When Alyse Ogletree first started donating breast milk, she just wanted to do something good. The North Texas woman never expected it would lead her to likely become a world record holder.
"At that time I had no idea there was even a record out there,” said the Denton mother of two.
However, she’s now just a few steps away from that title.
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Ogletree has donated 53,081 ounces of breast milk and is applying to the Guinness Book of World Records to officially be named the record holder.
The current holder, Amelia Boomker of Illinois, made the record book by donating 16,321 ounces to an Indiana donation center.
The Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, which receives Ogletree's donations, said she should easily triple that number with her donations to them; a total of more than 414 gallons of breast milk.
"I was over-producing,” Ogletree explained.
She first made the realization about four years ago when her son Kyle was born. Ogletree said while she was in the hospital, her son wasn’t taking breast milk. But she was still producing way too much; filling the hospital’s reserves, she said.
"One of the male nurses asked me if I'd ever considered donating and I was like, 'What is that?'" she said.
That’s when she found the Fort Worth clinic, which was more than happy to take her extra milk.
After the birth of Kyle Ogletree, she donated 1,880 ounces.
When she became pregnant with her second baby, Kage, Ogletree said donating again was a no brainer; though she had no idea how much she’d produce.
"I ended up producing on average about 130 (ounces) per day," she said.
Producing the milk almost became a full time job in itself for the mom, who said it was taxing on her.
Ogletree’s husband Lance said there’d be times she’d be in and out of bed all night having to pump.
"Sometimes we wouldn't be able to send it off quick enough, so we'd have our deep freeze in the garage with probably an entire shelf full,” he said.
Alyse Ogletree said she enjoys being able to produce the milk for a good cause. Between drinking a lot of water and pumping regularly she believes her body just became willing to produce so much.
Simone Summerlin of the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas said Ogletree donated more than 51,000 ounces after giving birth to Kage, up to when she stopped producing in recent weeks.
At this point Ogletree is still in the application process. She said Guinness will have to approve all of her records with the donation clinic in order for the record to be officially named to her.
As a competitive person, Alyse said she’s excited to shatter the record and hopefully be given the title. But she said the real pleasure is the good that comes from the cause.
The Office of Women's Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services encourages breastfeeding for health benefits for mothers and babies, cost saving, and other benefits.
Donated breast milk is often used for mothers that cannot produce enough milk for their children. Additionally, for very young children, breast milk has medically proven benefits over a variety of suppliments.
The Mother's Milk Bank of North Texas, where Ogletree donates, said donated milk is processed and screened for bacteria, then frozen until it is ordered by a physician.
"It takes a lot to raise a family and there are women out there that are not able to produce milk,” Ogletree said.
Ogletree said she encourages more moms to try their hand at the record and help raise more donations and awareness around the cause.
“It's wonderful to be a part of something as special as helping out little babies,” she said.
Before Boomker, the previous record holders were Karen Merheb of Dallas with more than 14,200 ounces, preceded by Alicia Richman, also a North Texan from Granbury, who donated 11,115 ounces.
Ogletree said it will be nice to bring the record back to North Texas.