A Double Dose of Donor Milk

A Double Dose of Donor Milk

image3They say sometimes miracles come in pairs. And that’s exactly how Kacy and Nicholas Sallusto, from Delray Beach, Florida, feel about their twin daughters, Sapphira and Kaiya. After struggles with infertility, the couple learned in May 2014 that their first attempt of in vitro fertilization (IVF) was successful. Kacy says, “I really feel like everything worked out the way it was supposed to, and these girls were meant to be ours all along. It’s so hard to have faith when dealing with infertility but I am so thankful that we never gave up.”

Born Too Soon

Kacy ended up delivering the girls at 30 weeks, 5 days. She had spent almost a week in the hospital being treated with fluids, magnesium and steroids for early labor. image3 copyContractions did stop, but then labor started again and progressed quickly. To Kacy’s relief, both arrived, as she described, “screaming”; Sapphira at 3 pounds 2 ounces and Kaiya at 3 pounds 1 ounce. Because of their prematurity, the twins were admitted into the NICU at Boca Regional Hospital.

As an NICU nurse, Kacy knew one of the biggest threats her girls faced was necrotizing enterocolitis. Also known as NEC, the life threatening condition affects the intestines of premature infants. Occurrences of NEC are greatly reduced through breastfeeding. Kacy explains, “I knew that human milk was the best and only nutrition my girls would get.”

Advocating for Donor Milk

image4However, as is typical with many premature deliveries, Kacy’s milk didn’t come in right away. She knew the next best option was donor milk, but had to overcome some obstacles to make it happen. She explains,

“I was getting a lot of pressure from the doctors and nurses to give my girls formula until my milk came in. I started researching milk banks and the closest one was Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. I called and spoke with the wonderful ladies there and relayed all the information to the neonatologist. I actually got a lot of resistance because they had never done it before. We ordered it and got it the next day! The best part about this is that now the NICU offers donor milk to their preemies.”

Gratitude Times Two

image5 (1)image6The twins were fed donor milk for about 3 days until Kacy’s milk came in. She says, “I know it played a major role in how well my girls did.” Today, the twins are healthy and growing and Kacy feels nothing but admiration for the moms who pump and donate their milk:

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, for providing human milk to the tiniest, most fragile humans who need it the most.”

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

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Commemorating Tiny, Precious Lives Lost and the Gift of Donor Milk

Commemorating Tiny, Precious Lives Lost and the Gift of Donor Milk

The Borquez Family from New Mexico and the Taylor Family from Florida

The Borquez Family from New Mexico and the Taylor Family from Florida

Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas held a very special dedication on Saturday, May 9 in remembrance of babies whose bereaved mothers donated breastmilk to help save the lives of premature and critically ill infants.

About 60 family members and friends participated in the program that included comforting words from Cook Children’s Medical Center chaplain, Michael Downs. Families had the opportunity to see the milk bank’s wall memorial, “Carmen’s Tree” and join a group balloon release.

CarmensTree2Carmen’s Tree is named after the baby of the milk bank’s first bereaved donor, Angela Mendoza. Located in the front foyer, the tree’s branches currently display 244 leaves, each engraved with a baby’s name and birthdate.

The Bullard Family

The Bullard Family

At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, the majority of breastmilk donors are moms who produce an abundance of milk . . . more than is needed for their own babies.  However, there are also many mothers who donate milk after the tragic death of an infant. In addition to facing tremendous grief, many moms must address how to handle the natural process of lactation after childbirth.

The Jordan Family

The Jordan Family

Simone Summerlin, Director of Programs, explains, “For some bereaved mothers, pumping and donating their breastmilk can be both consoling and healing during an unimaginable loss. Their gift of milk becomes the essential gift of life for other babies.”

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

 

 

 

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The Joy of Giving Breastmilk to Sick Babies

The Joy of Giving Breastmilk to Sick Babies

After learning about Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) on Facebook, Kindra began donating her breastmilk (pictured above) to medically needy babies last December. She is a mother of three and a social worker with a focus on child welfare and adoptions. She enjoys family camping trips, cheering at her oldest son’s baseball games and taking the kids to experience new things. Breastfeeding has been an important part of family life. She explains, “My oldest son isn’t fazed when he sees me pumping or nursing and it’s something I want him to view as normal rather than taboo.” Here, Kindra reveals how she decided to become a donor and shares her experiences and advice:
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Kindra and her family.

Donating my breastmilk was a very difficult decision for me initially. I worked so hard to build up my supply that I didn’t want to part with it and possibly take it away from my own baby. But at some point I came to the conclusion that I had more than enough and there was no reason why I shouldn’t donate it. It’s been very rewarding to know I have helped other families who are not able to provide milk for their babies.

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Kindra and Harlan

For me, donating has given me a reason to continue nursing. With my first two children, I quit nursing around 8-9 months because I was tired of the night feedings and was ready to get a full night’s sleep. Since I started donating I have had more than just my own baby to think about. On days (and nights) when I’ve been ready to call it quits, I just try to remember that my baby and others can really benefit from my breast milk.

The screening process of becoming a donor was easy and I’ve had nothing but positive interactions with the MMBNT staff. Just this weekend I was wearing a MMBNT t-shirt out to breakfast and another donor commented on my shirt. I feel like wearing the t-shirts and sharing posts on Facebook helps encourage a conversation about donating breast milk vs. selling it or keeping it when you have an ample supply. It also raises awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding.

Harlan on his first birthday this past Tuesday.

Harlan on his first birthday this past Tuesday.

I deliver my milk to the main office in Fort Worth. I actually have donation points closer to where I live, but I enjoy going up to the milk bank to watch the milk go through the pasteurization process and all the moving parts of the program.

My advice to new donors? Don’t give up! It’s a lot of work and tiring but the reward is worth it. Knowing you are helping preemies thrive while continuing to feed your own baby the best nutrition is a great feeling.

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

 

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Breastmilk Donor Remembers One Daughter and Honors Another

Breastmilk Donor Remembers One Daughter and Honors Another

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Crystal, Zack and Rielle

Crystal, a donor mom for Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, included a touching and heartfelt note in her recent shipment of breastmilk. Many parents find healing in donation after the death of a baby. By giving life-saving donor milk to NICU babies, Crystal remembers her premature daughter, Ripley (pictured above) and honors Ripley’s sister, Rielle (pictured right). We wanted to share her letter, in her own words: 

To the staff of Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas,

I wanted to say thank you for all you do and felt the need to share my story. I just shipped a large supply of donor breastmilk to the milk bank. I know it will help many babies and that means so much to me because I had a NICU baby. Her name was Ripley Grace. She was born at 28 weeks and weighed a little over 3 pounds. My husband and I lived in the NICU for 2 days and saw firsthand how important breastmilk is to the babies there.

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Crystal and Zack with the results of a NICU fundraiser, commemorating Ripley’s first birthday. $2500 of merchandise was given to NICU families at UF Health Jacksonville Shands.

Unfortunately, our little Ripley passed after 2 days. However, she changed our lives forever. We started fundraising for UF Health Jacksonville Shands NICU and for March for Babies/March of Dimes in her honor. We have now raised over $8,000. Ripley’s story has touched so many lives.

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Crystal, Zack and Rielle

A year later, we were blessed with the birth of little Rielle. The milk I just donated came from her supply that I saved day and night. I am beyond happy to share it with NICU babies in honor of her and in memory of her big sister. Thanks again for all you do.

All our love,

Crystal, Zach, Ripley and Rielle

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Rielle wearing her “Little Sis” t-shirt at March for Babies in Jacksonville, Florida

 

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

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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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