Day #27: Give with Mothers’ Milk Bank in Austin, TX

Today, the four of us met with the staff of Mothers’ Milk Bank here in Austin. Their mission as a non-profit is to accept, pasteurize, and dispense donor human milk by physician prescription primarily to premature and ill infants.

Premature babies are 6-10x more likely to acquire life-threatening infections. Hospital neonatologists strongly recommend that mothers of premature infants breastfeed because a breastfed baby’s likelihood of contracting a devastating disease is substantially reduced. Unfortunately, fewer then half of mothers with premies are able to provide their babies with breast milk. This is where Mother’s Milk Bank comes in. They provide safe human milk to premature and sick babies in the hospital Neonatal ICU and to some babies who have gone home.

After touring the facility where the milk is pasteurized and tested for nutrients, Stephanie and I (and the girls) planted flowers in the entryway of the organization. The girls loved digging the holes and spreading the potting soil for the flowers.

The Milk Bank has milk drop-off locations around Texas. If you are out-of-state or too far away to deliver your milk, they will send you a special box with dry-ice to ship the milk from anywhere in the US (postage paid).

Guys – I know this one seems a little hard to imagine how to help, but the organization was really neat and they are saving the lives of tiny babies every day.

I am not sure if I should to ask a question here like, “Have you ever donated breast milk?” or just leave this space blank? :)

 

We were also able to donate a new double electric breast pump from Lansinoh.
 

 

Check out KVUE’s recent story about Mothers’ Milk Bank:
 

Comments

  1. I have thought about donating, but I kind of hate pumping. I have always had plenty of milk, so I feel like I should, but I always feel like I don’t have the time to sit and pump. I don’t think they had a drop location in SA when we lived there, otherwise I might have considered it more seriously. I don’t believe there are any places near us that accept it.

    P.S. I was hoping you were going to donate while you were there :) I think they should have some hospital grade pumps ready for people to stop in and donate, kind of like blood!

  2. this is the first time I have heard about a program like this. If I had known I would have been happy to donate – thank you for spreading the word about these different types of organizations – the ones we don’t hear about all the time.

  3. Soni A. says:

    I have donated! In fact, I’m proud to say, I’ve donated so much that they gave me a PLAQUE! haha…it’s sort of funny and where do you hang such a thing??? I had a preemie (my second child) but had plenty of milk – literally, I was pumping for quints. I never have liked pumping, but with a preemie, one sometimes just doesn’t have a choice. I’m a little miffed that they pasteurize the milk because that kills a lot of the benefits, but I do think it’s much more beneficial for those tiny ones to have breast milk than formula because they’ve got so much to work out in their gut before they can grow. Simply put, the NICU is a very tough place for a lot of families and this organization brings some joy and relief to a lot of distraught parents – I’ve seen it first hand. Good highlight!

  4. I think this is a great idea. When I have another little one (in a few years!) I want to seriously consider doing this if I have the milk supply!

  5. Having had a baby in the NICU, the sight of the tiny babies and a lot of them not visited very often, I think this is pretty neat. A little odd, maybe? but a great idea. Having just had another baby, I will definitely consider this. I had an aunt that donated back in the day…or so I heard that she did. If this will benefit a little baby in need because his/her mom cannot, then I definitely think it’s a great thing!

  6. Vicarious Chelsea says:

    I feel guilty saying this… I thought about donating when I was nursing my oldest child, because I had so much extra milk! I got the paperwork, but needed a special doctor appointment and forms filled out (this was in CA), and I got overwhelmed with it (combined with being sleep deprived and freaked out first time mom), so it never happened. When my second came along, he drank every drop and I didn’t make any extra :(
    I think this is a great cause! Thanks for letting people know it’s available!

  7. I have donated breast milk. There was a donation lcocation in San Jose where I used to live, and they sent a nurse to my home to give me the basic blood tests and picked it up from my home. I was fortunate that there was one locally, but people who don’t live near a milk bank can mail the milk packed in dry ice. They make it as easy as they can to donate, and when you produce a lot of extra, it is an easy way to bless others.

  8. I donated to a friend when she went back to work and needed more than she could pump. But, guiltily, I haven’t donated to a bank because of how much I dislike pumping. It will be my goal to see if there is a place like this in Tucson and if so, how much milk I need to make a donation.

  9. Mamatini says:

    What a great idea! I love the idea of giving things you have and don’t need or can replenish, hair, blood, marrow, breast milk, skills…

  10. We’ve adopted 11 children and our youngest son was the recipient of much donated breastmilk! there is a great site called “milkshare’ where adoptive moms and “milk mommas” can hook up as well and not have to pay as you do through a milk bank…. fyi!

  11. Love this! I pumped for the 1st year with my son because he never latched on and I ended up going back to work full-time. When he was done with my milk, I looked for opportunities to give but milkshare wasn’t as easy to use back then. A great idea on a way to give for those who have the milk resources :)

  12. I didn’t know this was even possible. Wish I’d known before letting the tap dry up after my weaning my last baby. Bummer! Very cool story though!

  13. We have a program like this in the Twin Cities but I don’t think it’s a non-profit. I think it’s associated with a local birth center and I think they generally distribute the milk to adopted babies and to mothers who are having a hard time with breastfeeding.

    I think it’s a great idea though! My son was in the NICU for two weeks when he was born and I saw first hand just how tiny those preemies really are. They can use all the help they can get! I was provided with a hospital grade pump and ended up coming home with so much milk I ended up using it when transitioning him to solid foods. At the end of our 13-month breastfeeding relationship I think I actually had to throw some away which JUST KILLED ME! I think any breastfeeding mother knows, that stuff is liquid gold!

    Stephanie, did you donate milk? Or are you finished breastfeeding?

  14. To those moms who have donated milk: Thank you! It is an incredible gift that you are able to give!
    I supplement with donated breast milk because I am unable to produce enough to exclusively nurse my two month old. I was able to find a few moms in my area who were willing to share milk through the Eats on Feets organization.

  15. Great organization! I wanted to donate milk early on (could have donated litres without even pumping – slight over production issue!) but here in Canada we have exactly one bank, across the country in Vancouver.

    I still looked into it and discovered that I can’t donate milk (or blood) because I lived in Europe during the 80s.

  16. I donated privately in 2005 to a woman named Jen Connell who set up a website called http://www.feedmybaby.com (no longer active). She had a double mastectomy and purchased her own pasteurizer, required the same doctor’s information, etc. as the milk banks do. She was able to give both of her boys almost all breast milk this way. I had a ton of extra milk when I nursed my son. I think I was freezing at least 6 oz. a day, and I was thankful to have found someone to use it.

    This time around, I hardly have any extra milk. I’m not sure if I’m not producing as much in my old age or if I pumped more for my son than I realize. I have tossed around the idea of continuing to pump after she weans for a month or two to have a bunch to donate.

  17. I’m glad you made a little video, it captures Stephanie’s true joy in giving :)
    I didn’t even know about places like this, glad for the info.

  18. Love, love this idea. I’m on my way to donate!! Lucy – I live in San Antonio too and I found a few location drop offs in town – http://www.milkbank.org/donate-milk/dropping-off-your-milk/

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