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
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 email@example.com.
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!
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."
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.
All 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. :)
There 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.
There 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.
This 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!
You do now!
What a cutie! Look at that smiley boy...
We 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.
It'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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or if you are in a different part of Michigan - contact Courtenay @ email@example.com for details. They are always in need of more milk - so if you can help, please do!