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Connecting in our Community

marayMon, 10/02/2017 - 8:25 pm Milk bank booth at Tarrant County Infant Health Summit
Guests sitting at their table during the milk bank's luncheon
Luncheon guests of Gold Sponsor Pediatrix Medical Group - Fort Worth Neonatology.

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.

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Milk bank booth at Tarrant County Infant Health Summit
Mary Ashley and Ashley represent MMBNT at the Tarrant County Infant Health Summit.

 

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.

 

Gearing Up for North Texas Giving Day

marayTue, 08/29/2017 - 4:16 pm Staff sorts through a bag of donated breastmilk.
Staff sorts through a bag of donated breastmilk.

North Texas Giving Day is a fixture of the Dallas-Fort Worth nonprofit community. Communities Foundation of Texas created this day of philanthropy in 2009, encouraging people to give to their favorite nonprofits during one of the first community-wide giving events in the world.

 

The goal is to help build awareness and support for nonprofits in our region, and North Texas Giving Day has certainly accomplished that over the years. Since the first event in 2009, it has raised $156 million for more than 2,500 local nonprofits.

 

This year, North Texas Giving Day is Thursday, September 14 from 6 a.m. to midnight. Donors can visit the North Texas Giving Day website to learn all about the participating nonprofits, as well as make their donations. In the past, all giving had to take place on the actual day; however, scheduled giving has been added this year.

 

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Staff pours donor breastmilk into flasks.

Donors can schedule gifts from 8 a.m. Thursday, September 7 to midnight Wednesday, September 13. If donors are busy on September 14 or just want to take care of their gifts in advance, scheduled giving is a perfect option. Just like regular giving, this can be done on the North Texas Giving Day website.

 

Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas has participated for several years, and we look forward to another great year. Donations to the milk bank will go toward our programs that help us serve the most fragile members of our population, such as our charitable care program. MMBNT can be found in the Health Care & Medical Research Category of participating nonprofits. 

 

For more information about North Texas Giving Day, visit the website.

 

Event Recap: Family Expo & Big Latch On 2017

marayWed, 08/09/2017 - 7:55 pm Vendor selling baby clothes
Vendor selling baby clothes

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.

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Representatives of the African American Breastfeeding Task Force at their vendor table
The African American Breastfeeding Task Force was well-represented at the event.

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.

Helping Hands Around the Milk Bank

marayWed, 08/02/2017 - 2:58 pm 2 volunteers pose with packets they have assembled.
A volunteer moves a tray of thawing breastmilk.

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.

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2 volunteers pose with packets they have assembled.

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 maryashley@texasmilkbank.org.

Say Hello to Our Newest Dallas Depot

marayMon, 07/17/2017 - 8:49 pm Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas logo
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas logo

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is the newest breastmilk collection site for Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT), making it easier for Dallas moms to donate to babies in need.

 

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."

 

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Pasteurized, frozen donor milk, ready for use.

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.

 

The Big Latch On: Coming Back to Cowtown

marayMon, 06/19/2017 - 8:45 pm Woman with baby peruses baby items for sale.
Woman with baby peruses baby items for sale.

Just picture it: a lawn full of mothers and children, all breastfeeding at the same time, supporting and encouraging each other. It may sound like a scene out of your imagination, but it’s a real event that happens every year right here in Fort Worth. This public celebration of breastfeeding and families is called The Big Latch On.

 

Fort Worth is one of hundreds of cities to join the global initiative when mothers around the world will gather to breastfeed together. The goal is to latch all participating children at the same time for one minute. It happens annually during World Breastfeeding Week in August. The Fort Worth event takes place in conjunction with a free Family Expo from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, August 5 at Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

 

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Families gather on the Botanic Garden lawn to participate in the Big Latch On.

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 2016 event, 277 children latched at the same time. This year, more than 40 vendors and activities, including a silent auction, photo booth and photo buttons will be located indoors in Redbud and Oak Hall.

 

“I am excited to see the Family Expo & Big Latch On continue to grow in its sixth year. The event highlights the reality that our community really does support breastfeeding for all families,” Amanda Alvarez, chair of Tarrant County Breastfeeding Coalition, said. “We have had great success in improving breastfeeding education, advocacy and resource development in Tarrant County, but our work is not done. Families still struggle to reach their breastfeeding goals so we continue our efforts to build a supportive and knowledgeable network within the community. When families, businesses and community organizations come together to celebrate breastfeeding, everyone wins!”

 

The 6th Annual Family Expo & Big Latch On 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 to receive event updates and reminders. Participants in the Big Latch On should register on the global website here.

 

Newest Depot Opens in Nacogdoches

marayTue, 06/13/2017 - 1:32 pm Staff and supporters of Nacogdoches Women's Services
Staff and supporters of Nacogdoches Women's Services
Nacogdoches Women's Services celebrated their depot opening with a reception.

Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) opened its newest breastmilk donation site at Nacogdoches Women’s Services, located at 623 Russell Blvd., to make milk donation convenient for East Texas moms.

 

Mothers who want to donate their excess breastmilk can drop off their donations at Nacogdoches Women’s Services, where 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 Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.

 

“We are honored to have the opportunity to work with our community to help facilitate donated breastmilk to save the lives of medically fragile babies,” Marcia Nelson, Director of Nacogdoches Women’s Services, said.

 

MMBNT collects donor human milk from more than 40 donation sites, or depots, throughout North Texas and surrounding states. Nacogdoches Women's Services is the first depot in the Nacogdoches area and the third in East Texas.

 

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Frozen, unlogged donor human milk
Donor milk is kept safe and frozen while at Nacogdoches Women's Services.

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 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’s toll-free number, 1-866-810-0071. For more information about Nacogdoches Women’s Services, call 936-305-5277.

Spreading the Word During Preeclampsia Awareness Month

marayWed, 05/24/2017 - 1:35 pm Mother with her baby in the NICU
Mother with baby in NICU
Submitted by Danielle B.

When you think of holidays and recognitions in May, Mother’s Day is at the top of the list. However, it’s not the only time dedicated to women – the month of May is also Preeclampsia Awareness Month.

 

Present only during pregnancy and the postpartum period, preeclampsia is a serious disorder that affects approximately 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies. It’s characterized by high blood pressure in the mother, but also affects the unborn baby. The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery, so depending on when the condition develops, it can be a contributing factor to prematurity.

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Ronnie, a donor milk recipient
Ronnie, a donor milk recipient, was born early due to preeclampsia.

It usually occurs after 20 weeks gestation and can happen up to six weeks postpartum. Symptoms include swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision. The cause of preeclampsia is still being researched, though several theories focus on the production of proteins in the placenta.

 

There is no definite way to prevent preeclampsia, but making good choices such as limiting fried or junky food, exercising regularly and getting enough rest can help you manage your health. Simply being aware of the condition is also beneficial. Recently, the ABC sitcom Black-ish addressed preeclampsia on its season finale and shed some important light on this disorder.

 

Some of the fragile babies we serve are born prematurely because of complications like preeclampsia. As it's a condition experienced by many people in our community, it's important to raise awareness in order to support those who are affected.

 

For more information about the babies we serve, click here.

 

Learning & Growing at the NEC Symposium

marayWed, 04/12/2017 - 5:48 pm Jennifer Canvasser presents at the NEC Symposium.
NEC Society logo

Necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, is a severe disease affecting premature infants which causes parts of the intestine to die. A NEC diagnosis is devastating, and can often turn fatal. Jennifer Canvasser is all too familiar with the disease. Her son Micah lost his battle with NEC when he was just 11 months old. After her loss, Jennifer saw a need for a group dedicated to fighting this disease and protecting the babies at risk. In order to promote research, advocacy and support for those affected by NEC, she founded the NEC Society.

The NEC Society is always looking for new ways to support its community, and this year brought a new opportunity. It hosted its first ever NEC Symposium last week at the University of California at Davis. During this conference, medical professionals discussed the current pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of NEC; created a forum for collaboration; discussed empowerment of NEC-affected families and much more. Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas Medical Director, Erin Hamilton Spence, represented MMBNT at the symposium.

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Jennifer Canvasser presents at the NEC Symposium
Jennifer Canvasser presents at the NEC Symposium. Photo courtesty of the NEC Society.

“The NEC Society’s first symposium was unlike any conference I’ve been to,” Dr. Hamilton Spence said. “It focused on families and their experience, while teaching doctors, lactation consultants and families the areas of hope for wiping out this disease. I learned a great deal, and will definitely be going back.”

It’s important to be at the forefront of issues that affect the population served by milk banking. The NEC Symposium was a great opportunity to network with the top minds in this field, and we were grateful for the chance to connect with these colleagues for such an important issue.

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

Awareness Campaign Debuts in Fort Worth

marayWed, 04/05/2017 - 1:22 pm 360 West magazine ad
360 West magazine ad
Ad in 360 West's April issue

For our donors, recipients, volunteers and other members of our milk bank family, the mission and services of Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas are common knowledge. However, there are many people who don’t know about milk banking, or that there is a milk bank right in the heart of Fort Worth. There are those in the community who could benefit from donor milk or help spread the word to others if they simply were aware.

Thanks to an award from the ToolBox Grants Fund at the North Texas Community Foundation, the dream of reaching more people in Fort Worth is becoming a reality. The grant MMBNT received is for a community awareness campaign designed to reach people in and around the city.

The first piece of our campaign, a half-page ad in 360 West Magazine, hit mailboxes last week. Later this month, our new billboard will debut at the corner of Camp Bowie Boulevard and Bryant Irvin Road in west Fort Worth, and remain there through mid-summer.

More advertisements and elements will be released throughout the spring and summer, all with a goal of educating the community about MMBNT and donor human milk. We are so thankful for this support from the North Texas Community Foundation, and if you spot one of our ads while you’re out and about, be sure to snap a photo and let us know!