human donor milk
liquid gold saves preemie lives
ev'ry single day
I know that by now you all know Ike has benefited tremendously from human donor milk. He's nearly 19 months old and we still get a weekly supply of milk for him from the Mother's Milk Bank here in Austin. I firmly believe that this milk has helped him in ways we can barely comprehend. I know that sounds dramatic, but I really think it's true. His immune system needs all the help it can get, and with the added issues of reflux and aspiration, breast milk has always been his best option.
When he was born at 28 weeks, the doctors in the NICU encouraged me to pump even though he was getting most of his nutrition initially from IVs. Fortunately, I was able to pump. I pumped and pumped and pumped and pumped. At that time, Ike got mere drops of my milk everyday, but it was enough to stave off horrible complications like the dreaded (and deadly) necrotizing entercolitis.
Some mothers are unable to pump like I did, though. The stress, the medications, the sheer earliness of their babies – there are lots of factors that prevent mothers from pumping when they have tiny, tiny preemies in the NICU. At these times, doctors prescribe human donor milk and the milk bank snaps into action. They deliver pasteurized breast milk to the hospital that is administered to the babies via tube feeds. Every day, this donated milk saves lives.
I ended up with so much milk that I donated over 200 ounces to the milk bank when Ike came home. Then suddenly, we were hit with the trach and the stress nearly dried up my milk. Even when I pumped every two hours for weeks on and and took milk-inducing supplements, I still couldn't produce enough milk for my seriously ill baby.
The milk bank stepped in, providing Ike enough milk to sustain him and help him grow. And now, as he transitions to high calorie, fortified prescription formula, we still mix it with donor milk so that we can get as many antibodies and immunities in him as we can.
I tell you all of this because next Thursday, March 25th, the Mother's Milk Bank here in Austin is having a Grand Opening Celebration. They've just moved to HUGE new offices and they (deservedly) want to show them off. You'll get wine and snacks, and babes in arms are welcome.
You'll get a tour of the facilities – they are SO EXCITED to be able to show off the (three!) pasteurization labs, the meeting rooms available to the public, the drive-thru for donor milk drop-off, and so much more.
Plus, if you drop by you can see the giant picture of Ike up on the wall. 🙂
So, please, if you're at all interested in how donating milk works, drop by the Milk Bank the evening of the 25th between 5 and 7. It's on Medical Arts Street, Suite 12 (in Medical Arts Square). It's right there at the corner of Dean Keeton and Medical Arts. Parking is free and plentiful.
Hooray for breast milk! Hooray for milk donors! And hooray for the Mother's Milk Bank!