An Omaha, Nebraska, mother donated a record quantity of breast milk during a 10-month period when her son was in the hospital (video below).
Leo Frandsen died suddenly at the age of 10 months in October 2015, after being diagnosed with gastroschisis, media reports said.
This is a condition where there is no skin to cover the organs.
Leo could not be given large quantities of milk because of his condition, so his mother, Demi, donated the milk he couldn’t have for other babies.
“My final donation was 17,503 ounces...which is 131 gallons. So, a dairy aisle, basically,” Demi told WOWT.
She pumped milk every three hours to donate, saying that she wanted other babies being cared for on the NICU to benefit.
“With all that was going on in her life she found it in her heart to give to other babies,” consultant Tammi Martin said.
Martin spoke about those who benefited from Frandsen’s generosity.
“For our babies that are very small, for our sickest, tiniest babies whose mothers can't provide the milk they need,” Martin told WOWT. “We talk about all the good, positive qualities of breast milk that formula doesn't have and our smallest babies need those antibodies, those protective factors and growth factors.”
Even though Leo was constantly hooked up to machinery during the 10 months of his life, Demi remained positive.
“He was worth it. He was worth all of this. His life in 10 months was the best 10 months of mine,” she said.
The family did have some brief happy moments, such as when Leo was allowed outside for the first time, when he learned the sign for mommy and got to bond with his brother.
After being sterilized, much of Demi’s donated milk ended up back on the same NICU helping to feed other babies.
“I pumped every single ounce for him,” Frandsen told Babble. “He is the reason for all of this. But if he couldn’t have it, I’m so grateful that other babies like him could benefit from it. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my Leo, and I know other moms feel that desperate love as well.”