Thu, 08/18/2016 - 6:30 am

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and we kicked it off to a great start during World Breastfeeding Week at the Family Expo and Big Latch On. Held at Fort Worth’s Botanic Garden, the event featured family-friendly vendors and a silent auction.

During the Fort Worth Big Latch On, 277 children latched simultaneously for one minute. Three moms expressed milk during this time, and 12 sets of multiples latched. Moms and children participated in the Big Latch On all over the world, with events held across the globe during World Breastfeeding Week.

Below is a gallery of photos collected throughout the day. We’re already looking forward to another great event next year!

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

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 2:33 pm
Brazilian milk bank advertisement
Advertisement for milk donation in Brazil

As the Summer Olympics are underway in Rio de Janiero, the world’s attention is turned to Brazil. While athletes compete for gold medals, others in the country are focused on liquid gold. Brazil has a strong milk banking network committed to serving the nation’s most needy infants.

There are 292 milk banks in the world, and 220 of them are in Brazil. The Brazilian Human Milk Banks Network launched in 1998 and since opening, it has served more than 2 million babies. Because the milk bank system is so widespread, services for donor moms are readily available.

Olympic rings

Moms who are interested in donating can call a toll-free hotline or schedule a house call with a technician to learn how to pump their breastmilk, sterilize storage containers and store milk in their freezers.

When a donor mom is ready to make a donation, she calls to request a pickup. Her local milk bank’s pickup and delivery car will then go to her home to collect the donation and transport it safely back to the milk bank. In some cities, even firefighters and police officers are trained in milk transport.

Brazilian milk bank advertisement
Advertisement for milk donation in Brazil

Like it does at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas and other North American milk banks, the donated milk goes through testing and pasteurization before it’s ready to be consumed.

Breastfeeding as a whole has become more popular in Brazil since the launch of the national milk banking system. In 1986, only 2 percent of Brazilian infants under 6 months were exclusively breastfed. In 2006, that number had increased to 39 percent. Child mortality rates in the country have also been positively affected, dropping 73 percent from 1990 to 2015.

While milk banking happens all over the world, the network in Brazil is one of the strongest. Awareness among moms and national organization and cooperation make it a great system for serving babies in need.

Brazilian advertisements from: http://www.saude.sc.gov.br/hijg/bancoleite.htm

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Thu, 08/04/2016 - 1:10 pm

Happy World Breastfeeding Week! August 1-7 is celebrated around the world to support and raise awareness regarding breastfeeding. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, and Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we’ve compiled breastfeeding advice from our Facebook community.

Submissions may have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Stephanie breastfeeding
Submitted by Stephanie V.

Ask for help and support. Several moms suggested to reach out to someone, such as a lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group, when you are unsure of something or need to discuss your experience with someone. There are many people who are dedicated to helping moms breastfeed!

“Don't be afraid of using your lactation consultant. They're available for a reason." – Beth G.

“Surround yourself with trusty supporters, you might need and definitely deserve encouragement.” – Darci O.

“There's SO much support for you! Reach out!” – Chelle D.

Pumping breastmilk
Submitted by Carrie Ann

Take care of yourself. You are taking on an important job of nourishing your baby by breastfeeding, but don’t forget to practice self-care as well. Your well-being is key!

“Drink lots of water, take your vitamins, and never give up! The end result of a healthier baby and a healthier momma is so worth it.” – Tiffanie K.

“My biggest tip for all new mamas- take care of YOU. Breastfeeding is hard, emotionally and physically. Rest any chance you get, ask for help, eat well and drink tons, and trust yourself.” – Michele D.

“Drink plenty of water and add some fruit to it so that you don't get tired of the same H2O!!” – Jenn R.

Alyssa P's children and pump
Submitted by Alyssa P.

Stick with it. Breastfeeding doesn’t always come easily, but many moms offered words of encouragement for any mom who might be struggling.

“Don't forget you are an awesome mom and you are doing something amazing!” – Ada A.

“Just hang in there.... it does get easier and both you and baby will benefit so much!” – Amanda S.

“Honestly, my best advice is "it's okay." When you are breastfeeding and aren't producing the amounts you think you should = it's okay. If you are tired and need help = it's okay to ask.” – Adrienne J.

“You are a miraculous being with a beautiful blessing. You made it through the journey of pregnancy and child birth. Breastfeeding is another milestone that you're going to make it through. Be patient with yourself and your beautiful bundle. You're one beautifully strong being and you got this girly!” – Safiyyah H.

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

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 9:11 pm

We’re commemorating Throwback Thursday by bringing back blog content from the past! These terms are always great to know and understand, regardless of the passage of time. Time to increase your breastfeeding and mom IQ!

Oxytocin definition

Oxytocin

Most know that oxytocin is the hormone responsible for contractions during childbirth and helping with milk ejection reflex (letdown), but it does more than that! Here are three things that you may not know about oxytocin:

It's easy to get a quick boost. Research has shown that hugs, handshakes, or other physical contact releases low levels of oxytocin in the brain for all parties involved. The interaction is not just limited to humans: a dog's gaze at its owner can increase the human's oxytocin levels, while petting and speaking to a dog after a separation shows an increase in the dog's oxytocin levels.

It can help provide stress relief. Oxytocin is thought to be released by the brain when a person smiles. Smiling genuinely while stressed can help you recover faster than giving a fake smile. However, even a fake smile can help a person recover faster than a neutral expression during a stressful task.

It has been linked to optimism and a higher self-esteem. Oxytocin levels increase in times of stress and has been associated with social skills such as empathy. Researchers have found that people with two variants of the oxytocin receptor gene can have substantially lower levels of optimism and self-esteem, and significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms than those with a third variant. While these results can be used to predict behavior, they do not determine it.

Feedback inhibitor of lactation definition

Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation

Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation (FIL) is the whey protein found in breasts that plays a role in the demand and supply process of breastfeeding. When a woman's breasts are full or engorged, they contain more FIL than when they are empty. Repeated instances of engorgement or not emptying breasts can lead to a drop in breast milk supply over time.

To learn more about FIL and its effect on lactation, visit Kellymom, Nurshable, or Low Milk Supply.

Kangaroo care definition

While kangaroo care (also known as skin-to-skin care) is practiced on preterm infants, it has been known to benefit full term infants as well. Visit the March of Dimes' website for more information on kangaroo care in the NICU.

Benefits of kangaroo care for both preterm and full term infants include: increased attachment and bonding, parental confidence, regulated body temperature, regulated breathing patterns, help with breastfeeding success, and help in reduction of infant morbidity rates.

Dads can practice kangaroo care, too! Since babies are often familiar with their father's voice while in utero, skin-to-skin with Dad can often calm Baby down. Additionally, it helps promote father-infant bonding. For more benefits of fathers practicing kangaroo care, click here.

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

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 3:07 pm
Allanah with milk just out of the pasteurizer
Allanah, holding milk she's just removed from the pasteurizer.

The staff at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas feels like one big family, and in Allanah’s case, the family ties are real. Her aunt, Shaina, is the Director of Operations. Allanah became interested in the milk bank through this connection, took a job five years ago, and has been a constant in the lab ever since.

As a lab technician, Allanah spends her days processing donor milk. She arrives early in the morning to set out and thaw all the milk for the day, then handles it through each step, including nutritional analysis and pasteurization.

“Team work is super important,” Allanah said of working in the lab. The five lab technicians are together all day, and have developed quite an efficient system. “We can anticipate what the others need before they ask.”

Allanah pouring milk
Allanah, beginning the pouring process after thawing milk.

Allanah feels like she is in her element when she’s at work, as she is a detail-oriented person and there are countless important details to consider when processing milk. Rules and regulations are vital in the lab in order to ensure the milk is safe for medically fragile babies.

What may surprise people, Allanah said, is how diverse donors’ milk can be. “It varies so much, from color to smell to consistency,” she said. And, while not visible to the eye, there is variation in nutritional content as well.

Regardless of variety, every single ounce of donor milk can make a difference in babies’ lives. The lab technicians work hard to use this liquid gold to its fullest potential, knowing that even just one ounce can feed three premature infants.

Overall, working at the milk bank is a rewarding experience for Allanah. She enjoys working every day to help others. Not only does milk banking benefit needy infants and their families, she says, but it’s also a great experience for donor moms. “Donor moms do so much for us, and I think we also do something for them by showing them how their hard work pays off,” she said.

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

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