Jenny Kan says her biggest joy in life was giving birth to her daughter. She had intended to breastfeed, but things didn’t go as smoothly as planned.
“Breastfeeding became a real challenge for me when she couldn’t latch,” Jenny recalls. “But, as her mom, I wanted to provide her with the best nutrients possible.”
She decided she would pump and bottle feed the milk to her baby instead. But it wasn’t always easy.
“I was pumping multiple times day and night, despite being sleep-deprived and suffering from breast pain on numerous occasions,” says Jenny.
Jenny kept at it though and was able to feed her baby her breast milk for one full year. As a result of her diligent pumping, she built up a tremendous milk supply. That’s when she decided to donate her milk.
“I feel that breast milk is precious and powerful. I donated my milk in the hopes to offer a few precious little souls that extra push to overcome the unexpected twists and turns that can happen during or after birth.”
After donating her first batch to the BC Women’s Hospital, Jenny was told her milk would be distributed to babies in need across the province. “I felt like, I’m just an ordinary mother, but I can make a difference.”
It was just the motivation she needed to keep going and on February 25, 2018 Jenny dropped off the largest single donation of breast milk the North Delta Public Health Unit has ever received – 34,392 millilitres – the equivalent of nearly nine 4-litre milk jugs.
“Jenny’s donation will help a lot of babies,” says North Delta Public Health Nurse Sue Ellis. “The part that strikes me is how Jenny describes herself as an ordinary mother – she is far from ordinary!”
Sue explains that donating breast milk requires some paperwork and having a blood test, but that most donors say the process isn’t too time-consuming and they feel good about being able to help babies in need.
“Pasteurized donor human milk is a great option for vulnerable babies when mom’s milk is not available,” says Sue. “And we’re always in need of donors.”
Jenny says her ultimate goal is for her daughter to grow up and be proud of her. She wants her daughter to know that anyone can make a difference, no matter how ordinary they may feel, “All it takes is determination and perseverance,” says Jenny.