Breastfeeding is considered to be a major part of infant development. Breast milk can help babies develop antibodies that fight off certain infections, and the natural milk can aid them in blossoming into strong and healthy toddlers and beyond. However, not every mother has success in the breastfeeding department. Often, when babies are born prematurely, the mother is not able to produce milk on time for the baby’s arrival, leaving the newborn without the essential nutrients that the milk provides. Where can these mothers turn for help?
Founded in 2004, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) has been meeting the needs of moms who are in need of safe, human milk for their growing infants. It delivers donor milk to premature babies with the poorest health in more than 110 neonatal intensive care units. Thanks to the participation and donations of more than 5,500 mothers, MMBNT has provided more than 2.5 million ounces of milk in the last 12 years.
“Hospitals order milk in 100 milliliter bottles, and one of these bottles can provide up to 10 feedings. For the smallest premature infants, one ounce of milk can feed them for an entire 24 hours,” said Mary Ashley Ray, the program assistant at MMBNT.
The milk that is not sent to the hospitals goes to outpatient babies. MMBNT does not send milk to recipients based on whether or not they can pay but rather by how dire the baby’s need for the milk is. The Milk Money Fund sees that every infant in need of donor milk leaves receives milk. The milk is not stored for long and is dispensed rather quickly, so MMBNT is always happy to accept new mothers willing to share their milk.
Moms who wish to donate milk must first complete a phone interview and medical history questionnaire, and they must have blood drawn. If approved, they can leave milk at the milk bank or at any one of 40 collection sites found in different hospitals, clinics, and medical sites across Texas and other states. In the case of a Fort Worth mom, the closest collection sites include Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas itself, Texas Health Harris Southwest, the Medical Center Alliance, and Texas Health Huguley Hospital.
Women who are not in a position to give milk can still be of assistance. Volunteers put together packets to be sent to hospitals for new moms, so they can learn about the milk donation process. As a non-profit organization, MMBNT is always thankful for support.
This fall, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas will be celebrating their 12th anniversary, with a luncheon dubbed “A Dozen Reasons for a Dozen Years.” It will take place on Thursday, September 29 at 11:30 a.m. at Ridglea Country Club. Jennifer Canvasser, milk donor and founder of the NEC Society, will be the guest speaker.
MMBNT consistently holds the stance that a mother’s milk is always best for her child. However, this is sadly an impossibility for some moms and their babies, thereby making the hard work and provision of Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas increasingly important.
Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas is part of the Fort Worth Mom Blogs’ “Non-Profit Profile” series. If you are interested in nomination a local non-profit for us to profile, please email [email protected]