How NICU Babies Receive Miracle Milk

How NICU Babies Receive Miracle Milk

Shannon Lewis2Preemies and sick babies are immature at birth and don’t have the coordination and strength to breastfeed or bottle feed. Consequently, tube feeding delivers the vital nutrients and immunological properties they need to sufficiently grow and develop.

IMG_3943 copyThe majority of donor milk dispensed by Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas is administered in hospitals by feeding tubes. Seeing this process for the first time is difficult and frightening for parents. Before long, it becomes second nature and removal becomes a rite of passage towards recovery and going home.

12573685_1066192253403117_6268932966843186435_nSome children and adults have medical conditions that require ongoing feeding tube treatment. To raise awareness and support parents of tube-fed babies and children, Feeding Tube Awareness was founded in 2010 as a 501 (c)(3) organization.

In 2011, Feeding Tube Awareness launched the first annual Feeding Tube Awareness Week®, with a mission of promoting the positive benefits of feeding tubes as life saving medical interventions. This week also serves to educate the public about the day-to-day challenges that families face as well as the medical reasons that babies, children and adults are tube fed.  As stated on the Feeding Tube Awareness Week website,

Feeding Tube Awareness Week® connects families, by showing how many other families are going through similar things, and making people feel less alone.

For more information about donor milk, the pasteurization process and the babies we serve, click here.

 

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Healing from Heartbreak by Helping Other Babies

Healing from Heartbreak by Helping Other Babies

The grief is still fresh. Talicia’s second son, Ty, was stillborn during her 29th week of pregnancy on December 8, 2015. Since then, she has been helping other babies by donating her breastmilk. Talicia explains how this decision has given her a sense of peace and purpose during a time of unimaginable loss.
Ty's footprints

Ty’s footprints

My husband and I had discussed having a second baby for an entire year. My high-risk pregnancy with my first son was difficult and resulted in 5 months of bed rest. So, I expected the same the second time around. However, this pregnancy was normal, and even great, until the day it wasn’t.

During my regular OB visit at 28 weeks, I joyfully listened to my growing baby’s heartbeat. Everything was good. Three days later, I noticed Ty wasn’t moving. When the doctor confirmed his heart had stopped beating, I think for a moment, my own heart had stopped.

Ty

Ty

No one can explain the pain from losing a child. I had prepared for Ty’s arrival and organized his nursery. I had fallen in love with the little person growing inside me. Not being able to take Ty home was hard enough. I also had to deal with my body’s natural process of producing breastmilk.

I found out about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas from a nurse at Medical Center of Arlington.  A lactation consultant explained that I could donate my milk to help save the lives of other babies. Right then, I knew I wanted to become a donor. I knew I had made the right decision when a woman at church told me about a premature baby who wouldn’t have lived without the help of donors like me.

Carmen's Tree is a memorial located in the foyer of Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas. Each leaf represents a baby who passed away and whose mother donated breastmilk to help other babies.

Carmen’s Tree is a memorial located in the foyer of Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. Each leaf represents a baby who passed away and whose mother donated breastmilk to help other babies.

My experience with Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas has been wonderful. Everyone has been extremely kind and the application process was quick and easy. I am amazed by the organization and am proud to have donated alongside so many other bereaved women.

Pumping and donating my milk gave me something positive and productive to do with my time. I didn’t want my milk to be yet another sad reminder of Ty’s passing, but a way for someone else to bring their baby home.

For more information about the heroes of milk banking like Talicia, click here.

For more information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, click here.

 

 

 

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Making More Room for More Mothers’ Milk

Making More Room for More Mothers’ Milk

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.17.06 PMA lot of good things are happening at 600 West Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth. Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) is in its final phases of a lab expansion project that will improve efficiency and greatly impact the volume of donor milk dispensed.

Executive Director, Amy Vickers & lab technicians, Fabby & Elizabeth, celebrating renovation progress

The new pasteurization and sterilization lab in progress. Executive Director, Amy Vickers & lab technicians, Fabby & Elizabeth.

Like the fragile babies we serve, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas is growing and thriving.  As MMBNT’s 2015 stats indicate, the demand for safe, donor milk continues to increase:

  • 552,761 ounces dispensed, over 100,000 ounces more than in 2014
  • 778 approved donors, over 100 more than in 2014
  • 114 hospital NICUs served in Texas and other states
  • 64,155 minivan miles delivering and picking up milk
  • 7 new depots in Texas, resulting in a total of 41 collection sites
New Logging & Freezer Room

New Logging & Freezer Room

New Packing Room

New Packing Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lab renovations will modify three spaces within the current building and provide room for a new pasteurizer. The milk logging and packing rooms have already been relocated to enable the lab to occupy two rooms; one for milk thawing, homogenization and packaging, the second for sterilization and pasteurization.

For a non-profit organization, growing pains are good and reflect the success of serving the community. IMG_4136While construction is always challenging, we are thrilled to have the increased capability to help thousands more medically needy babies have a fighting chance.

For more information about MMBNT’s pasteurization process, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about breastmilk donation, click here.

 

 

 

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Gianna’s Good Start and a Mother’s Good Deed

Gianna’s Good Start and a Mother’s Good Deed

FullSizeRenderAs healthcare professionals from Colleyville, Texas, Gianna’s parents are big believers in breastmilk. So when Gianna was born and had complications breastfeeding, they were thrilled she could receive donor milk in the hospital.  Gianna’s mother, Faith, eventually ended up producing extra milk and explains how she is now helping other babies.

My husband is an ob-gyn and I am an RN. We know very well all about the wonderful benefits of breastmilk, and could not be more thankful for Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas for giving our precious daughter the ability to have the healthiest start possible. Our daughter Gianna is almost a year old. Because of getting a great start with donor milk, and then my milk, she is a happy, healthy, chunky baby girl.

IMG_3088When Gianna was born, I was unable to get her to latch. As a former labor and delivery nurse, I very much wanted my daughter to have breastmilk. Gianna received donor milk in the hospital before my milk came in, and then I exclusively pumped. I had a great supply and was then able to become a milk donor as well.

Becoming a donor was very easy. I did the phone interview, got my labs drawn and dropped off the milk and the paperwork together. I delivered my milk to Texas Health Harris Southwest in Fort Worth. The hours of collection worked well with my schedule and the staff were so helpful. When my next daughter is born in July, I will try to be able to donate again.

It was important to me to give back because my family was able to have the peace of mind of not having to supplement with formula so early in my baby girl’s life. It brings me joy to know that I can give other mothers the peace of mind that I was given during the overwhelming time of having a newborn.

IMG_4190Faith’s Advice for Other Moms

  • Follow all of the recommendations provided for storing breastmilk.
  • Don’t let it sit too long in the fridge.
  • Donate as soon as you feel able, and find a collection site with hours that fit your schedule.
  • I was not able to breastfeed, but the pump is your friend, I promise. You may feel like a slave to it, but remember, your child is getting liquid gold!

For information about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas and how to become a donor, click here.

 

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Help and Hope for Postpartum Depression

Help and Hope for Postpartum Depression

421064_197020103735388_1659527838_nMothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas values so many of our fellow non-profit organizations serving the local community, especially those who help the women near and dear to us . . . moms. We work closely with mothers every day, who generously donate surplus breastmilk to help sick babies. And since many of us on staff are moms, we know firsthand about the challenges that can come after that precious bundle of joy arrives, and how in some cases, it doesn’t feel completely joyous.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is one of the most common complications after pregnancy. One Dallas organization, Wings for Wellness, is dedicated to helping women and families by raising awareness and providing helpful resources and education. Shelley Shook and Karen Erschen founded Wings for Wellness in 2009 after both had suffered and recovered from PPD.

babyblackandwhiteWings for Wellness holds support groups and events and posts research updates on their Facebook page. For example, a recent post provides a link to an insightful article: “The 6 Stages of Postpartum Depression”. In May, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas will participate in the Wings for Wellness 5th Annual “Motherhood Matters” Pregnancy/New Mom Expo at the Richardson Civic Center Grand Hall. Admission is free to the public.

You have probably heard it before, “If mom isn’t happy, no one else is.”  Far more challenging than a case of “the blues”, postpartum depression is a serious medical condition that has implications for the whole family.  One out of every eight women will experience PPD after giving birth. It can be confusing and isolating and make bonding with a newborn difficult. The issue has been in the spotlight recently with celebrity Hayden Panettiere, who announced she is seeking treatment for PPD.

The March of Dimes website encourages women, with five or more of the following signs of PPD that last longer than 2 weeks, to contact their health care provider for help.

  • Feeling depressed most of the day every day
  • Feeling shame, guilt, or like a failure
  • Feeling anxious a lot of  the time
  • Having severe mood swings
  • Having little interest in things you normally like to do
  • Feeling tired all of the time
  • Eating a lot more or a lot less than is normal for you
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Having trouble bonding with your baby
  • Thinking about hurting yourself or your baby

With the right treatment, there is light at the end of the tunnel. A mom should never feel alone in her journey after childbirth. Help is out there and statistics show that with adequate support, “this too shall pass”.

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Kyleigh McBride16

If your freezer is full of breastmilk your own baby won’t use, consider becoming a donor to help premature and sick babies.

Contact Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas here.  

 

 

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