Hundreds of breastfeeding moms and supporters gathered at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden over the weekend to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week at our local Family Expo & Big Latch On. Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas sponsored the event again this year, which is organized by Tarrant County Breastfeeding Coalition.
Approximately 600 people attended the event, which included family-friendly vendors selling such items as handmade jewelry, children’s books, breastfeeding accessories, baby clothes and more. Many lactation consultants, midwives, and chiropractors displayed their services as well. The expo also featured a silent auction with packages suitable for all members of the family.
About halfway through the expo, the Big Latch On took place on the lawn just outside the exhibit halls. This event is one of thousands of Big Latch On locations around the world, organized with the mission of supporting breastfeeding and creating a mother- and baby-friendly community.
At the Botanic Garden, 195 mothers gathered to breastfeed their children all at the same time for one minute. With the inclusion of a few tandem breastfeeding moms, this location of the Big Latch On had 203 latches. Globally, 17,790 children breastfed during the one-minute count.
We are proud to have supported this successful event for another year, and are already looking forward to 2018!
For more information about the Big Latch On, click here.
There is so much happening on any given day at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. The lab staff is busy processing and pasteurizing milk, the donor coordinators are managing new and existing donors, orders are being placed and packed, milk donations are coming in and so much more. With so many different things going on at one time, extra help from volunteers can help the day run a little more efficiently.
Many volunteers help assemble educational materials for potential donors. These “new mom packets” are available at hospitals, WIC clinics and doctors’ offices for anyone who is interested in donating milk. MMBNT is on track to distribute nearly 10,000 packets this year, so when volunteers assemble these, it is an invaluable help to the Community Relations staff.
Other volunteers work alongside Program Assistants to log incoming milk donations, as well as pack orders for hospitals and outpatients. These volunteers get a first-hand look at both the beginning and the end of milk’s journey through MMBNT.
For those who qualify, there is even the opportunity to assist staff in the lab. These volunteers complete extra training in order to work in the lab, and they come in on a consistent schedule.
Most volunteers do come as individuals, but many school, workplace and charity groups have also donated their time to MMBNT. If you have an interest in milk banking and want to get involved, consider becoming a volunteer!
For more information about volunteer opportunities, email Mary Ashley Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While breastfeeding has countless benefits for both mom and baby alike, there is still work to be done to raise awareness and promote it around the world. That’s why every year, August is all about breastfeeding.
The month kicks off with World Breastfeeding Week, held August 1-7. This week is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and this year's theme "celebrates working together for the common good, which produces sustainable results, greater than the sum of our individual efforts."
The Big Latch On takes place annually during World Breastfeeding Week and is one of the week’s most well-recognized efforts. Hosts organize hundreds of Big Latch On events around the world, where moms gather to celebrate breastfeeding and latch their children all at the same time. Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas is sponsoring the local Big Latch On in Fort Worth, taking place August 5.
Recognition of breastfeeding doesn’t end after the first week of the month. The United States Breastfeeding Committee declares the whole month of August as National Breastfeeding Month and works to “build a landscape of breastfeeding support.” This includes social media outreach, facilitating conversations and building support for policy and practice changes regarding breastfeeding.
Mothers who want to donate their excess breastmilk can drop off their donations at the hospital’s Special Care Nursery on the 6th floor of the Jackson Building, located at 8200 Walnut Hill Ln. They will need to press the call button by the door to receive assistance from a nurse.
Special Care Nursery staff will securely store the milk before sending it to MMBNT in Fort Worth for pasteurization and shipment to critically ill infants. Donations are accepted 7 days a week at all hours, except during shift change from 6 to 7:30 a.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m.
"Texas Health Dallas has come full circle helping fragile infants," lactation nurse Nancy Kelley said. "Not only do we utilize donor human milk for babies in our NICU, we can now conveniently accept donations from moms in our Special Care Nursery. It's where many babies go after they have been in the NICU."
MMBNT collects donor human milk from more than 40 donation sites, or depots, throughout North Texas and surrounding areas. Texas Health Dallas is one of five depots in Dallas.
Milk bank staff screen all potential milk donors through medical histories and blood tests. Once approved, donors freeze the extra milk their own babies don’t need and take it to a depot close to home.
When milk arrives at MMBNT, staff log it into a computer barcode and tracking system. It then undergoes processing, which includes thawing, nutritional analysis, pasteurization and bacterial testing.
Donor human milk is the standard of care for premature infants without access to mother’s own milk who have severe feeding problems, intestinal malformations and life-threatening complications such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Eighty percent of MMBNT’s donor milk serves babies in hospital NICUs, while 20 percent serves medically needy babies at home.
Those who are interested in becoming donors can start the process by calling MMBNT at (817) 810-0071. To speak to someone at Texas Health Dallas's depot, call the lactation department at (214) 345-2557.
Ashley is a jack of all trades at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. As one of the newest members of the MMBNT staff, she quickly adjusted to the team mentality of the office and works in several different areas of the organization. It’s only been four months since Ashley started, but she knew it would be a good fit right from the beginning.
“My sons spent 10 days in the NICU and I breastfed them because I had done tons of research on the benefits,” Ashley said. “When I came across the milk bank, I knew it was a cause I could get behind 110 percent.”
During a typical day, Ashley has a variety of duties. She screens potential milk donors and works with existing donors who have questions or may need assistance, and she also manages the outpatient donor milk recipients. When she's away from her desk, she can be found packing orders or logging in new milk donations. All of this combines to make what Ashley considers to be the most rewarding job she's ever had.
The members of the MMBNT family can all agree that there is something special about working for this organization, and Ashley is just the same. “MMBNT is special to me because it’s a community of women supporting one another, even if they’ve never met each other and because of that, babies are genuinely receiving the best possible start to life!”
Her personal experience in the NICU with her twin boys, Ethan and Elijah, sheds light on the importance of milk banking as well.
"Moms who have babies in the NICU are experiencing an overload of emotion already and if they can't supply what their baby needs, it can be devastating. Having donor milk to rely on helps give them a little peace. Plus, babies are receiving the best possible medicine."
For more information about Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas, click here.