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

August is All About Breastfeeding

marayWed, 07/26/2017 - 2:00 pm A family sits outside on a picnic blanket
A family sits outside on a picnic blanket
A family waits to participate in the 2016 Big Latch On.

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."


Family visiting the MMBNT booth at an expo
MMBNT exhibits at many events during the month of August.

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.


We'll be sharing facts and photos about breastfeeding all month on our social media. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be a part of the action!


Community Post: Breastfeeding & Pumping Tips

marayWed, 06/28/2017 - 5:39 pm Mother breastfeeding baby
Mother breastfeeding baby

Our Facebook community is full of parents with great advice. Here are some of their suggestions for new moms who are just starting their breastfeeding and pumping journeys!

Nourish your body.

"Drink a glass of water every time you nurse. I put the little 1.5 gallon tanks in the nursery and bedroom so it's always visible and reminding me to fill up my glass." - Ashley F.

"Lots of water and lots of protein!" - Krista L.

Storage is key.

"Freeze bags flat first!" - Janna C.

"Buy a deep freezer!" - Beth V. (Thanks for Scott C. for the same suggestion!)

Baby sitting among frozen milk bags
Donor Chelsea M.'s son with her milk stash.

Ask for help.

"It's not always magically easy. Ask for help!" - Sara L.

"Don't be afraid to go back to the hospital and talk to a lactation consultant." - Shawn B.

"Don't be afraid to ask for help! And when you're up at 3 a.m. nursing your baby and you're exhausted, there are millions of moms doing the exact same thing; you're not alone!" - Bree E.

Be persistent.

"Don't be discouraged if you are unable to breastfeed the first few weeks. Just keep trying (it took me 3 months)." - Briana H.

"Never give up on your worst day!" - Angela S. (Thanks to Rachel R. and Alyse O. for similar suggestions.)

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

What is an IBCLC?

marayThu, 04/20/2017 - 1:21 pm Donor coordinator Carol is also an IBCLC
International Lactation Consultant Association logo

While welcoming a new baby is an exciting time, navigating motherhood can be tricky. Having a strong support system can be key, and for many moms, that team includes a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are trained in clinical management of breastfeeding and work with moms to help them meet their breastfeeding goals and work through problems they may have.


A certified lactation consultant is known as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, or IBCLC. This certification comes from the International Lactation Consultant Association, and gives moms the peace of mind that the professional they’re working with is well-qualified to help her with breastfeeding.

Donor coordinator Carol at a health fair
Carol, one of our donor coordinators, is an IBCLC.

At Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas, we have two IBCLCs on our staff. Donor coordinator Carol says that in her experience as an IBCLC, many parents are surprised by the breastfeeding process. “Moms who have not breastfed before do not realize how intense the first couple of weeks of breastfeeding are,” she said. She’s spent a lot of time assuring moms that it is normal to struggle, and that things will get better.


She also emphasizes the importance of support for new moms and how it positively impacts their experiences, especially early on when struggles can be more pronounced. “Once the early days, or first 6 weeks, are over, things tend to settle down and become more of what mom and dad had expected,” Carol said.


Every mom’s experience is unique, and there are a number of ways to find a support system. Working with an IBCLC is just one of the many great options moms have when they are looking for resources. For more information about IBCLCs, visit the ILCA website here.

Make the Most of Your Milk Storage Space

marayWed, 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.

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

marayWed, 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.

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

marayWed, 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.


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.


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

marayThu, 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

marayThu, 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.

Throwback Thursday: Breastmilk-ology

marayWed, 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


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.

Latching On In Cowtown Supports Breastfeeding Worldwide

marayWed, 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.

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. 

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.