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The Ultimate Gift: Cancer Survivors Neighbors Share Breast Milk to Help Feed Newborn

Breast milk

Breast milk does a baby good

You think about your pregnancy and your list of gripes might just be as long as your list of blessings: Love, joy, life — check, check, check. Swollen ankles, heartburn, food aversions — check, check, check.

But if you’re pregnant and have cancer, your gripe and blessing lists are likely much different. Particularly for one new mom in particular.

A woman in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, is a cancer survivor, having undergone a double mastectomy. And that means she can’t breastfeed her newborn son, Oliver. But not to worry: 25 of her neighbors have pumped and donated milk to Eva van Dok Pinkley’s cause.

“What they are doing, it’s not easy to do,” Pinkley told the New York Daily News. “I’m just stunned at the amount of trouble that they are going through for me. I think of them and what they have done and give thanks.”

Prior to Oliver’s birth, Pinkley had multiple miscarriages and two failed rounds of fertility treatments, so she had given up hope of having a baby naturally. But two months after having a double mastectomy, she got pregnant.

She knew she wanted her baby to receive breast milk, so she researched milk banks, milk donations, milk pasteurization and disease screening. And then she asked for donations at her yoga studio as well as through emails listservs and friends.

The group of women helping out are a mix of ongoing donors, one-off donors and other moms-to-be who have pledged milk if they can spare it when the time comes.

Would you take the time to donate your breast milk, and would you ever feed your baby donated breast milk?

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