Grateful for the Village Helping Sick Babies

Grateful for the Village Helping Sick Babies

dreamstime_xs_37775112Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, most of us are celebrating with family and friends and giving thanks for the blessings in our lives.  At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT), our work requires a diverse and complex team of individuals who are passionate about one goal: providing safe donor milk to help save sick babies. When the numerous components of milk banking come together, a newly born premature baby can receive the “liquid gold” that is vitally needed for immunological protection and development. We are so thankful for everyone who makes this possible:

The MDebbie Quila's milk and Harper Kateilk Donor Moms – 
Our typical donor is producing more milk than her own baby needs. She completes a medical interview and blood test. She pumps extra milk, stores it in her freezer, labels her milk with the expression date and arranges delivery to the milk bank. All of this takes precious time. She doesn’t receive anything in return, just the knowledge that she is giving the gift of life. She knows this gift is unique and it can’t be replicated.

The Physicians – The doctors helping premature and sick babies are Neonatologists. They work in hospital NICUs and evaluate, stabilize and manage the care of babies so small, they can sometimes fit in the palm of your hand. They supervise complex and critical care situations. They save lives.

The Nurses – NICU nurses handle the highly technical care of helping preemies so fragile, their status can change on the turn of a dime. They work long hours to prevent and treat life-threatening conditions. They help babies breathe and grow. And they help parents cope.

Video Collett - Tony and newborn babyThe Parents – It’s the parents who provide the unconditional love, weather the emotional storms and find strength and courage they never knew they had. They become an integral part of the healing process while navigating a very difficult journey.


Staff Thanksgiving lunch

The MMBNT Family – Collecting, processing and dispensing donor milk takes an organized and dedicated group of administrators, donor mom coordinators, lab technicians, couriers and support staff. The Board of Directors provides oversight and guidance, and is comprised of community representatives from all walks of life: neonatologists, lactation consultants, nurses, bankers, public health officers and hospital administrators. Our volunteers help with all kinds of projects and come from nursing schools, high schools and charitable community organizations. Community supporters generously fund special projects and include individuals, local organizations and foundations.

So it’s true: there is power in numbers. We are so grateful for the whole milk banking team!







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World Prematurity Day, a Call to Action and a NICU Story

World Prematurity Day, a Call to Action and a NICU Story

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 10.04.05 AMThe statistics are staggering. Fifteen million babies are born preterm worldwide each year. One million babies die as a result. In an effort to combat this very serious health problem, a global coalition of consumer and parent groups has been working together to reduce prematurity rates and raise awareness. World Prematurity Day helps bring this cause to the forefront.

Since its inception in 2004, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas has dispensed over 2 million ounces of donor milk to sick babies. Helping these premature and critically ill infants is possible due to the awe-inspiring generosity of donor moms. Often times, moms who have experienced a preterm birth will later become donors to help save other babies with their extra breastmilk.  Cassie, a donor from Las Vegas, shares her story:

IMG_3943 copyCassie’s NICU Journey

I had my daughter, pictured above, at 28 weeks due to severe preeclampsia. Having a preemie and experiencing the NICU has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding things I have ever experienced. It was definitely scary at first. Everything was so new to me not only because I was a first time mom, but because I didn’t know what to expect or whether my child would live or die. When you first walk into the NICU, all you see and hear are monitors going off. You learn that it can be anything from a “brady” (bradycardia, an abnormally low heart rate) to the end of a “gavage” feeding (tube feeding). I honestly wouldn’t have been as strong without the guidance and love from the nurses and doctors. I had an elite group of people surrounding me which included other NICU mommies. We all became a family.

DSC00112 copyMy daughter’s lungs had not fully developed which was causing her to have trouble breathing on her own. She progressed from a ventilator, BPAP and CPAP in the beginning – to a nasal cannula almost the majority of her stay, until she finally caught on to suck, swallow and breathe coordination.  My daughter was in the NICU for 2 months . . . 2 months and 1 day to be exact!

No mother wants or plans for their child to be born prematurely. In these times, you learn about true fear, faith and strength. You experience unfortunate events as well as positive little “sparks”. Those sparks are when you see your baby fighting and learning to live outside your womb. You witness a fighter, a miracle and an inspiration.

12112412_10206929217645465_2920846418417957484_nCassie’s Advice for Other NICU Moms

DON’T BLAME YOURSELF! The first few nights, all I could do was cry and wonder what I did wrong . . .  blaming myself for having my daughter too early. Because of severe preeclampsia, my blood pressure sky-rocketed and there was nothing I or the medical team could do to get it down. I wondered if I had just calmed down, took a breath and relaxed more, maybe my blood pressure would’ve gone down. Or if she didn’t live, it was all because of me. Learn to let that guilt go. It is NEVER your fault. That is just when the universe decided your baby was supposed to be born.


Cassie’s frozen donor milk.

YOU HAVE SUPPORT! You are NOT alone. In the NICU, you meet so many amazing people. From other families who have been there before you, families who are there with you, to families who come in after you. You have some of the most God-given nurses and doctors. All these people will become your family and they will always be there as a shoulder for you to cry on.

THINGS WILL GET BETTER! Take it one breath at a time.



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Help More Sick Babies Thrive with Pasteurized Donor Milk

Help More Sick Babies Thrive with Pasteurized Donor Milk

Our Holiday Wish List:

Another Human Milk Pasteurizer!

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.09.32 PMIt’s the second week of Prematurity Awareness Month and Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) just launched a new fundraising campaign called “Feed More Preemies”. Proceeds from the campaign will pay for an additional human milk pasteurizer and enable the milk bank to process 15% more donor milk and serve hundreds of more sick babies every month. We need $29,000.00 to reach our goal.

preemie milk bottles

Pasteurized Bottles

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.10.24 PMPasteurizers designed specifically for human milk preserve immunological properties while destroying potential harmful viruses and bacteria. Donor milk has become the standard of care for premature infants who have severe feeding problems, intestinal malformations and life threatening complications such as necrotizing enterocolitis.  As a result, MMBNT continues to experience significant growth each year.


Human Milk Pasteurizer

Currently, we serve over 100 hospital NICUs in Texas and 12 other states. In 2014, MMBNT dispensed a record 441,295 ounces and is on track to process over 500,000 ounces in 2015.

How You Can Help

Make a monetary donation today and help us feed more preemies with safe donor human milk. The milk bank is a 501(c)3 organization and donations are tax-deductible. Make checks payable to Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas and mail to 600 West Magnolia Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas 76104 or:



preemie baby

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When Babies Are Born Too Soon

When Babies Are Born Too Soon

images-2November is Prematurity Awareness Month and Tuesday, November 17, is World Prematurity Day.

In the United States, 1 of every 8 babies is born prematurely. A baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature.  Babies born too soon have challenging health problems that may require long-term hospitalization in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Pre-term related complications result in infant death more than any other cause. Babies who survive can end up with breathing and respiratory challenges, cerebral palsy, and visual, digestive and hearing problems.

image3 copyRisk Factors

The CDC lists the following risk factors for premature birth:

  • Carrying more than one baby (twins, triplets, or more)
  • Problems with the uterus or cervix
  • Chronic health problem in the mother, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and clotting disorders
  • Certain infections during pregnancy
  • Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or illicit drug use during pregnancy
  • Race – black women are about 60% more likely to have a premature baby compared to white women

preemie milk bottlesHow Donor Human Milk Can Help

For babies born too early, breastmilk is life saving. Breastmilk provides protection through immunological properties, and premature infants who receive it, are less likely to develop serious complications like infections. Therefore, when a mother’s own milk is not available, donor human milk from a milk bank is the best alternative.

Jennifer Canvasser is a mom of premature twin boys, Micah and Zachary. Zachary survived and Micah didn’t. Last year, she recounted how her babies fought to live in an article published by The Huffington Post. She stresses the importance of human milk in this excerpt from Huff Post Parents, The Blog:

For fragile infants, human milk is a lifesaving intervention, just as critical as blood transfusions, vaccinations and ventilators. It is widely accepted that formula increases a fragile infant’s risk of necrotizing enterocolitis — the disease that claimed Micah’s life. To best protect the health of their most fragile babies, leading NICUs have eliminated the use of formula and formula-based fortifiers prior to 34 weeks gestation. Donor milk is prescribed to babies without mother’s own milk. The NICUs that use human milk as medicine are helping to keep preemies strong.

imagesPrematurity Prevention

March of Dimes launched its Prematurity Campaign in 2003 to help mothers have full-term, healthy babies.  The organization continues to fund extensive research and education. As stated on their website, the efforts are paying off:

After decades of increases, the rate of premature birth in the United States has now been on a steady decline for the last several years. This decline – to 9.6 percent today – has saved thousands of babies from being born too soon. It also has saved our nation billions of dollars in excess health care costs.

However, there is still a lot of work to do to save the 15 million babies born prematurely each year worldwide.  This month, we can all help spread the word, raise awareness and strive to give babies the best possible start.

To learn more about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas and what we do, click here.

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A Year of Donating Breastmilk

A Year of Donating Breastmilk



While pregnant with her daughter, Sara spotted a billboard one day that piqued her interest. Featuring Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT), the roadside display ended up starting a yearlong journey of breastmilk donation.

After Emma was born, Sara stockpiled extra milk in her freezer just in case she needed it after going back to work. Instead of throwing away the milk Emma would never use, Sara knew she could help other babies. She called MMBNT and says, “The screening process was thorough, and I was happy about that.”

The Murphy Family

The Murphy Family

Sara delivered her milk directly to the milk bank on Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth. Her advice for other donor moms? She says, “Polar Bear Coolers are the best for keeping milk frozen.”


Emma will be 2 this December.

Like other moms, Sara admitted breastfeeding could be hard, especially during the first year. She encourages moms to take it day by day, try to relax and enjoy all the little moments. She adds, “They fly by so fast!”

One of Sara’s most memorable breastfeeding stories happened while traveling for work. Someone called maintenance because she was pumping in the bathroom. Funny and yet, so telling.  Breastfeeding support takes a village, moms! But that’s another blog.

For more information about becoming a milk donor, please click here.



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