Welcome to The Mothers Of The Milky Way!

We are two mothers who were moved by the story of a little girl whose life was saved through the generosity, love and care of mothers (and their babies) who were willing to share their milk. This story has brought us all together, and these are our stories.

If you are interested in donating milk and live in the West Michigan area, please e mail us:

Donated breast milk saves lives.
To learn more about donating breast milk please visit
OR - to find a way to donate or receive donations locally:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jayden NEEDS Milk - Please Read & Help Us Spread The Word!!

Hello lovely mamas - we need your help!  

Jayden was doing very well for a while, so we slowed down on collecting milk for her. Unfortunately, Jayden got sick and was hospitalized and isn't doing very great. The family does not have enough milk for her right now and are desperate for breast milk donations.

If you or anyone you know has ANY extra milk to give, please contact us immediately.
Juliea Paige CD(DONA) - 616.633.5787
Laura Dillivan - 616.558.6955

UPDATE: We will be attending the Art Prize Nurse In, Let The Revolution Begin With Us event Saturday, Sept. 24 from 1-4 PM at The Waters Building (161 Ottawa, suite 112)
 If you have milk to give, you are invited to bring it to the event and join us for the nurse in! 
For details click HERE

Please, share this post with your friends and loved ones. You never know who might be nursing, who might know someone who is nursing, or even someone who has a stock pile of breast milk they need to get rid of. Your "share" either in breast milk or in spreading the word could help us sustain a life.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nursing Moms Are Taking Over Grand Rapids!!

In the coming month nursing moms will be making headlines in Grand Rapids as the Milk For Thought tour bus will be making a stop on July 28 and he Grand Rapids BIG LATCH ON will be breaking records on August 6. Both of these events are meant to promote and support breastfeeding mothers of the past, present and future. They will both be important parts of our history and we hope you will all be inspired to join!

July 28 - Milk For Thought "Latch On America" Tour Bus GRAND RAPIDS
location TBA

45 days - 30+ Cities - 1 Goal
Highlighting how America is taking action to empower breastfeeding mothers.

Come and celebrate breastfeeding, connect with community and share our stories of breastfeeding. We want to hear from anyone who has ever or will ever breastfeed (for any amount of time) as well as anyone who has ever loved or supported someone who has. Your story matters and can help other new and future moms.

August 6 - Grand Rapids BIG LATCH ON
10 - 11AM
Rosa Parks Circle

Breastfeeding mothers of West Michigan UNITE! Together we will try to break the record for most women latched together simultaneously while promoting and supporting breastfeeding. There will be 50 amazing swag bags for the first 50 mothers at the event and two raffle prizes as well provided by businesses in our community who support nursing mothers.

Through these two events a Grand Rapids based list will be created for mothers to find the places where she is "Free To Feed" her baby. The businesses that are on this list will receive information about breastfeeding that they will pass along to their employees to ensure that everyone who works for them is aware of current policy. This will avoid future embarrassments for companies like the Smart Bus who's drive went against policy and tried to kick a mother off for nursing her two week old baby.

These events are more than just breastfeeding events, they are important movements towards understanding and changing our attitudes towards breastfeeding mothers which will help to increase our breastfeeding rates, saving money and lives along the way.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Day For Babes!

Breast Milk Drive & Motherhood Celebration
May 7, 2011
11AM - 7PM
1031 Wealthy St. - Grand Rapids 
(Between Sparrows Coffee and Brick Road Pizza)

Mothers make the world go around, and this day is dedicated to all you are and all that you could be. Join your local health and living experts as they feature workshops, demonstrations, services and goods all focused on empowerment, personal growth and your overall well being.

Breast Milk Donation Drive 

The Mothers Of The Milky Way is a local group of women who organize and collect donations of breast milk to benefit Jayden and Michael, two little ones on the East side of Michigan who are surviving on these donations. 
  • Workshop Schedule 
    • 11:00 - Mom & Baby Fitness - Stroller Strides 
    • 11:30 - Displaying Photography In Your Home with photographer Michelle Tippmann of En Vida Studio
    • NOON - "Understand Your Birth Plan Workshop" & Babywearing Demonstrations with Birth Doula Juliea Paige
    • 1:00 - Belly Dancing Workshop
    • 2:00 - Personal & Family Financial Planning
    • 3:00 - Find Your Passion - Live Your Dream! Workshop with Michelle Simons
    • 4:00 - Belly Dancing Workshop
    • 5:00 - Simple Nutrition For The Busy Mama with Health & Wellness Coach Aubrey Martin
    • 6:00 - The Unveiling of The CommonUnity Project - Find out what is on the horizon for the community of Grand Rapids. This is going to be BIG!

Also - come and check out our amazing vendors!

Crowning Lotus Doula Services - with Birth Doula info, Nursing Clips, Buddy Blankets, Birthing Bracelets & Mama Munchies Cookies
Henna Tattoos by the very talented Cassie Jaffe
MiEssence Certified Organic Beauty/Skin Care - with Jessica Andrews
XanGo - The Mangosteen Miracle - Self improvement, from the inside out.
Photography by Michelle Tippmann of En Vida Studio

Raffle Sponsors:
Crowning Lotus Doula Services
Health & Wellness Coaching
Clothing Matters
Energy Worker Sue Krenselewski
Health & Wellness Coaching with Aubrey Martin
En Vida Studio Photography
Teri Genovese Photography

There will also be light refreshments (Including local doula & mama made Mama Munchies Cookies), Raffles & Samples!

Make sure to RSVP on our Facebook Event Page to be put on the guest list and receive a FREE raffle ticket!

More details coming all the time! Feel free to invite your friends!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Breast Milk Donation Drop Off

The Mothers Of The Milky Way
Breast Milk Donation Drop Off
March 24
Hop Scotch Children's Store
963 Cherry Street SE
Grand Rapids

Got Milk?

We're always looking for lifesaving breastmilk donations for Jayden and her little brother Michael. If you a nursing mother with extra milk or you know someone who is, please consider sharing. Every drop counts for these kids!!

Please, PLEASE pass this event along and help us get the word out!

If you are interested in donating, please bring your individual packages of frozen milk in larger freezer bags. We keep the milk separated by mother. If you have a large quantity, please give us a heads up through e-mail so we can be ready. Thank you SO much!

To RSVP for this event on Facebook - please visit http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=197699950254131

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Angela W: Featured Mother Of The Milky Way

We are proud of our Mothers Of The Milky Way! Without you we wouldn't have this precious milk to take over to Jayden and Micheal. Your generosity truly saves lives, and for that, we thank you!

Tell us a little about yourself and your babies:
I have two beautiful babies. Lindsey is 2 1/2 and Noah is 9 months. I only nursed Lindsey for 3 months because I did not know about support groups and had a hard time doing it alone. I am still nursing Noah and loving it!

What was your motivation to nurse your young?
 The nutrition and the bonding is what got me to want to nurse my children.

How did you find out about donating your breast milk and/or Jayden's story and what motivated you to get involved?
 I found out about Jayden's story at baby beloved and just felt motivated to donate what milk I could. And, since I am not working and I had pumped extra to help the process along for my son I found no reason not to give it. If something ever happened with my children I would hope others would do the same to save a life.

Do you have a message for Jayden and Micheal?
 To Jayden and Michael, you are beautiful children and I hope you keep growing strong.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thank You, Mothers Of The Milky Way!

 Jana made a special trip out to Juliea's home to drop off her liquid GOLD!
Thanks, Jana!!

 Angela made it out to USA Baby to drop off her milk and hang out for a minute - it's always nice to see you Angela! Noah had a good time hanging around with mama in the Moby Wrap - and Lindsey REALLY enjoyed the Mama Munchies cookies
Thanks for coming, guys!

Sarah also made it down with Khaia! Thanks SO much for sharing, guys!! 

These are the Mothers Of The Milky Way
their donated breast milk saves lives and we are forever grateful to them for sharing!

The NEXT milk collection will be located at 
Hop Scotch Children's Store
963 Cherry St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

March 24 from 4-7 PM

Please e mail Juliea with questions - willow_moonspirit@yahoo.com

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Donation Pick-Up

The next drop off for donated milk will be on 
February 17, 2011
4 - 7 pm
 Emdin's USA Baby

2885 Lake Eastbrook Boulevard Southeast
Grand Rapids, MI 49512

If you are interested in donating, please bring your individual packages of frozen milk in larger freezer bags. We keep the milk separated by mother. If you have a large quantity, please give us a heads up through e mail so we can be ready. Thank you SO much!

 If you have any questions please feel free to e mail me at willow_moonspirit@yahoo.com.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jayden and Michael - Dec. 2010

By: The Milk Maid
Since the first donation drive, Jayden's, and her brother Michael's, health has continued to improve. Michael is truly thriving (he'll soon be bigger than Jayden) but she's become a pretty typical toddler in every way other than her continued inability to tolerate any sustenance other than breast milk. As you can see, she's a happy girl!
Michael (7 months) and Jayden (19 months) at the home of their adoptive parents Callie and Mark. Placement with their permanent family was finalized right before Christmas. What a wonderful gift for all of them!

Where It All Began

When I heard about Jayden's story I couldn't help but be moved and inspired to get involved. My own mother struggles with addiction and I had been through foster care and different types of juvenile homes. I could relate to Jayden, and I feel grateful that she has the people that she does in her life who instinctively did what was right for her. You see, Jayden survives on donated breast milk. You know the saying "It takes a village to raise a child"? Well, in this case it takes a village to save a life. 

This was taken from the Milk For Jayden website:
"Jayden was born cocaine and alcohol addicted, with congenital syphilis, at 31 weeks gestation. She had no skin on the palms of her hands or feet and had to have skin grafts. They could find no formula that Jayden could tolerate well, but settled on the one that she had the "least severe reaction to."

 When she was about eight weeks old, she was assigned a foster parent, who came to do kangaroo care with her for eight days before she took her home.  Jayden was completely blind and profoundly deaf, and would need to be accustomed to "mom's" smell and touch before they sent her home. When she went home, she was the most critical discharge they have ever had from that NICU, which routinely sees the sickest of babies.  Basically, with tears in their eyes, the nurses sent Jayden home to die. Jayden was insulin dependant (with critically unstable blood sugars, typically either below 60 or above 400), on oxygen 24 hours a day, and set off her apnea monitor 6-10 times a day. In order to set off a monitor, she would have to not breathe for many seconds at a time. She had gained and lost the same three ounces since birth, and was no more than four and a half pounds.
 Her foster mother asked over and over again of anybody who had authority why this baby couldn't be on breastmilk, shouldn't this baby be on breast milk, what did she have to do to get this baby on breastmilk? Over and over, she was basically told that this was a medicaid baby and that the state wouldn't PAY for banked milk (which costs a minimum of 4 dollars an ounce, and has been pasteurized) for a MEDICAID baby. Finally, one day, when Jayden was literally activly dying, an infectious disease doctor looked at her foster mom (who is a friend of mine because of foster work and doula work) and said, "I won't tell you NOT to give her breastmilk. We know that it would give her the best chance!" So, we got her some frozen breastmilk.

 With her first bottle of human milk, Jayden's blood sugar regulated.  She is typically somewhere around 120 now. Within the first three weeks, she regained her sight and hearing. Her new pediatrician says that when somebody is actively dying their brain will shut off all non-essential functions--and hearing and sight are non-essential functions. The first week on breastmilk she started to only set off her apnea monitor during the night's deepest sleep...and only then typically once a night. Within three weeks, they took it off of her completely, because she just didn't set it off any more. The first week she gained and KEPT ON four ounces. The next week three. The next week SEVEN.  At this point, the new pediatrician put her arms around the Foster Mom's shoulders and said, "If you hadn't given that baby human milk when you did, she would be dead today.  You are a hero."  Eight weeks later she had gained nearly four pounds. When she was nearly nine and a half months old she was eleven and a half pounds! We now have full cooperation with her new pediatrician and the state to give her donated human milk, no questions asked."
Acts such as these have always inspired me to continue to follow my instincts. It almost always pays off. It reminded me of the story of the mother who did skin to skin with her son who was born and then declared dead by the doctor. He came "back to life" through the power of skin to skin and then started breathing regularly when the mother put breastmilk on her fingertip and into the childs mouth. It's simply amazing what we as mothers are capable of. It truly never ceases to amaze me.
My first instinct when reading about Jayden was that I wanted to get involved and that the timing of an upcoming Breastfeeding Challenge seemed like the perfect chance to do it. So, I contacted my then boss Kelly of baby beloved, inc. to see if it would be OK to organize a milk drive for Jayden during the Challenge and she gave me the go ahead. I immediately began spreading the word. 
It was incredible to see the response to what I was doing from the community! I began getting e mails from multiple mothers who wanted to donate. Many had beautiful stories about how they had this extra milk they didn't know what else to do with. One mother who had a very large donation said that her baby was in the NICU and she had to pump the entire time and had this surplus of milk because of it. They lived in the U.P. and they were heading home with their healthy, happy and successfully breastfeeding baby so they were more than happy to be able to drop the milk off for baby Jayden. I was more than happy to take it off of their hands!
Finally the day of the Breastfeeding Challenge arrived and by the time I got there there was already a huge cooler full waiting for me. I can't even begin to tell you how proud I was to have coordinated such a successful milk drive for Jayden!! The amount of milk we got was astounding. We ended up with seven FULL coolers (one cooler being extra large) of milk to bring to Jayden! To watch the women of my community gather and give selflessly like this brought me close to tears more than once. It was very overwhelming. 
Bfc and JaydenAll of these women (and more!) donated - and I was glad that the woman on the bottom right brought hers in coolers (and yes - full of her milk!) that she was willing to let me borrow because there was absolutely no way we would have been able to fit it all otherwise. :)
IMG_6479There were even women pumping on site to donate for Jayden! We had 2 pumps set up and there was a line for them! It was so encouraging to watch how these mothers from all backgrounds came together and did everything they could to help. The power of the mother never ceases to amaze me.
The breastfeeding Challenge itself was also a hit with 30 babies latched on at 11:00AM - including Zander, Kiyra and I who were front and center!
Directly after the Challenge took place we hit the road packed to the brim with coolers full of Milk For Jayden, 2 moms, 2 babies and 1 eight year old girl. It was about a 2.5 hour drive to Lake Orion from Grand Rapids. It was fun though, but we did have our moments. We're moms, we expect that.
Getting there was great. To show up with THIS MUCH MILK was amazing.  
IMG_6485There was no way of counting how many ounces we ended up raising. It all happened way too fast at far too much volume. But, it's a LOT of milk.
IMG_6494This was one of three trays that we put in the freezer from ONE mom who pumped for ONE week. HOLY MOLY! Way to go, mama!
Got Milk?
IMG_6487You do now!
What a cutie! Look at that smiley boy...
IMG_6503We filled their freezer - plus two more they had at their house - and they STILL had to call in back up!! The back up called in is also currently caring for Jayden's brother and was at the time getting ready to take Jayden full time as they are also her adoptive parents. Her little brother also needs the milk, so it's good to know that they are getting what they need.
Jayden and I.
IMG_6501It's all worth it to help save baby Jayden's life!! It was amazing to be able to do this. To read about something like this, become determined to get involved and then get to sit down and play with the little girl who moved you to do it all. To watch as she played with my baby as any healthy, happy baby does. She is such an incredible little ball of joy. It was amazing to be one of the many women to help her on her journey. 
Bfc and Jayden1
Shortly after this I was contacted by Laura. She informed me that she went out to that side of the state usually twice or so per month and asked if I would be interested in trying to continue organizing drives for Jayden. I, of coarse, was delighted at the idea of continued support. One of the biggest goals I had in this was to raise awareness for Jayden so they could find even more milk for them. Being able to work with Laura and continue to provide support to this family has been such a fulfilling experience. Laura has turned out to be a great friend as well and I am SO thankful to her for making it possible to continue. Without her I would never be able to afford to continue to bring milk out there no matter how badly I may want to. 

Luckily we keep getting e mails and phone calls from women who are interested in donating. We haven't had to work very hard to find the milk, but we are working on some new dates for formal pick-ups on a monthly basis. Please be sure to e mail us or check out the listed dates and locations we have on top of the page (of there isn't anything listed - there are no dates scheduled currently - but please feel free to drop us a line). 

Thanks to all of the women who came and donated their precious milk - and a very special thank you to the babies who shared so nicely with Jayden. YOU made this amazing! Don't ever forget the example you have helped make of the power of mother and community. 
Also - if any of you who donated want to leave your name and a message for Jayden, please do. 
If you would like to donate or get involved - PLEASE, feel free to contact us by e mail at mothers.milky.way@gmail.com or if you are in a different part of Michigan - contact Courtenay @ grabowski4@comcast.net for details. They are always in need of more milk - so if you can help, please do!