From being a mom of two to becoming a "milk goddess" for hundreds of people, this woman has had an interesting few years.
Many people think it's important to give back to the community but they don't know how to. However, a mother-of-two from Oregon has found an ingenious way to help people locally and nationwide. She was diagnosed with hyper lactation after her second pregnancy and she uses her condition to use by donating her breast milk to families in need.
Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra had the idea about donating her extra milk full-time after she couldn't breastfeed her second daughter Sophia when she was born at 37 weeks after a 30-hour labor. "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," said the mom-of-two to People in July 2017.
Due to hyper lactation syndrome, her body produces an average of 1.7 gallons of milk while her then six-month-old baby drank only 20-28 ounces of milk a day. Since making that choice, she donated more than 600 gallons of milk. While she sees it as a "way of life," it is no easy job as she has to spend up to 10 hours a day not only pumping milk but also packing it for supply. She works with milk banks across the country, who pick up and deliver her produce.
She’s been called a "super-producer," "pumping queen" and even a "milk goddess," according to Whattoexpect.
"I definitely feel good about being able to help people, but I also think it’s kinda ingrained in who I am," the 31-year-old mom had said. She has donated her blood for years because it a rare type so when she was making extra milk, it seemed natural for her to donate that too.
"I've been donating for more than two years now," she said in July 2017.
Half of the milk her body makes goes to hospitals which give it to micro-preemies, or babies who are born weighing less than 1 pound, 12 ounces, or who are born before 26 weeks, she told Whattoexpect.
While the mom-of-two said that she gets paid a dollar for a gallon, it is not enough to break even because of the cost of buying supplies to pump, sanitize and freeze the milk, according to Parents.com. However, she doesn't do it for the money. She does it give back to the community.
"This is my way of being active in my community and giving back to humanity, and so it's my labor of love," she said. She began donating her breast milk locally in 2014 when her first daughter Isabella was born but after Sophia's birth, she decided that she can help a lot more people. It is this labor of love that makes her pump almost five hours a day and the rest of the time goes into checking if it is stored well.
While the time devoted to this project doesn't stop her from doing other things, it has become a "hiccup". However, the mother said that her husband, David Sierra, 52, a retired U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer and current public safety officer, is supportive of her decision to donate.
"If everybody had this kind of mentality, the world would be a better place," she said. "I feel like I am doing my part, one ounce at a time," said the milk goddess.