Mother of three who can't stop producing breast milk breaks Guinness World Record

This mother can't stop producing breast milk because of an unusual condition. Find out how she sees the positives in her situation.

Guiness World Record Breast milk
© Screenshot from KIDS / Miramax
Guiness World Record Breast milk

Breastfeeding can be a source of confusion and controversy. This shouldn’t be the case, but mothers are often judged on their choices when it comes to feeding in public, or choosing between breast and bottle. If you are currently having this debate with yourself, we have an article that tells you everything you need to know.

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One American mother has recently broken the Guinness World Record for the amount of donated by an individual. Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra, has donated 1,599.68 litres of breast milk so far… and she’s still going.

Anderson-Sierra’s unusual condition

Anderson-Sierra had her first baby eight years ago, and has been living in a body that oversupplies breast milk ever since. This rare medical condition is called hyperlactation, where the body produces an oversupply of milk that is above the baby’s needs.

This is not to be confused with breast engorgement, which happens when your breasts are too full of milk, causing them to become hard and painful. The difference is that engorgement goes away while hyperlactation is ongoing.

Anderson-Sierra spoke to People about her diagnosis:

I was first officially diagnosed in the spring of 2015, but I started displaying signs and symptoms of hyperlactation syndrome in the summer of 2014 during the pregnancy of my firstborn… It was a lot to get a handle on. Not only was I a brand-new mom, but I also needed to learn how to use breast pumps and find a pumping schedule.

The cost of this condition

Anderson-Sierra explained to People that having a portable pump has made a massive difference to her life as she can go on outings with her family and continue to pump milk:

I haven't pumped on a roller coaster yet, but short of that there's nothing I can't do. I've pumped on a family trip to Disney World and I've pumped during live concerts and in the movie theater, because I want to see things in the theater, too.

That being said, she explains that her insurance only covers a certain amount of the equipment needed and, because she needs to sterilize and switch pumps and store her milk, she has had to buy a lot of it herself. Similarly, she compares her eating to that of a teenage boy, stating that she could ‘100 percent challenge them to an eating contest because feeding moms can go through so much’.

If you factor in the supplements, freezers for storage, and electricity bill, Anderson-Sierra says ‘it can cost hundreds, if not a thousand more per month to have this medical condition’.

Read more: Breastfeeding: What happens when your baby favours one breast over the other?

How does Anderson-Sierra manage this condition?

Anderson-Sierra's children have grown up with their mother pumping - they are used to it. If she hasn’t eaten enough, she is at risk of fainting, but her kids know what to do if that sort of thing happens.

Anderson-Sierra had always donated blood, but you aren’t allowed to when pregnant. She first learnt about donating milk while she was carrying her first child. She says she has always ‘appreciated and enjoyed being able to give back to the community and participate in the community’.

She started off with a local birthing centre, then started giving her milk to a milk bank that supports preemies, premature babies who are very small and often need special medical care.

Is this condition curable?

Anderson-Sierra explains that she has tried several medical methods to reduce her milk supply, which is caused by a high amount of prolactin in her body - the hormone that should regulate lactation. So far, nothing has worked for the American mother. She thinks she will have to get a double mastectomy, and will consider doing so when her youngest, who is 7 months old, stops nursing.

Overall, she manages to see the positives in her situation. She encourages mothers to be kind to themselves, regardless of whether their breast milk production is going smoothly. She does, however, explain that some mothers struggling to produce enough milk may see this story and think it would be great to have this condition. If you are reading this and thinking ‘I wish I was like her’, Anderson-Sierra reassures you that you ‘really really, really, really don’t’.

Read more:

Here's what happens to breast implants after death, according to an expert

Sarah Ferguson had breast cancer surgery, here’s how she’s doing now

Sources used:

People: Mum breaks Guinness World Record because of this unusual condition

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