The Magic of Milk Banking: Helping Preemies Thrive

Disclaimer :: Our partners Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas sponsored and created this blog post. We are more than happy to shine the light on its upcoming capital campaign to build a space able to accommodate even more milk for those in need!

Prematurity: It’s an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of families in the United States each year. Premature birth and its complications are the number one cause of death of babies in the U.S., and those who survive are at risk for long-term health problems. While much is still unknown about its cause, one thing is certain for babies who are born too soon — breastmilk can make a world of difference.

Milk bank mothers milk jugsStudies show that an all-human milk diet can lower the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a devastating intestinal infection, by 79 percent. It also lowers the risk of late-onset sepsis and other complications. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that the benefits of breastmilk are so great, that all preterm infants should receive it.

But what about the babies who don’t have access to their mothers’ own milk?

Faced with immense stress and, sometimes, other health complications, many mothers of premature infants struggle to produce breastmilk. For some mothers, it may take days for that first drop to come in. For others, they may never produce at all. Their babies have a need for breastmilk, but seemingly don’t have access to it.

That’s where Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas comes into play.

Located in Fort Worth’s medical district, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) is a nonprofit that provides donor human milk for critically ill infants without access to their mother’s own breastmilk. Since opening in 2004, more than 6,000 generous donor moms have donated more than 3 million ounces of breastmilk that their own babies don’t need. In turn, thousands of babies in North Texas and beyond have received the “liquid gold” they need.

Mothers milk bank milk processingThe babies who receive donor milk are among the most fragile in our community, therefore safety is a top priority. Each batch of milk is analyzed for nutritional content and tested in a microbiology lab. Additionally, it is pasteurized using the Holder method of pasteurization, a gentle method that kills harmful bacteria but preserves immunological properties that are so beneficial for babies.

Quality control extends to milk donors as well. Before a mom’s milk can be used, she must complete a phone interview and medical history screening, as well as have blood drawn to test for diseases such as HIV and HTLV. Once approved, milk donors can take their milk directly to MMBNT or drop it off at one of the 43 collection sites across Texas and other states.

The demand for donor human milk has skyrocketed since the AAP’s statements, causing a major growth spurt for MMBNT. Since moving into its current location in 2012, MMBNT’s milk dispensation increased by 80 percent and the staff quadrupled from 4 to 16 people. With every square inch of available space being used for milk storage and processing, the milk bank faces an exciting new chapter in its history: A chance to establish a new building with room to grow.

mothers milk bank New building renderingThe new facility will include an office building with plenty of room for staff and community projects, as well as a 7,500 square foot, state-of-the-art milk processing wing. Staff and committed volunteers have raised funds for this project through More Room for More Miracles, the milk bank’s first capital campaign.

With a bright future ahead, MMBNT is looking forward to serving more babies than ever before. Join the team to spread the message about the ways Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas helps medically fragile infants thrive, develop, and grow. Join our Thunderclap today, and on November 14 we’ll speak with one voice to let the world know about More Room for More Miracles and the way we will serve more babies in Texas and beyond.

Mothers milk bank logoLocated in Fort Worth’s medical district, Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 to provide premature and critically ill infants with donor human milk when their own mothers’ milk is not available.

Mary Ashley Ray is the Community Relations Coordinator at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas.


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