When Kristina Horner’s daughter was born with congenital heart defects, Kristina felt helpless in many ways. She couldn’t hold and comfort her baby as she wanted to. But, there was one thing she could do for her daughter: she could provide breast milk for her.
Kristina began to pump breast milk in hopes that Annika could receive the milk. While Annika was able to take some before she passed away at 48 days of age, she was not able to consume all that Kristina had produced. Not wanting her efforts or the milk she had produced for her precious daughter to be in vain, Kristina sought a way to use her milk.
“After Annika died, I had milk in the freezer at the hospital and the deep freeze at my house. Breast milk is liquid gold to a breastfeeding mother, and I couldn’t throw away all of this milk I had pumped for my baby. So, I got online and began looking into what I could do with it.”
She came across the Indiana Mother’s Milk Bank (IMMB) and knew she could bless other children with her milk. “Some people may find it awkward that another baby is receiving their breast milk, but there are so many benefits to breast milk that it just makes sense to share it with a baby in need.”
According to the IMMB‘s website, donor human milk can be prescribed for:
- Feeding/formula intolerance
- Immunologic deficiencies
- Post-operative nutrition
- Infectious diseases
- Inborn errors of metabolism
- Moms who cannot nurse their babies for medical reasons, but they want their baby to benefit from human milk
- Adoptive parents who want human milk instead of formula for their baby
For Kristina, donating her milk was a fitting tribute to her daughter and something that could help countless other babies. “It was important to me that another baby benefited from breast milk when my baby could not.”
In the end, Kristina donated a whopping 14 gallons of milk, turning tragedy into hope for others. “Donating helped me feel like a part of Annika (after all, it was made for her) was shared with others. When you’ve lost your baby, that’s all you want.”
Read Kristina’s story “When a Mom Must Say Goodbye” to learn more about Annika’s story.