March 21, 2014 at 10:51 AM ET
Amelia Boomker is a mom of four who has nourished thousands of children, even as she had trouble breast-feeding her own.
Boomker has just set the Guinness World Record for breast milk donation by giving 16,321 fluid ounces of milk, more than 127 gallons, to the Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank in Indianapolis between 2008 and 2013.
That’s the breast milk equivalent of 816 Venti lattes at Starbucks or 241 2-liter bottles of Coke, the milk bank has calculated, calling it a rare feat.
Boomker, who lives in Bolingbrook, Ill., said she’s proud she’s been able produce plenty of milk for her kids, and have plenty to share.
“We joke that there was probably a wet nurse somewhere in the family tree,” Boomker, 36, told TODAY Moms.
“I hope that the record continues to get beaten because frankly that means much more milk is getting donated.”
She’s actually broken that record already – unofficially – since she previously donated 7,000 ounces to another milk bank, though that donation wasn’t documented.
For all of that abundance, Boomker was never able to successfully breast-feed her own four boys. Her oldest son Danny was born with a heart condition nine years ago and had to be tube-fed, so she spent lots of time in the hospital’s lactation room to provide milk.
Liam, 6, had a high palate and couldn’t latch. Ryan, 4, never took to breastfeeding, while Connor, who is 18 months old, was only able to do it for a few weeks.
Boomker pumped after each pregnancy to ensure the boys were fed with her breast milk and she donated any excess. She’s planned her life around pumping and said consistency is the key to keep her supply up.
Experts are in awe. The Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank approves some 500 moms for donation each year and only about 1 percent of them are as skilled as Boomker, said spokeswoman Carissa Hawkins.
“Our goal is for our moms to be pumping in a healthy manner. So it’s not as though we encourage moms to pump an excess amount of milk to go for something like the world record,” Hawkins noted.
“It just so happens that Amelia — she has some pumping skills… it’s just insane.”
Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank provides pasteurized donor human milk by prescription or physician order to hospitals throughout the Midwest, with priority given to premature and ill infants in neonatal intensive care units. The milk is processed and dispensed according to guidelines established by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.
Boomker’s collective donation translates into 4,000 milk bottles, helping save lives and feeding thousands of children, Hawkins said.
Meanwhile, Boomker — who is an IT professional — credits her employer’s flexibility and understanding for the continued donations. She’s been able to work while pumping in a lactation room, she said, and continues to express milk three times a day for her youngest son.
The previous Guinness World Record holders for breast milk donation were Karen Merheb of Dallas, Texas, who gave more than 14,200 ounces and Alicia Richman of Granbury, Texas, who donated 11,115 ounces.