Preschooler Donates Her Savings to Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas

Preschooler Donates Her Savings to Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas

Four-year-old contributes her savings to help sick babies receive life-saving donor milk

Jenna with her mom, Nancy, a former milk donor

Jenna with her mom, Nancy, a former milk donor

Meet 4-year-old Jenna. Last week, this vivacious preschooler brought $10 of her long earned savings to help babies and officially became the youngest benefactor of Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas.

At first, Jenna timidly greeted milk bank staff, understandably, as many were eager to meet this precious little girl. But before long, Jenna was enthusiastically filling the milk bank piggy bank, looking at pictures of babies around the office and learning a little more about how donor milk saves lives. You see, Jenna already knows quite a bit about the milk bank because her mom, Nancy, was a milk donor from November 2013 to October 2014.

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Jenna and her family

Nancy was an overproducer while nursing Jenna’s little brother, Cason, who is now 18 months old. At first Nancy didn’t know what to do with all her extra milk. After learning about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, she was thrilled to help a cause not everyone can undertake. Nancy says, “It’s so fulfilling to know you can give sick babies a fighting chance.”

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Stuffing the piggy bank to help babies

Jenna knew her mom was helping other babies with her milk. So, when her piggy bank was full, she reserved 10% of her yearlong savings to make her own contribution. Nancy explains, “We encourage Jenna to deposit some money in savings, spend some and donate some to help others. She chose to give to her church in the past, but this time Jenna decided she wanted to help babies. We feel if she picks where the money goes, it means more to her.”

And so last Thursday, on a “girls’ day” with mom, Jenna delivered a ten dollar bill and declared, “I feel happy!” Next stop? Ice cream!

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

 

 

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A Mean, Clean Breast Pump Machine

A Mean, Clean Breast Pump Machine

“There’s something wrong with a mother who washes out a measuring cup with soap and water after she’s only measured water in it.”

Erma Bombeck

Unknown-3Surely, Erma Bombeck would agree that a clean breast pump requires soap and water. Let’s face it; repetitive cleaning of any kind can be monotonous. And when you consider the routine of a milk donor mom (pump, label, freeze, repeat), adding cleaning to the mix makes her that much more admirable. As we have said many times, pumping is a selfless act and takes precious time and faithful dedication.

images-5Cleaning a breast pump improperly results in unwanted bacteria contamination as well as a more efficient process. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a great resource for cleaning guidelines and dedicates an entire page to breast pump cleaning.

Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas is a proud member of HMBANA, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. HMBANA recommends the following steps:

  1. images-4Wash hands well.
  2. Disassemble the pump kit.
  3. Rinse pump parts with cool water before washing with hot water to remove milk protein residue. Residue can adhere to surfaces and provide a place for bacteria to grow.
  4. Wash with warm soapy water. Some rinsed pieces can be cleaned in the upper rack of a dishwasher. To minimize the risk of contaminating pump parts with bacteria, they should not be placed in a sink, but washed in a separate bowl of clean water.
  5. Rinse thoroughly.
  6. Drip dry on a clean paper towel.

At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we are so grateful to the moms who pump their extra breastmilk and donate it to save the lives of premature and critically ill babies.

To learn more about milk banking or how to become a donor, please visit our website.

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Why Premature Babies Need Breastmilk

Why Premature Babies Need Breastmilk

Harper holding her daddy's finger while in the NICU

Harper holding her daddy’s finger while in the NICU

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a disease that attacks the intestinal tracts in preterm infants, causes damage or destroys the intestines and requires surgery to repair or remove them. About 15-17% of all preemies fed formula get this devastating and deadly disease compared to only less than 1.5% of preemies fed human milk.

You may be asking, “In English please?”

Human milk is proven to be vitally important for premature or sick babies. The nutrients in breastmilk will protect a baby’s intestines and prevent infection while providing the ideal nutrition that these critically ill infants thrive on.

preemie milk bottles

Pasteurized donor milk ready for delivery to the NICU.

Human milk is dispensed by prescription only, and is given to the highest priority recipients. Common reasons for prescribing donor milk include preterm birth, failure to thrive, allergies, immunologic deficiencies, post-operative nutrition and infectious diseases.

Human milk contains immunologic factors and growth hormones that help ALL babies develop and contain antibodies to fight disease and infection.

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

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Breastmilk . . . In the News

Breastmilk . . . In the News

images-2Human Breastmilk – Commodity or Philanthropy?

Over the past 6 months, the subject of human breastmilk has been in the news more and more. Specifically, online news sources and magazines have featured the intensified debate over selling breastmilk for profit versus donating it to a non-profit milk bank. We examined this topic in a blog last December entitled Milk for Money, Is it Ethical for a Company to Pay Moms for Breastmilk?  Since then, we have been following both sides of this issue closely.

images-3One article, published last week, was particularly poignant, as it was written from the perspective of a milk donor, someone who has painstakingly pumped milk, an exercise that requires a lot time and effort. After all, pumping is not described by most as a hobby or enjoyable pastime. It truly is a selfless act, especially so, when pumped milk is donated to help medically needy babies.   Published by The New York Times online on March 27 in “The Opinion Pages”, here is an excerpt with a link for the entire article:

Give Breast Milk 
by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett
I PRODUCED more than 2,500 ounces of surplus breastmilk with my first son. I am almost six months postpartum with my second child, and already my freezers are stuffed with five-ounce bags of milk. Some women are computer programmers or impressive cooks. I’m good at producing breast milk. My friends and family marvel at this talent, sort of. They like to joke that I could make really money if I sold it.  

She continues . . .

But I don’t sell my milk. I am lucky enough to be able to donate it. With my first son, I sent more than 1,000 ounces of breast milk to the Mothers’ Milk Bank of San Jose, Calif., which distributes milk to neonatal intensive care units around the country. See the full article here.

images-4Slate.com, an online magazine about news, politics and culture, also published an article last week called, “Wet Nursing is Back!  Sort Of.”  Brooklyn-based writer, Amanda Marcotte references Elizabeth Currid-Halkett’s article and examines both sides of the controversy. Although we take issue with her statement about scientific research and breastmilk, we strongly back how she summarized the potential pitfalls of one company’s milk-purchasing strategy:

It’s hard to begrudge a new mother extra income if she can produce more milk than her baby needs. But it’s also discomfiting to think that we’re on a path where poor women’s bodies are being commodified so that wealthier mothers don’t have to resort to formula. Click here to read Marcotte’s full article.

Travis on his first day in the NICU

At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we defer back to Currid-Halkett’s view,

To donate milk takes a bit more effort than showing up at a blood drive, but it is just as critical. Giving milk, like giving blood, offers an invaluable reward: the satisfaction of doing our duty as healthy humans to help babies who are not.

When we asked our moms why they choose to donate to a non-profit milk bank, here’s what they said,

“It’s important to me that I don’t support a company that looks after it’s own interests and makes money off my milk.”
“I like knowing that my extra breastmilk is going to help sick babies get better and not help a company get richer.”
“Giving to a non-profit milk bank ensures the most critical babies will receive my milk regardless of their socioeconomic situation at home.”
 

To learn more about our non-profit milk bank, click here.

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Supporting the Breastfeeding Mom

Supporting the Breastfeeding Mom

Breastfeeding Session at WIC Spring Celebration

Breastfeeding Education Session at WIC Spring Celebration

Staying connected to the community, especially the “mom community,” is a priority for us at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT). Yes, we want ALL moms to know about non-profit milk banking, but we also want moms to know we also function as a supporting organization for breastfeeding, moms and babies, and of course, dads too.

Participating in events such as the WIC Spring Celebration in east Dallas last week was a great way for us to not only educate moms about donor milk, but to advocate for breastfeeding in general.  We also got a huge “baby fix” seeing all the little ones and met some amazing mothers and educators.

MMBNT's New Display

MMBMNT educational display

A lot of us recognize the WIC acronym, but aren’t really sure what the program does and why. WIC (short for Women, Infants and Children) is a health and nutrition program for infants, children and pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women who are at risk for nutrition-related illnesses.

Established in 1974, WIC is funded through grants from the Federal Government and is administered by state agencies. Services are provided in all 50 states at a variety of community clinic locations including hospitals, county health departments and schools. Because the main focus of WIC is educating mothers about proper nutrition for babies and young children, the organization promotes breastfeeding through education, counseling and incentive-based programs.

For example:

  • WIC mothers choosing to breastfeed are provided information through counseling and breastfeeding educational materials.
  • Breastfeeding mothers receive follow-up support through peer counselors.
  • Breastfeeding mothers are eligible to participate in WIC longer than non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their infants receive an enhanced food package.
  • Breastfeeding mothers can receive breast pumps to help support the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding.
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One of the sweet little ones we met last week, 2 months old

The Texas WIC website is available in English and Spanish and offers online breastfeeding support as well as a Breastfeeding Hotline: 800-514-6667

MMBNT has partnered with several WIC clinics that serve as milk collection sites called “depots”.   For moms who want to drop off surplus breastmilk, these depots offer a convenient location close to home. Frozen milk is then delivered to the milk bank for processing and distribution before it is dispensed to premature and critically ill infants.

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

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