The mission of Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas is to improve the health and survival of premature and critically ill infants through the safe provision of pasteurized donor human milk.
Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas envisions a future when all babies have the opportunity to receive human milk.
MMBNT was established in 2004 by a Fort Worth neonatologist when North Texas women were donating their excess breastmilk to Mothers' Milk Bank Austin. Infants in North Texas weren't priority recipients of this milk. Now, MMBNT collects donated human milk from approved donors through 42 depot sites located in Texas, Arkansas, Georgia and Florida. MMBNT has pasteurized and processed milk, cumulatively, for 131 hospital accounts in 13 states and for outpatient babies with chronic medical conditions. North Texas hospitals receive the most MMBNT milk.
The demand for donor human milk has been on the rise in the United States for the past several years. A 2012 statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics declared that hospital NICUs and physicians should recommend donor human milk (if a mother's own is not available) for premature and high-risk infants. In the 5 years following the AAP statement, the volume of milk dispensed by MMBNT increased by 81%.
Between 2004 and 2017, more than 6,500 milk donors gave more than 3.5 million ounces of milk, which MMBNT processed to help thousands of medically needy babies. MMBNT is the second-largest non-profit human milk bank in North America. MMBNT is a proud member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).
As a nurse, Sandi understands the value of breastmilk. When working a few shifts per month in her hospital's NICU, she spoke with moms about breastfeeding and donor milk. Sandi's work experience with critically ill babies coupled with the traumatic birth of her own son make her story unique.
Sandi's son Rich, spent four months in the NICU. He was born at 24 weeks due to Sandi's rapidly developing HELLP syndrome. He weighed just 15 ounces and measured 11 inches long at birth. A combination of stress, fear and pain contributed to Sandi's inability to produce breastmilk. When the neonatologists in the NICU offered donor milk as an option, the family gladly accepted. "I was so thankful for selfless women who donated their precious milk so that my son, and other critically ill babies, could have a fighting chance against NEC and other potentially fatal conditions," Sandi said.
Today, Rich is 3 years old and healthy and full of life. He is also a big brother to 6 month-old August. August, too, spent time in the NICU after her birth at 37 weeks. Her stay was much shorter, though, and after three days she went home as scheduled with Sandi. With August, Sandi says she felt like a natural at nursing. She knew this was her chance to become a milk donor and help others in a way that meant the world to her. After completing the donor screening process, she began to drop off her extra milk at her local depot, Outreach Health Services in the Dallas suburb of Rockwall.
Donating breastmilk can make a world of difference for a medically fragile baby. To Sandi, donation is synonymous with life. "I hope that my milk will contribute, in small part, to another family walking out of the NICU with their healthy baby," Sandi said. "I am so thankful for this opportunity and that things have finally come full circle for us."