It only took one message for Karel Marquez Fariñas to donate her excess breast milk to another mom in need. The actress gave her breast milk to her friend, businesswoman Cesca Rivas, for the latter's preemie son, Liam.
“I have only about 42 bags of 150 to 250ml [of] frozen breastmilk that can last for a few days if I don’t nurse at all, but I know Kobe will be more than happy to share mama’s breastmilk, to make another baby stronger!” Karel wrote on Instagram last August 18, 2019.
“I am more than happy to donate some of my recent stash (July 2019 stored) for a good friend of mine whose baby is in the hospital for about two weeks, and was born at 35 weeks,” she said. Out of the 42, Karel donated nine full bags of breast milk.
Her friend, Cesca, gave birth to baby Liam prematurely at just 35 weeks on August 14, 2019. She was recently discharged from the hospital, but her baby had to stay on for two more weeks. Cesca has not produced enough breast milk for Liam's needs, and milk banks are closed on weekends.
“One message to Karel and she didn’t hesitate to share her milk stash with us. Thank you, love. We’re forever grateful,” Cesca wrote.
“I’m happy knowing lang that it can help Liam get stronger while you both recover. That’s all that matters to me.” Karel replied via Instagram Stories. She also sent virtual hugs and wished Cesca and Liam to get better so they can plan a playdate soon.
Karel has been sharing her tips on breastfeeding and breast milk storage. Her son Kobe, who was born on June 19, 2019, turned two months old today! The dedicated nursing mama has not used a breast pump to date. She collects her liquid gold via a Haakaa pump on one breast, while Kobe latches on the other.
The breast milk Karel donated to her friend came from her “deep freeze” stash. That’s breast milk stored on a chest freezer, which can last for about six to 12 months. Before putting breast milk into deep freeze, Karel lets it sit in the chiller overnight or until the hindmilk and foremilk separate. The mom of three packs together six breast milk bags – labeled by date, of course – before putting them in the chest freezer.
When getting breast milk from any type of storage, the rule is “first in, first out,” which is why labeling each bag of milk by date is crucial. When it’s time to use the breast milk from a deep freeze, Karel suggests to swirl – not shake! – until the breast milk is thoroughly combined.
“What I do with the bottle is to swirl and swirl (and swirl.. and swirl) it around gently until the milk fat combined,” Karel suggests. “And if there’s one more stubborn milk stuck, another trick is I make the bottle go upside down, and it usually finishes the job. Then a little swirl again and that’s it,” she added.
Karel does not shake breast milk vigorously as he believes it “can denature them since the milk fat/proteins are delicate.” “Patience is key here, too, and it can actually work doing all these combined,” she said.