I am finishing up my pediatric residency and know that there is nothing else in the entire world to replace breastmilk. I was so sure that I would be breastfeeding my son and had all the accessories ready before my son was born. After his birth, we found that he had a cleft in his soft palate which made it impossible for him to breastfeed. I started pumping in the next few hours but had no milk. My son have to be on formula given through a special feeder. I kept on pumping every three hours for the next 4 days and then milk started coming! I would keep an alarm every 3 hours throughout the day and night and pump, and by the 15th day, I was already freezing milk. My son is still exclusively breastfed and I am continuing to have a good milk supply with fewer pumping sessions per day.
I don't know if I will continue to make milk until my son has his cleft surgery at the age of 10 months. I might never breastfeed him, but I feel so proud that I have been able to give him all the goodness of breastmilk in a bottle. I heard about the milk bank during my NICU rotation in residency and am more than happy to do whatever I can to help those premature babies.