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.

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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A Little Warrior Inspires His Mother to Donate Breastmilk

A Little Warrior Inspires His Mother to Donate Breastmilk

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Liam in the NICU

A long journey to wellness began for baby Liam after his premature arrival at 26 weeks, weighing 1 pound, 14 ounces.  His parents, Cereena and Austin, describe him as a “true warrior”, battling and overcoming a common and serious intestinal infection called Necrotizing Enterocolitis.


A triumphant Liam


Admitted to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Liam was treated with antibiotics and fortified donor breastmilk. Like a lot of moms of preemies, Cereena’s milk supply wasn’t adequate after giving birth so early.  Liam’s neonatologist, Susan Sward-Comunelli, MD, prescribed donor milk and explained that premature babies need breastmilk to provide proper nutrients and prevent life-threatening complications.  Liam gained weight and won the battle.

Over time, Cereena ended up pumping more milk than Liam needed and decided to become a donor.  She explains, “I wanted to provide milk for the babies who need it most and reduce any worry or stress for those mothers who try very hard to produce breastmilk, but can’t.”

Cereena learned about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas from Dr. Sward-Comunelli, who helped found the non-profit organization in 2004.  She describes the donor approval process as “thorough yet easy”.  Cereena says, “The paperwork was minimal but they asked important questions; things that I would want to know as a mother whose child would receive donor milk.  The best part is knowing that all donors have their blood screened.”


Austin, Cereena and Liam

Cereena’s Advice for New Milk Donors
  1. Don’t give up.  Whether breastfeeding or pumping, all mothers go through ups and downs.
  2. Take care of yourself first.  Stay hydrated, eat plenty of food and get sleep when possible.
  3. Donate when you feel comfortable with your supply.
  4. Be careful to not overfill breast storage bags, and double check that each bag is properly sealed and labeled before storing.

For Cereena and Austin, donating milk is a way to give back, knowing others helped Liam recover.  Cereena explains, “All you want to do is protect and provide for your child and breastmilk can do both.”

For more information about milk donation, visit our website.

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New Milk Collection Depot Now Open in Southwest Fort Worth

New Milk Collection Depot Now Open in Southwest Fort Worth

THSouthwestFortWorth-colorFor moms needing a convenient place to drop off donor milk in southwest Fort Worth, the 2nd floor postpartum unit at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth, is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Elaine Poore's milkAt Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we want to make donating milk as hassle free as possible.  After all, our donors are busy being moms and time is precious.  Drop-off locations, we call “depots,” have been established throughout North Texas, as far west as Lubbock and in 4 other states.  Geographically accessible, depots are located in hospitals, medical clinics and lactation support centers.  Equipped with freezers, milk is safely stored before being transported to the milk bank for pasteurization, processing and dispensing.  To see a list of our 38 depot locations, click here.

Amanda Pepper

Amanda and her helpers, dropping off milk at Texas Health Southwest

One of the first donors to deliver milk to Texas Health Southwest, Amanda Pepper, explains how she became a donor, “A friend told me about milk donation. I thought it sounded like an awesome way to bless families in need, so I signed up.”

Teri Wheat, RN, IBCLC, a lactation consultant for Texas Health Southwest, says, “Offering a user-friendly location for moms to drop off milk in southwest Fort Worth enables our facility to further support our local community and the sick babies who thrive on donor milk.”

To learn more about milk donation and Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, click here.


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New Leadership for Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA)

New Leadership for Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA)

John Honaman Joins Governing Organization for Non-Profit Mothers’ Milk Banks in North America

John Honaman

John Honaman

In response to the continued growth and expansion of non-profit milk banks in the US and Canada, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) recently named John M. Honaman, CFRE, as the organization’s first Executive Director.

At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we would like to extend a warm welcome to John who is leading the organization as chief operating officer, working closely with the Board of Directors, Medical Board, Committee Chairs and milk bank members.

John comes to HMBANA from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) where he served for seven years. His last post was a dual role as Director of Member Services and Business Development and as the Development Director for the NATA Research and Education Foundation. preemie milk bottlesJohn was responsible for membership and was the point-person for international initiatives. In addition, he served as the team lead for a $2 million dollar capital campaign for the NATA Foundation.

“I am honored to have been chosen for this role to serve the HMBANA member mothers’ milk banks at a very exciting time,” says John. “The demand for safe, pasteurized human donor milk in the United States and Canada has been growing every year.” He adds, “Working in unison with the HMBANA board and the leadership of each of the member mothers’ milk banks, the sky is the limit. I am certain that we can build upon our track record of significant growth in dispensing mothers’ milk to the sickest babies regardless of the family’s ability to pay.”

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HMBANA Non-Profit Milk Bank Locations

John is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE) and holds an MBA in Marketing from Michigan State University and a BS in Business Administration from Central Michigan University. John has a passion for culture and languages. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian and is currently studying Mandarin.

To learn more about the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), click here.

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


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Answering Your Questions, Part III: Costs

Answering Your Questions, Part III: Costs

Monday’s blog, “Why We Pasteurize” was the second article in a 3-part series addressing questions sent to us via Facebook. Today, we explain the Who, What and Why related to donor milk, costs and processing fees.  To stay updated on breastfeeding, babies and the magic of donor milk, be sure to click “LIKE” on our Facebook page. We will keep you updated on breastfeeding, babies and the magic of donor milk.

Part III – Milk & Money

Who We Are

Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas is a non-profit milk bank located in Fort Worth’s Medical District.

There are no owners or investors profiting from our donated milk.

Because milk is donated, we do not charge for the milk itself, only for the processing fees incurred to ensure donor milk is safe for critically ill infants.

We are very proud of our ability to keep costs low and charge only what is needed to continue to provide life-saving donor human milk to the babies that need it to survive.

IMG_0378 2What We Charge

Most non-profit milk banks charge $4.00 to $5.50 an ounce.

Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas assesses a processing fee of $4.40 an ounce which does not cover all operating expenses.

We rely on the generosity of individual donations and charitable funders to supplement our costs.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 2.25.46 PMWhy We Charge

Processing safe milk for sick babies is expensive.

Our fees pay for the operating costs and expenses of providing safe donor milk for sick babies including donor screening, pasteurization, packaging and storage.

Who We Charge

For hospitalized babies, the NICU orders the milk and the hospital pays the processing fees just like they pay for blood, medication and nutritional supplements. Donor milk is only a part of the treatment for preemies in the NICU.

For sick babies at home with a medical need for donor milk, costs are paid by Medicaid or private insurance. Our charitable care program ensures that a baby is never turned away based on the family’s ability to pay processing fees. In 2014, we provided $412,000 of charitable care. Most of these families had no insurance, had reached their policy’s lifetime maximum or had other situations preventing insurance reimbursement. Babies are prioritized based on their medical condition, NOT their ability to pay.

SLATELANDON 047A Little Milk Goes a Long Way

80% of the babies we serve are tiny preemies in the NICU who require a very small but important volume of milk.

The total cost to feed these babies is as little as $7.00 per day.


While EVERY baby can benefit from human milk, it is important to appropriate donor milk where it can do the most good for the most babies. At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we are so very grateful to the donor mothers willing to share their milk with these precious babies that have so much to lose without it.

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



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