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.
At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we value community involvement. Sharing our mission with others means more people understand the importance of donor milk, which can inspire some moms to become milk donors and others to use donor milk when they are in need. It is also a way to support other people and organizations in our area who share similar missions and values with us.
In the past few weeks, our staff has been busy participating in many events throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We hosted our 13th anniversary luncheon, Little Babies and Big Dreams, at the end of September. Medical professionals and friends of the milk bank gathered to celebrate another year of milk banking and raise funds for our programs, all while enjoying lunch and a variety of great prizes in our raffle.
In addition to hosting our own luncheon, the milk bank was out in full force at conferences and other events. We mingled with families at the Texas Health Harris Southwest NICU Reunion and educated employees at the Lockheed Martin Volunteer/Nonprofit Agency Fair. We were thrilled to share our mission and discuss volunteer opportunities with Lockheed employees, as Lockheed’s AERO Club has been a financial supporter of MMBNT for many years.
Staff also attended the Tarrant County Infant Health Summit held in Colleyville, and showcased our educational materials available for healthcare professionals during the Preemie Parent Summit held at Cook Children's Medical Center. Our schedules have been full, and connecting with other infant health professionals and advocates has made it all worth it.
Thousands of ounces of milk flow through Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas every week, so proper handling and organization in the office and lab is a must. Each deposit from each donor is carefully recorded and tracked all the way through processing and pasteurization, starting in the logging room.
The logging room is the beginning of the journey for donated human milk. This is where frozen donations are stored right when they arrive at the milk bank, whether from a depot or delivered directly from a donor. There are program assistants on staff at MMBNT who monitor this milk and ensure it is logged into the database, Timeless Medical Systems, correctly.
Each deposit of milk is organized according to its donor. Each donor has her own ID number in the Timeless database, and her profile includes her donation history and relevant health information. The program assistants also take note of the earliest and latest pump date in each deposit, as well as the volume of the deposit in ounces. All this information goes into Timeless, as well as on an index card stored with the deposit for easy identification.
The database also records the specific freezer where each deposit is stored. The logging room contains many freezers with dozens of deposits in each one, so recording the location in the database makes it easier to find a specific deposit. This particularly comes in handy for the lab staff, who at the end of the day gather all deposits that will be processed the next day.
With so many moving parts in the milk bank, organization is vital to everyday operations. This first step helps set up a smooth process for every ounce that enters our doors.
Premature infants enter the world in a fragile state. Without the immune systems of full-term babies, they have an increased risk for complications and require special care that often includes a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. One complication that can affect premature infants is sepsis, a life-threatening illness, which is recognized during the month of September with Sepsis Awareness Month.
Sepsis is a severe infection that is found in the blood and spreads throughout the body. There are a variety of symptoms, including apnea (difficulty breathing), decreased heart rate, temperature instability and pale or mottled coloring or jaundice.
While this infection can be a cause for concern, studies have shown that breastmilk lowers the risk of late-onset sepsis, or sepsis that occurs after the first week of life. In fact, every 0.15 ounces of human milk per pound that a very low birth weight infant receives during the first 28 days of life decreases the odds of sepsis by almost 20 percent.
When a mother’s own milk is not available, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas provides fragile babies with miraculous, life-saving donor human milk, and helps protect them from complications such as this. For more information about donor milk, click here.