resources, facts, profiles/photos of supporters, WIC, lactation consultant info

Make the Most of Your Milk Storage Space

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 3:18 pm
Breastmilk stored in freezer
Breastmilk, frozen flat and stored upright.

A big part of a pumping mom’s routine is keeping up with her milk stash. And for many of these moms, having an organized system saves them time and makes milk easier to manage. While there are countless ways to store your stash, the following guidelines are great for ensuring milk storage doesn’t take over your life – or your freezer.

1. Label each bag with your name and pump date. When you include your name on each bag as it's stored, then those bags are ready for daycare, donating, or any other purpose that would require identification on your milk.

2. Fill to suggested volume, no more than 2/3 full. Bags can be filled to other volumes, but by leaving a little room, the breastmilk has space to expand while it freezes.

3. Freeze flat. This allows milk bags to fit more efficiently into smaller or designated spaces in your freezer, providing more space for your other frozen goods.

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Donated breastmilk stored in bottles
We do accept other storage methods, such as bottles.

While these guidelines are great suggestions, we do accept milk stored in other ways. Donors often bring us milk that’s been frozen in bottles, bags that aren’t flat, or a number of other methods. At the end of the day, every ounce makes a difference at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. As long as we have a donor’s name and/or ID number with her donation, it can be deposited into our system and processed to feed the fragile babies we serve.

For more information about donating breastmilk, click here.

Happiness is a Clean Pump

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 3:02 pm
Pumping photo collage submitted by Alyssa P.
Submitted by Alyssa P.

Pumping is a selfless act, requiring precious time and dedication. One of the many important parts of the process is cleaning the breast pump. Proper cleaning helps prevent bacteria contamination, and it helps create a more efficient process.

When a mom pumps, she takes on a repetitive routine of pumping, labeling and freezing. While adding cleaning to the mix may seem monotonous, it is an important step to prevent contamination and make things easier in the long run. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a great resource for breast pump information, and features a page dedicated to breast pump cleaning.

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Pumped breastmilk
A donor's milk after pumping.

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) also has recommended cleaning guidelines, which are reposted here from a previous blog post:

1.       Wash 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.

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

 

Tips for Traveling with Breastmilk

Wed, 12/21/2016 - 2:34 pm
Donor mom's freezer full of milk
A donor's full freezer

For many families, the holiday season means travel season. And if you’re a breastfeeding mom, those holiday trips can get a little more complicated. Whether you’re hitting the road or catching a flight, here are some great reminders and tips for traveling with breastmilk.

Storage

Pumped breastmilk stored in a small, insulated cooler with frozen ice packs will stay fresh for 24 hours. Keep these storage guidelines in mind: freshly expressed milk is safe at room temperature (60-85 degrees Fahrenheit) for 4 to 6 hours. Refrigerated milk should be used or frozen within 24 hours. Breastmilk can be frozen for up to 3 months in a regular freezer and up to 6 months in a deep freezer.

 

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Donor mom's travel container for milk
A donor's travel container for milk

Airports and Breastmilk

As an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has the following regulations regarding traveling with breastmilk:

Breastmilk, along with formula and juice, can be carried in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces (100 mL) and does not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. It should be separated from other liquids, gels and aerosols that are limited to 3.4 ounces.

When you go through security, inform the TSA officer that you are carrying breastmilk in excess of 3.4 ounces.

Breastmilk is typically screened by X-ray. The FDA states that there are no known adverse effects from consuming food or drink screened by X-ray. However, if you do not want it to be screened this way, inform the TSA officer and alternative steps can be taken to clear the liquid.

Ice packs and other accessories used to cool breastmilk are allowed in your carry-on. They are subject to the same screening as described above if they are partially frozen or slushy.

For more information, visit the TSA website.

If traveling internationally, research the regulations at each international airport you visit. Different countries have varying policies regarding breastmilk.

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

 

Event Recap: The Big Latch On

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!

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

It Takes a Village: Breastfeeding Advice from our Community

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Throwback Thursday: Breastmilk-ology

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Latching On In Cowtown Supports Breastfeeding Worldwide

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 8:39 pm
Two moms breastfeeding during the 2015 Big Latch On.

What happens when more than 200 moms gather in Fort Worth to celebrate breastfeeding? The result is The Big Latch On, where moms come together and breastfeed their children at the same time. For first time event-goers, visualizing or even participating in this might seem strange. However, with a purpose of raising breastfeeding awareness and acceptance, this community effort suddenly feels warmhearted and empowering.

The Big Latch On is an international event with locations around the world, which is celebrated annually during World Breastfeeding Week. In Fort Worth, the free event is in conjunction with the 5th Annual Family Expo, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, August 6 at Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

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MMBNT table setup at 2015 Big Latch On.

“The Big Latch On has become Tarrant County’s signature yearly event that is ‘mother and baby friendly’ by showcasing breastfeeding in public,” Layne Walker, Secretary of Tarrant County Breastfeeding Coalition, said. “It’s a breastfeeding-friendly place for the whole family; a common oddity in our society. The event has helped to open the eyes of the public to view breastfeeding as the norm for nourishing and nurturing our children.”

Participating moms and children will head out to the Botanic Garden lawn at 10:30 a.m. to breastfeed together for one minute. During the 2015 event, 278 children latched at the same time. Over 50 vendors and activities will be located indoors in the Redbud & Oak Hall. 

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Vendor setup at 2014 Family Expo and Big Latch On.

“I see the Tarrant County Breastfeeding Coalition’s Big Latch On event continuing to grow as the annual Tarrant County breastfeeding promotional event for mothers and their families to be celebrated for their choice to provide breastmilk for their babies,” Pat Alridge, Executive Director of Women’s, Infants and Children's Services of JPS Health Network said. “The Big Latch On increases awareness of the challenges mothers face with continuing to breastfeed and provides an opportunity for support, advocacy and acceptance within the community.”

The Big Latch On and Family Expo is hosted by Tarrant County Breastfeeding Coalition, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas and JPS Health Network. Be sure to RSVP to the event by clicking here and receive event updates and reminders.

A Celebration of Fatherhood

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 1:13 pm
Christy M.'s husband and children.
Christy M.'s husband and children.

We recognize many great moms on our blog, but what about dads? Fathers also play an important role in families. In honor of Father’s Day, our donor moms, dads, Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas team and Facebook community let us know a little more about what fatherhood means to them.

“He is a hard worker and sacrifices a lot in order to be the man our children need. We are so blessed to have him.” – Christy M.

“My dad raised me all alone since age 2. He made me the great mommy I am today! He passed when I was 13 and I am grateful for all those years I got to have such a wonderful dad.” – Brandy D.

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Shaina's husband Juan and son Noah.
Shaina's husband Juan and son Noah.

“My husband is a hero in the eyes of my daughters. His support, guidance and humor will shape their lives forever and for that, I will always be grateful.” – Amy T.

Our Director of Operations, Shaina, is currently breastfeeding her 1 year old son, Noah.  We asked her and her husband, Juan, about how a father's support during breastfeeding can make all the difference:

“My husband knew I was very passionate about breastfeeding, and he did everything he could to accommodate me and help me be successful at it. Any nursing mother knows the amount of time that goes into nursing a growing baby several times a day, and how difficult it can be to keep up with all of the other demands of everyday life. Juan has been so helpful by keeping up with household chores and errands so that I can take the time I need to care for our baby.

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Juan and Noah, just hours after Noah's birth.
Juan and Noah, just hours after Noah's birth.

"I am so thankful that he has been there with me every step of the way. He attended breastfeeding education classes with me, which I believe contributes to his determination to help me succeed. He listened intently to the lactation nurses at the hospital to make sure that he knew what to do to assist me in breastfeeding. And anytime I struggled he was there asking, ‘What can I do?’ I couldn’t have asked for a better partner and father to go through this experience with.” – Shaina

“I was really amazed at how much of a bond breastfeeding created between Noah and my wife. It is so obvious how much he cherishes his time breastfeeding with his mother and how strong their relationship is because of it. I knew that breast milk was the best nutrition for our baby, but to see how smart and happy he is a true testament to how good it is for him.” – Juan

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

A Closer Look at "Milk"

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 1:10 pm Milk movie banner
Milk movie event poster

Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas will join UNT Health Science Center, JPS Hospital, Tarrant County Breastfeeding Coalition and Tarrant County Infant Health Network for a screening of the film “Milk” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12. This documentary displays perspectives of birth and feeding across the globe, from their similarities to their differences and the controversies in between.

Writer/Director Noemi Weis and her crew spent three years conducting research and filming, which took place in 11 countries and captured stories of women from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. During production, Weis discovered the struggles faced by mothers are often universal.

“They were all talking about the same issues, united by a strong feeling of motherhood that clearly had no borders,” Weis said.

The topics covered within the film range from judgment faced by both formula-feeding and breastfeeding mothers, to the reestablishment of the milk banking system after the 1980s HIV outbreak, to new mothers finding appropriate medical support.

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Milk movie poster

To collect stories from mothers, the production team coordinated travel to 35 cities around the world. It was an exhilarating experience, as described by the team, which allowed them to witness multiple births, become immersed in customs of other cultures and compile a meaningful narrative.

“I am hoping that by uniting women from around the world in the universal topics of motherhood, birth and life, together, we will create the much needed change to offer new lives bright and healthy futures,” Weis said.

This special screening is at UNT Health Science Center in room 124N of the Medical Education and Training Building. UNT Health Science Center is located at 1000 Montgomery Street in Fort Worth. Dinner is provided for the first 100 guests. There will be a Q&A session with an expert panel following the film.

To RSVP for the event, click here.

 

Pumping on the Job: Shaina's Story

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 1:51 pm Baby Noah
Shaina and Noah at MMBNT.
Shaina and Noah are scrubbed up and ready to work.

Many moms go back to work after giving birth, which can pose a new set of accommodations needed in their workplaces. While baby may not be at the office, his or her feeding schedule can still affect mom’s work day. Pumping during the work day allows moms to maintain the milk supply needed for their babies, even without directly breastfeeding.

Our Director of Operations, Shaina, is the expert pumper in the office at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. After her son Noah was born in April 2015, she put in the extra time and effort to keep a pump schedule for a year.

Using an alarm on her phone kept Shaina on schedule. The phone would buzz every two to three hours, reminding her to take a pumping break. The MMBNT office has a lactation room, which provides moms like Shaina a comfortable, private space to pump or breastfeed. A schedule like this can be challenging to maintain, though, and she admires women who keep it up.

“It’s hard to work pumping into the day,” Shaina said. “I have supportive coworkers who would encourage me to take breaks, which was great.”

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MMBNT lactation room
Lactation room at MMBNT.

Special accommodations in the office made her pumping experience easier. One cabinet in the break room stored all of Shaina’s pumping supplies, and there was a designated area in the freezer where she kept her milk during the work day.

Shaina recommends finding fun ways to pass the time while pumping. For her, this included watching videos and looking at pictures of her son, as well as spending time on her social media. She also suggests bagging milk right after each pumping for easy storage.

While she is no longer pumping, Shaina does still breastfeed Noah. Living near the office allows her to go home during her lunch breaks to feed her son.

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Noah and Shaina

Overall, Shaina feels lucky to have had a positive experience of pumping while at work. “I had the experience I feel that all women should have,” she said, thankful for her coworkers’ good attitudes toward pumping.

She believes that having appropriate space and support from those around you is essential. "Despite any challenges", Shaina said, "it is all worth the satisfaction of knowing your baby is getting what he needs."

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