Mom Sets World Record After Donating Over 422 Gallons of Breast Milk
For decades breast milk banks have been a lifeline for premature newborns and babies in need. During the 2022 formula shortage, the importance of milk banks became even more apparent as parents searched high and low for new ways to feed their babies. The work of these essential nonprofits would not be possible without the donations of mothers across the globe.
In some cases, supermoms like Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra, provide life-saving nutrition to babies they’ll never meet. And for Anderson-Sierra, it’s not just one or two children, the power pumper has touched thousands of lives with over 422 gallons of donated breast milk.
The Oregon mom of three was recently awarded the Guinness World Record for the largest donation of breastmilk by an individual. Between February 2015 and June 2018, Anderson-Sierra donated 1,599.68 liters of breast milk to various nonprofit milk banks.
The world record number represents a fraction of the milk Anderson-Sierra has donated over the past nine years. She estimates that she’s donated over 350,000 ounces or around 2,735 gallons of milk to local families and recipients worldwide who have been labeled as failure to thrive. “Being able to turn that around and [have] that label removed in so many different stories has just been everything to me,” she told Guinness World Records. “These are the things that I focus on. These are the positives and why I continue doing what I do.”
Anderson-Sierra has hyperlactation syndrome, a condition where breast milk overflow occurs because of increased milk production enabling her to produce and donate more breast milk than your typical breastfeeding or pumping mom.
A certified lactation consultant, Anderson-Sierra emphasizes that her pumping equipment also plays an important role in her ability to achieve this world record and give so much to so many. “When it comes to pumping, I call it ‘the dynamic duo’ - so have the correct flange size and have a 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 your journey.” A mobile pump from BabyBuddha has also been a game changer for Anderson-Sierra, who spends hours pumping each day and now isn’t forced to be tethered to a wall or bulky machine.
The world record holder is proud to have the experience and the influence to work with different breast pump companies to develop new technologies and support moms on their breastfeeding journeys. “I’m really hopeful that breaking this record and sharing my story will normalize milk sharing,” Anderson-Sierra noted.
If you’re considering donating breast milk, formal milk banking services like Human Milk Banking Association of North America exist to properly screen and store breast milk.