so 1oz can feed three or four babies.
“I don’t discriminate – I have donated to gay couples and to mothers who are on medication or had their breast removed due to breast cancer.
“It’s an amazing feeling.”
Elisabeth usually breastfeeds at home but will also pump discretely in restaurants, while driving and in other public spaces.
Around half of her milk is picked up from her house by local moms or couples who often choose to compensate her for her time.
The other half is donated to California milk bank Prolacta Bioscience.
Elisabeth is paid $1 an ounce by the company to cover her time but does not profit.
She spends the money on the equipment, storage and extra food she needs to produce.
“When I first started it was very very hard, mostly because there is really no price on it and all the blood sweat and tears that go into making it.
“It was like giving away a portion of the paintings on the Sistine Chapel… priceless and hours of work.
“There was also fear. What if I gave away all my milk and something happened to me to where I then dried up and couldn’t feed my own baby?
“I’d hear horror stories about that happening to mothers all the time! I’d then be the one in the position that I’d be desperate to find donor milk.
“I eventually got over it, and kept donating everything I had on hand.
“It makes me feel like I am giving back to my community and I’m participating in humanity.
“I would encourage other mums to reach out to their own community and consider donating.
“Breastmilk is like liquid gold – it should never be thrown away. And there is a high need for it out there.”