Oregon Mom Has Donated a Staggering Amount of Breast Milk

Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra decided to put an unusual lactation disorder to good use
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2023 5:30 AM CDT
Oregon Woman Holds Record for Most Breast Milk Donated
Trays of breast milk sit in containers in a cooler at the Mothers' Milk Bank for distribution to babies.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A mother of three kids usually has her hands full, and 35-year-old Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra is no exception. But as the Guinness World Record holder for largest breast milk donation, she also spends much of her time attached to a breast pump. Based in Aloha, Oregon, Anderson-Sierra donated an astounding 1,600 liters of her breast milk between February 2015 and June 2018. That's equivalent to 800 2-liter bottles of Coke, and it's just part of what she's pumped over a nine-year period. She estimates she has donated 350,000 ounces of milk over the years, and that it's been used by premature babies in neonatal units worldwide. For anyone who finds her productivity amazing, Anderson-Sierra agrees. "The overall [total] kind of blows my mind," she tells KGW.

Her staggering output is the result of a condition called hyperlactation syndrome. "My body creates a significant amount of the hormone called prolactin, which drives milk production," Anderson-Sierra explains, per USA Today. Doctors told her a double mastectomy was likely her best treatment option; she elected instead to double down on production, using the disorder to her advantage. She says she spends as many as five hours a day pumping almost two gallons of milk. Over that nine-year period, she says she has spent 958 days pumping.

In an "as told to" essay for Insider, Anderson-Sierra elaborated on her motivations for putting her lactation disorder to good use, saying, "You can't donate blood when you're pregnant, and I wanted to help other mamas who'd given birth and were struggling to give their babies breast milk." But she admitted the commitment is tough enough to reconsider the possibility of getting a mastectomy, saying, "I feel like I've exhausted the other medical routes. It's hard to wrap my head around, though. If I do have the surgery, it will be a while after I've stopped nursing [her son] Benjamin. In the meantime, I'll keep donating my milk." (More breastfeeding stories.)

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