When she was a senior in high school, Katerina “Kaleena” Pysher found out she was pregnant. The teen from Anchorage, Alaska, knew that she would put the baby up for adoption.
According to Redbook, Kaleena had been awarded a scholarship to University of Alaska to study dental hygiene just a few months before. Then, a close family friend adopted Pysher's daughter after she was born in November of 2014.
In the days following the baby's birth, Kaleena learned about the importance of breast milk for newborns. That's when she decided to pump her breast milk, freeze it, and ship it to her daughter's adoptive parents, who lived out of state.
“Even throughout the night, I was getting up every two hours to pump for twenty minutes, and my supply did increase greatly.”
The Alaska Dispatch News reported that Kaleena Pysher sent the frozen milk in boxes marked “Fresh Seafood—Keep Refrigerated,” to make sure that it stayed frozen throughout the shipping process.
Her largest shipment of breast milk weighed 80 pounds.
Kaleena said that although her daughter is weaning off her breast milk, which makes her sad, her extra milk's being donated to a Colorado milk bank for babies in the neo-natal intensive care unit.
This incredible gift seems an unlikely one from a teenager. One might think that a primary reason a teen would give up a child for adoption would be to avoid too much change or challenge in her life. But Kaleena Pysher says it isn't about that.
“I'm not saying it's easy. It's definitely hard. But I'm doing this all out of love, because I want the best thing for my daughter.”
Donation of breast milk is nothing new; it dates back to antiquity. In the past century, however, it has evolved into a hi-tech practice, particularly with babies in NICUs.