A North Texas mom recently set a Guinness World Record for the amount of breast milk she donated to help premature babies.
Over a span of nine months, Alicia Richman donated 11,115 ounces, or about 86 gallons, of her milk to the Mother's Milk Bank of North Texas.
The young mother said when her son Drake came into the world 19 months ago she had no idea she'd literally become a milk maid.
"It was pretty much right out of the gate. I had plenty," she said.
Richman said she would feed her son and then pump more and more and more. She didn't do anything special. She just happened to be in an elite group of women who can produce a lot of milk.
Soon it became a running joke in her family.
"The funniest part would be you'd have two containers, I would always have to have more on the side and be yelling across the bed at my husband, 'Bring me another.' Trying to unhook, I felt like I had milk everywhere," she said.
She pumped at home, at work, in the car and on vacation.
"I joked I was a dairy cow. That's how I felt," she said.
Between June of last year and March of this year she filled three freezers worth of bagged milk and decided to donate it.
The Mother's Milk Bank of North Texas is the only facility in the area providing breast milk to neonatal intensive care units in 20 local hospitals and nine states.
"Some moms of premature babies, even through all of their own efforts, cannot provide milk for their baby," said Amy Vickers, a spokeswoman for the milk bank.
All donors are screened and their milk is tested several times before it is delivered to the hospitals.
In many cases where the baby weighs less than 3 pounds, that milk is the only nutrition it gets.
"There is no substitute for it," Vickers said.
Richman is no longer breastfeeding her son so her donations have stopped. But because one ounce can provide three feedings for a preemie, her record-setting contribution has gone a long way.
"I felt like I really got to make my mark in life and make a difference and I was able to do that with this," she said.
She beat the previous record of 7,000 ounces. However, the milk bank believes there is another mother who isn't interested in contacting Guinness who may have surpassed both.
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