Elizabeth Anderson-Sierra is a mother of two who has nurtured thousands of children — even helping to save the lives of premature babies.
This record was set by a native of Aloha, Oregon, USA One person’s largest breast milk donation By donating 1,599.68 liters (56,301.20 UK fl oz) to a milk bank between 20 February 2015 and 20 June 2018.
That’s the equivalent of 2,253 venti lattes at Starbucks or 800 2-liter bottles of Coke!
“This is just the amount of milk I donated to a milk bank between 2015 and 2018,” said Elizabeth.
All the breast milk provided to hundreds of families around the world is unaccounted for.
Over the past nine years, Elizabeth has donated more than 350,000 ounces of breast milk to local families and recipients around the world.
She donates to many recipients labeled as “failure to thrive.”
“To be able to change that (and remove that label in so many different stories) was just everything to me,” she said.
“These are the ones I focus on. These are the positives and why I keep doing what I do. ”
In one instance, Elizabeth was in Puerto Rico with her husband after Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017.
“My husband is Puerto Rican and we went to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria,” she said.
Of course, I was pumping when I got down there. We were there for over a week and as you can imagine, I collected a lot of breast milk.
But Elizabeth soon found a child.
Three-month-old Joaquin was born prematurely and lost his mother due to labor complications.
Joaquin did not thrive on formula, and his father bought breast milk from a milk bank in the States and shipped it to Puerto Rico.
“As you can imagine, that adds up to over $200 (£154.74) a day,” Elizabeth said.
“It was killing him knowing that it was not financially sustainable to keep his son alive.”
Joaquin immediately took Elizabeth’s breast milk, and she knew she had to do more to help.
“I got home and I could touch the father,” she said.
For the next year, I sent breast milk to Puerto Rico for baby Joaquin.
But what is the dedicated mom’s secret to producing so much breast milk?
Elizabeth has hyperlactation syndrome, a condition in which breast milk overflows due to increased milk production.
“My body produces a lot of the hormone prolactin, which drives milk production,” Elizabeth said.
However, that is not the only reason she is able to breastfeed so much.
“Your equipment is the most important part if you’re a pumping mom,” Elizabeth said.
The equipment you use as a pumping mom can really make a difference in your breastfeeding journey.
Elizabeth says that a used breast pump makes all the difference in her output.
“In terms of pumping, I call it the ‘Dynamic Duo’ – so have the right flange size and powerhouse pump,” she said.
“Pairing the right flange size and flange type or cup type with a powerhouse pump is going to do amazing things for your output and travel.”
In fact, Elizabeth works with a breast pump company to help make the breastfeeding journey easier for breastfeeding moms.
“I was able to take my experience as a pumping mom and work with a breast pump company to further improve technology to support moms on their breastfeeding journey,” she said.
The BabyBuddha pump changed my life and now it saves the lives of hundreds of mothers around the world.
The number of hyperlactations was devastating for Elizabeth, who found it difficult to hold her against a wall or stay still while pumping.
Using a mobile pump has changed her life, her entire perspective on what she does, how she can do it, and her journey.
Despite the inconvenience of having to pump regularly, Elizabeth is proud of what she can do for others.
Elizabeth says she won’t let the breast milk go to waste – it’s all either used or donated.
However, she eventually wants to stop pumping.
“There are two ways to try to reduce this production of prolactin. There are medical interventions that I need to look at and go ahead with to stop it,” Elizabeth said.
One of the options available to me is to use medication to combat the prolactin hormone my body is overproducing.
Another option Elizabeth explored with health care professionals was the possibility of a double mastectomy to remove all of the tissue in the breast-producing glands.
“By removing all that tissue, my body won’t produce as much breast milk,” she said.
“There won’t be more milk ducts, but there’s still the possibility of developing extra breast tissue because of the hormones going through my body.”
However, that time has not yet come.
In the meantime, Elizabeth intends to keep pumping and says she never thought she would win a Guinness World Record title and is humbled to be a record holder.
I really hope that breaking this record and sharing my story will make milk sharing normal.
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