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The City Journals

Herriman mom shares 5,500 ounces of liquid gold

Sep 27, 2021 11:59AM ● By Karmel Harper

Kim Jenson stays hydrated to maintain a strong milk supply for 6 babies. 

By Karmel Harper | [email protected]

When Herriman’s Kim Jenson gave birth to her first child, Alora, on Aug. 25, 2019, breastfeeding her was extremely challenging. Alora was born with a level 3 lip tie, a condition when a piece of tissue that connects the upper lip to the upper gum is so thick that it causes functional problems in a child’s mouth - particularly issues with breastfeeding. Due to restricted mobility, the infant struggles with properly latching on her mother’s breast causing the mom pain and cracking. Even though breastfeeding is natural, it can be extremely challenging for mothers and babies due to a variety of reasons such as medical issues for mother or infant, milk-supply constraints, and latching-on difficulties. If you combine these with a new mother’s recovering body, sleep deprivation, exhaustion, caring for other children, and perhaps an eventual return to work outside the home, it is understandable when parents need to bottle feed their babies either with pumped breast milk, formula, or a mixture of both. 

Despite the challenges and frustration Jenson experienced the first few months of Alora’s life, she did not give up on providing her baby breast milk exclusively, which the American Academy of Pediatrics said “protects against a variety of diseases and conditions.” When a mother gives birth, her full supply of milk does not come in until about several days postpartum. Jenson’s came in on day three - and it came in strong. Due to Alora’s difficulty latching on correctly, Jenson had to pump her milk and supplement her breastfeeding sessions with bottle feeding. It quickly became apparent that Jenson was producing more than enough milk to feed her baby. By the time Alora was two weeks old, Jenson’s freezer was packed full of nearly 400 ounces of nutrient rich breast milk or as some like to call it, “liquid gold.” As Jenson became aware of new mothers in her social circles who had been experiencing difficulties with feeding their babies, she began donating her supply. Jenson said, “A family friend’s supply dried up and her baby wasn’t doing well with formula. I donated to her until her baby was almost a year old.” When other mothers visited the Jensons and the topic of breastfeeding came up, she would open up her freezer and offer breast milk to those that needed it. Some mothers took 50 – 60 ounces. Others took 200 – 300 ounces. Of the 5 mothers that Jenson donated to, two of them were strangers - women who Jenson never met but were friends of relatives. Jenson’s husband, Kaden, said, “People were so grateful for Kim’s generosity and understanding of their struggles. I loved seeing her eyes light up when other mothers received her breast milk, knowing that she was helping a fellow mom get the best nutrition for her baby.”

Jenson said, “Pumping and maintaining such a supply became almost a full-time job. I HAD to pump 30-40 minutes every three hours. Once my baby started sleeping through the night, I thought my body and supply would adjust but it never did. Each morning I woke up in pain from going the whole night not pumping. But knowing this milk was feeding not only my baby but others made it so worth it. While I never had to understand the stress of not being able to produce enough milk, just the thought of having to feel that was more than enough for me to want to share as much as I could.”

Jenson estimates that she pumped about 5,500 ounces of breast milk until Alora turned one. Jenson said, “It was a bittersweet ending but boy was I happy to have my time and my body back.” Jenson plans to be an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She is currently expecting her second baby to arrive in February 2022. If her milk supply is just as productive as it was with Alora, Jenson plans to donate again.