Amelia Boomker of Bolingbrook, Ill. recently set the Guinness World Record for the most breast milk ever donated.
Amelia, a 36-year-old mother of four, has donated 16,321 ounces of breast milk to the Indiana Mother’s Milk Bank in the past seven years – an amount roughly equivalent to 241 two-liter soda bottles. The record-setting donation does not include the 7,000 ounces she donated to a breast milk bank in North Carolina after her first son, Daniel, was born nine years ago – or the milk she fed to her own children, who each drank breast milk exclusively for more than a year.
Despite her impressive donations, Amelia doesn’t consider herself particularly successful at breastfeeding; she’s more of a pumper.
“I have never really successfully breastfed, but I have produced a whole lot of milk,” she told The Indianapolis Star.
Amelia’s penchant for pumping was the product of necessity. Her first son was born with a heart condition that required multiple surgeries that began just days after his birth. Doctors told her that breast milk might help speed Daniel’s recoveries, but he was too weak to latch, so she began pumping to provide him with the nutrient-rich breast milk he so desperately needed.
It wasn’t long before Amelia was making regular donations to a breast milk bank in the hopes of helping mothers who are unable to breastfeed provide beneficial breast milk to their sick or premature infants. Breast milk is considered the most complete form of nutrition for infants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and offers a wide range of benefits, including improved immunity to disease and allergies.
Amelia continued to pump for her other three sons. The second son, Liam, had a high palate that made breastfeeding difficult, and while recovering from a C-section birth with her third son, Ryan, it turned out that pumping was just a lot more comfortable for her than breastfeeding. She tried breastfeeding again with her youngest, Connor, but found that he preferred to use a bottle.
With each child, Amelia followed an exhausting pumping schedule – pumping for approximately 20 minutes up to 10 times a day and every few hours throughout the night. Once she returned to work in her corporate IT job, she continued to pump as many as eight times each day. Her office was supportive of her efforts, accommodating her pumping schedule by allowing her to take conference calls from the lactation room.
After pumping more than enough breast milk to feed her sons, Amelia would donate the surplus, first by mail and, once the Indiana Mother’s Milk Bank opened, by dropping her donations off at a designated collection point. Indiana Mother’s Milk Bank collection points ship donations to the bank’s Indianapolis facility where they’re pasteurized, processed and distributed throughout the Midwest.
In addition to four beautiful children, Amelia also has a certificate to celebrate her efforts – one that she’s been excitedly showing off to her coworkers.
“I went into work and showed the people this is why I have been sitting in the pump room for all those hours,” she told The Indianapolis Star.
Although she is not currently donating breast milk, due to a diminished supply, Amelia hopes her story will encourage other women to consider breast milk donation.