Once a Preemie, Now a NICU Nurse and Milk Donor

Once a Preemie, Now a NICU Nurse and Milk Donor

JennyArmstrong

Jenny with her one year old son, Greyson.

From being a preemie herself, to NICU nurse, to milk donor – Alabama mom, Jenny Armstrong, comes full circle by helping vulnerable babies.

Jenny Armstrong, an identical twin, was born prematurely in December 1985.  She was admitted, along with her twin, to the NICU at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with breathing complications.  She explains, “We had to be on the ventilator with bilateral chest tubes because our lungs were stiff and wouldn’t open up. The ventilator’s high settings caused us to have pneumothorax in both our lungs.”

Jenny’s medical history as a preemie ended up having a huge influence on her career and her lifelong dream to work with babies.  After nursing school, Jenny worked in the very same hospital for the doctor who saved her life.  She adds, “I was so honored and privileged to work with him for 6 years before he retired.”  Amazingly, Jenny is still working in the same NICU where she recovered as an infant.

Jenny Armstrong2

Greyson, supervising a milk shipment.

After Jenny gave birth to her son, Greyson, in December 2013, she says, “I am now able to help premature babies with the extra milk I have been blessed with.”  Before her experience with a milk bank, Jenny donated first to a baby with significant health issues including a milk allergy, Down Syndrome and heart surgeries.  That baby no longer needs her milk, so she contacted Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas.  Jenny has now donated 2 deep freezers worth of milk and can be rest assured, her generous gift has helped babies like the preemie she once was herself.

For more information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, visit our website.

 

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New Milk Depot in South Fort Worth

New Milk Depot in South Fort Worth

Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas Opens 38th Donor Milk Collection Site at Texas Health Huguley Hospital Fort Worth South

Brigitte and Ragan

Ragan and Brigitte, lactation consultants, in the depot area at Texas Health Huguley Hospital

Collecting donor milk for pasteurization at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) is accomplished in many ways; most commonly through collection sites called milk “depots”. A 38th depot site is now equipped with a freezer on the first floor Labor and Delivery unit of Texas Health Huguley Hospital Fort Worth South located at 11801 South Freeway (I-35W) in Burleson. Milk donations will be accepted at any women’s service care desk from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

“Having multiple depot sites is all about establishing safe and convenient locations for donors to drop off milk,” said Amy Vickers, Executive Director of MMBNT.

Donor milk is transported to MMBNT, logged into a sophisticated bar code system and is then pasteurized and tested for bacteria before it is packaged and dispensed to premature and critically ill infants. Processed milk serves babies with the greatest medical need, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. MMBNT dispensed over 45,000 ounces in December and almost half a million ounces in 2014.

Travis on his first day in the NICUBrigitte Ratliff, RN, IBCLC, a lactation consultant for Texas Health Huguley says, “We are thrilled to offer a location in south Fort Worth for the generous moms who donate their extra milk to help save lives.” She adds, “Mothers will be more likely to become donors if they are educated about the easy process and the convenience of a local donation site.”

For more information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, more depot locations or about how to become a milk donor, visit our website.

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2014 – A Year in the Life of a Milk Bank

2014 – A Year in the Life of a Milk Bank

Table of Donors

Donor Moms at the 10 Year Anniversary Luncheon

Like the babies we serve, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas continues to grow and thrive.  The success of 2014 certainly reflects the critical and continuous need for pasteurized donor human milk.  However, many more factors must come together to help babies in need:

  • Our amazing donor mothers who share the extra milk their own babies don’t need and subsequently, save lives!  We are always in awe of these generous women who pump, label, freeze and repeat.  It isn’t easy.  It’s selfless and beyond words.
  • Our invaluable lab technicians who carefully, painstakingly and methodically process donor milk, making sure it is perfect and safe and ready for shipment.
  • Milk Bank LabOur dedicated staff who monitor the flow of milk from beginning to end.  They unpack, input, document, evaluate, manage, organize, monitor, inspect, pack, ship, clean, deliver, create, answer phones, tour, educate and appreciate.

We see our mission in motion each day.  Strolling by our lab window, we are reminded of the tiny lives who depend on us.  It warms the heart and motivates us to improve, tweak, reach out, and be better, superior and exceptional.  At MMBNT, we are looking forward to another year of that magical white stuff.Video Goodson - donor milk

2014 – Our Year in Review

654 approved milk donors
441,295 ounces processed and dispensed
100 hospitals utilizing our donor milk
8 new milk depots/collection sites
43,139 minivan miles picking up and delivering milk

For more information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, please visit our website.

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Guidelines for Handling Breastmilk

Guidelines for Handling Breastmilk

_MG_2242At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we get a lot of questions from moms about how to safely handle and store pumped breastmilk. Today’s blog outlines general guidelines, however milk can still be donated most of the time if these techniques are not followed exactly.

 

Hygiene & Pumping

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling pump or pump parts.
  • Gently wipe nipples and breast with a clean, damp washcloth before pumping.
  • Express or pump your milk into a sterile container.
  • Clean your pump after use. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for proper cleaning techniques.
Raven shows off a bag of liquid gold

Raven shows off a bag of liquid gold

Containers

  • Clean, dry, food-grade hard plastic, glass containers or plastic milk storage bags are all acceptable for collecting and storing breastmilk.
  • MMBNT will provide donors with milk bags or containers when requested.
  • Because milk expands with freezing, fill containers ¾ full.

Storage

  • Mark the expression date on the container with permanent marker so that the oldest milk can be used first.
  • If milk is collected while taking medication, make note of the medication on each container, or contact MMBNT with exact dates of medication use.
  • The shelf in the door of a refrigerator or freezer is not recommended for milk storage because of the temperature variations when opened and closed.
  • Stack milk collection bags flat for efficient storage.
  • Refrigerate or freeze your milk within 30 minutes of pumping.
  • You may refrigerate your milk for up to 24 hours before freezing.
  • More than one pumping session can be combined together, as long as it is frozen within the initial 24 hour time period. Milk should be the same temperature when combining (do not add freshly pumped body-temperature milk to refrigerated milk).

Shipping Milk - Sandra McGee - Henry 1Milk Temperatures & Safety

Milk at Room Temperature-Freshly expressed milk is safe at room temperature (60-85F) for 4 to 6 hours.

Refrigerated Milk-Refrigerated milk should be frozen within 24 hours.

Frozen Milk-Breastmilk can be frozen for up to 12 months. A freezer that keeps ice cream hard   is adequately cold for storage.

For more information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas or becoming a milk donor, visit our website.

 

 

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It’s a New Year, Help a New Life

It’s a New Year, Help a New Life

th-6With the holidays winding down, many moms find their freezers overflowing with old casseroles, various items covered in freezer burn, unidentifiable containers and sometimes . . . a very valuable stash of extra breastmilk.  With a fresh new year upon us, now is a perfect time to consider becoming a breastmilk donor.

Kris HerwigUSA.gov has posted the following top ten New Year’s resolutions for 2015:

  1. lose weight
  2. volunteer to help others
  3. quit smoking
  4. get a better education
  5. get a better job
  6. save money
  7. get fit
  8. eat healthy food
  9. manage stress
  10. manage debt

Debbie Quila's milk and Harper KateMany mothers find breastfeeding is helpful with #1, losing weight.  However, becoming a milk donor has the added benefit of #2, volunteering to help others.  So, if your freezer is overflowing with milk your baby doesn’t need, and you would like to help premature and critically ill infants, consider milk donation.

Become a donor today in three easy steps:

  1. complete a short phone interview
  2. complete and return a questionnaire
  3. have your blood drawn at a local lab at no cost to you

Donor mothers must be:

  • in good health
  • willing to have blood tests to rule out communicable diseases
  • not regularly using medications except for progestin-only birth control, thyroxin, insulin, prenatal vitamins, iron or calcium
  • free from smoking, illegal drug use and regular alcohol use
  • willing to donate a minimum of 100 ounces

Call Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas at 817-810-0071 or visit our website.

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