Cassandra’s experience with donor milk has come full circle. In 2009, her son was born 9 weeks early due to HELLP Syndrome. Because of her medical complications, she was unable to provide him with her own breastmilk for the first few days of his life. Donor milk gave him the nourishment he needed until Cassandra could take over.
Today, Cassandra’s son is a happy and healthy 8 year old, and there’s a new addition to the family as well – 5 month-old daughter Colbie. When Cassandra realized she had an oversupply of breastmilk this time around, she knew she wanted to donate it to help other babies like her son.
“I love that I am able to pay it forward,” she said. “I know someone else made the selfless decision and donated milk for my son. It feels good to have the opportunity to do the same for someone else.”
It also feels good to have the whole family together, something that Cassandra’s family has been waiting for. Cassandra’s husband was activated for deployment to Afghanistan as soon as she found out she was pregnant. While he couldn’t be there in person, he did attend Colbie’s birth via Skype. The family had a quick visit in September, where he met 3 month-old Colbie for the first time, before his return earlier this month.
While Cassandra’s experience may seem unique, she has advice that can be helpful for many breastfeeding and pumping moms. She encourages moms to be patient, and to use the resources available to them. “Educate yourself. Ask questions. Talk with other nursing moms,” she said. “There isn’t one thing that I have questioned or experienced that someone else didn’t reassure me that they experienced too!”
For more information about donating milk, click here.
Producing a plentiful amount of breastmilk is nothing new to Mandy. After the birth of her oldest child, now 4, she never stopped lactating. “Even two years after I stopped pumping, I was still making milk,” she said. “I only stopped producing when I got pregnant again!”
When her second son, Jeremiah, was born, Mandy already had a lot of knowledge surrounding breastfeeding and breastmilk. Despite all her experience, round 2 of breastfeeding came with its own set of challenges. Jeremiah had acid reflux as a newborn and needed special modifications to his diet, which required Mandy to pump and feed him with a bottle. The reflux went away, but Jeremiah only wanted breastmilk from the bottle, so Mandy became an exclusive pumper.
A friend soon realized how much milk Mandy had stored in her freezer, and suggested she look into donating it to Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. She completed the screening process and began dropping off her donations twice a week at her local depot, Arlington Green Oaks WIC Clinic. Now 19 months into her donor experience, she’s donated more than 41,000 ounces of breastmilk to medically fragile babies.
Mandy sees her abundance of breastmilk as a gift. “I believe that God has chosen me to be an overproducer so that I can bless so many fragile babies,” she said.
For the smallest of infants, one ounce of milk can provide up to three feedings. That means Mandy’s fed babies in need approximately 123,000 times.
“To know that I am feeding so many babies in addition to my own is a true blessing,” she said.
To learn more about donating milk, click here.
For years, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas has grown to meet the increased demand for donor human milk. We are bursting at the seams in our home on Magnolia Avenue, with every feasible inch of space converted for milk storage and processing. The lab is operating at almost double its capacity, employees don’t have the office space they need, and there is no room for volunteer groups or board meetings. With a need for space and a continuous increase in demand, the milk bank faces an exciting new chapter in its history: the chance to establish a new building.
MMBNT is thrilled to announce the purchase of a new home in southwest Fort Worth. Located in a light industrial park, an existing building will house all administrative staff, as well as a conference room and community education room. The adjacent property is the future site of a brand new, state-of-the-art milk processing wing. Construction on the project will begin soon.
To raise funds for this project, MMBNT staff and volunteers have been hard at work on a capital campaign, More Room for More Miracles. Thanks to gifts from foundations and individuals, the campaign is currently 89 percent funded. With just over $300,000 left to raise, we are thankful for the support we’ve received and for those considering donations.
Click here to learn more about the campaign and how you can help us make More Room for More Miracles.
Courtney has held her position as a program assistant at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas for more than a year, but four months ago she stepped into a new role: mom. Returning to work after giving birth is not easy, but Courtney’s transition has been a little smoother because of MMBNT’s policy regarding babies at work. That’s right – Courtney’s daughter Liliana is an office baby.
At MMBNT, employees can bring their babies to work with them until they are 6 months old. This allows moms to get extra bonding time with their children, and helps them ease back into their jobs. For Courtney, it has been a perfect setup.
"I enjoy being able to get the extra bonding time with her," she said. "I get to be there if she starts crying to help soothe her, and I don't have to miss her."
Courtney is not the only one who enjoys this program. The MMBNT staff love babies, so everyone gets some much-needed “baby time” each day. Courtney appreciates this, because her job requires her to be up and moving for most of the day. When Liliana is tired of baby-wearing with Courtney, she has plenty of mom’s coworkers who are ready to hold her, play with her, or rock her to sleep.
Spending extra time with her baby has given Courtney, a first time mom, peace of mind and confidence in Liliana’s development. “She gets to work on her social skills with people she sees every day, and I feel much more comfortable starting daycare at 6 months old than at 6 weeks old,” she said.
“Being able to have Liliana here at work with me has been the best experience,” she said. “She brightens my day.”
To learn more about Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas, click here.
Talicia's second son, Ty, was stillborn at 29 weeks on December 8, 2015. After her unimaginable loss, Talicia helped other babies by donating her breastmilk. In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, we are sharing Talicia's story again, beautifully written in her own words.
My husband and I had discussed having a second baby for an entire year. My high-risk pregnancy with my first son was difficult and resulted in 5 months of bed rest. So, I expected the same the second time around. However, this pregnancy was normal, and even great, until the day it wasn't.
During my regular OB visit at 28 weeks, I joyfully listened to my growing baby's heartbeat. Everything was good. Three days later, I noticed Ty wasn’t moving. When the doctor confirmed his heart had stopped beating, I think for a moment, my own heart had stopped.
No one can explain the pain from losing a child. I had prepared for Ty’s arrival and organized his nursery. I had fallen in love with the little person growing inside me. Not being able to take Ty home was hard enough. I also had to deal with my body’s natural process of producing breastmilk.
I found out about Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas from a nurse at Medical Center of Arlington. A lactation consultant explained that I could donate my milk to help save the lives of other babies. Right then, I knew I wanted to become a donor. I knew I had made the right decision when a woman at church told me about a premature baby who wouldn’t have lived without the help of donors like me.
My experience with Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas has been wonderful. Everyone has been extremely kind and the application process was quick and easy. I am amazed by the organization and am proud to have donated alongside so many other bereaved women.
Pumping and donating my milk gave me something positive and productive to do with my time. I didn't want my milk to be yet another sad reminder of Ty's passing, but a way for someone else to bring their baby home.
For more information about bereaved milk donation, click here.