Imagine having a medical condition that potentially could make your life miserable but you use it as a force for good. Meet Beaverton, Oregon resident Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra – a mom-of-two who has hyper lactation syndrome.
Yes, that means exactly what you think it does. The 29-year-old produces a lot of breast milk – A LOT. Her 6-month-old daughter Sophia drinks 20-28 ounces a day but she produces 10 times that amount (an average of 225 ounces daily, which is 1.7 gallons). So what does she do with the extra milk?
To many, Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra is known as the “milk goddess.” The married mom-of-two said she thought about donating breast milk before she had her first child, daughter Isabella in 2014.
Since her toddler’s birth she claims that she has donated at least 78,000 ounces of milk, which is more than 600 gallons.
Anderson-Sierra doesn’t seem to be fazed by what she does. She told PEOPLE that it is now a “way of life” for her. She said: “I definitely feel good about being able to help people, but I also think it’s kinda ingrained in who I am.”
Anderson-Sierra added: “This is my way of being active in my community and giving back to humanity, and so it’s my labor of love.”
Although she thought about donating milk before the birth of her first child, she only started doing it full-time after having her second baby, Sophia, in December 2016. The little girl was born at 37 weeks, after 30 hours of labor, Anderson-Sierra was too pooped to breast feed for the first 24 hours. Ironically, she then had to rely on donated breast milk.
She said: “My body was just exhausted so she had to have donor milk for the first couple of feedings. [That experience] did help fuel my passion and my desire even further to continue to donate milk, because I was in that situation myself.”
So what does being a full-time breast milk donator look like? Well, in addition to caring for her children, Anderson-Sierra says she spends 10 hours a day pumping, packaging and coordinating with milk banks for pick-ups and deliveries. She said she spends half that time pumping breast milk.
Amazingly she said it doesn’t interfere with her family life. Anderson-Sierra said: “So far pumping hasn’t really stopped myself or my family from doing things, but it does add a extra hiccup in there.”
If you’re wondering if she gets compensated for her work, Anderson-Sierra receives $1 for each ounce of milk she donates to milk banks. However, when you factor in the cost of buying breast pumps, sanitation kits and freezers to store her supplies she’s lucky if she breaks even.
So does she regret her decision to invest so much time and energy into helping other moms feed their babies? Nope. Anderson-Sierra said: “If everybody had this kind of mentality, the world would be a better place. I feel like I am doing my part, one ounce at a time.”
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