Hero of the Month: Joanna

I’ve mentioned the power of the love felt between NICU moms and all the babies in the NICU, but this mom, took that love to the next level.  Joanna shared her liquid gold (Breast Milk) with Owen when he needed it most and she wasn’t a mom with an overly plentiful supply.

Joanna’s son Isaiah was Owen’s next door neighbor on a couple different occasions and she and I kept a similar schedule to being at the hospital so we got to know each other and  our babies very well.  When Owen’s supply of breast milk ran out and he was switched to formula, she, like me, felt that it immediately changed Owen.  He was no longer comfortable, his bottom was being managed by wound care nurses because the open sores were so bad and his reflux took a dramatic turn for the worst.  I nearly immediately started my campaign to getting donor milk for Owen but Owen did the ultimate convincing by stopping breathing two days in a row while being fed.  After that, I would not let them feed Owen until they changed something about his diet.  Finally, a doctor agreed to put him back on the hospital’s supply of donor breast milk while he waited for his g-tube and nissen to prevent reflux.  However, once he had the surgery, the hospital couldn’t justify using the very expensive and limited supply of donor milk for Owen.  This is when Joanna stepped in and offered some of her supply.  It’s entirely out of typical protocol but the lactation consultant was on board to help and if you ever met me, you know I can be a huge thorn in the side if I want to be.  The three of us together made it work.  Joanna shared several bags of breast milk with Owen that got him through the rest of his hospital stay and then allowed me to slowly transition him onto formula which was much easier than a hard change on his digestive system.  I truly believe it helped Owen get home sooner, so I’m not sure there is a better type of hero than that.

Isaiah is 13 months old and never did breast feed, but Joanna has been dedicated to providing him with the nutrition that was best for him.  She exclusively  pumped for 13 months – six times a day for a half hour or more each time.  Her supply was never much more than Isaiah took but the little she had extra was shared with another baby who needed it.  She’s definitely an inspiration to mothers who struggle with pumping – it’s not easy, but all her work helped two babies.

A great friend to me and milk mom to Owen.

Joanna and Isaiah in the NICU


Joanna and Isaiah now – isn’t he cute?!



© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster

9 thoughts on “Hero of the Month: Joanna

  1. I am proud to call Joanna my friend. She is an amazing woman and mother and I am sooooo blessed to have her in my life.

  2. Now if only our boys would stay healthy at the same time long enough to get these milk brothers together for that playdate!! 😉

  3. What a wonderful friend! I had excess milk in the freezer at nicu that got binned when others could have used it. Wish donor milk available more widely. If only u had known I would have pushed to donate mine.
    I expressed for over 3 months when it became clear that due to.NEC she wasn’t going to tolerate it and was on predigested prescribed milk.

    • Nice to meet you Sam,
      Thanks for checking out the blog and leaving comments. I look forward to hear more of your thoughts in the future.

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