| by Jessy Diamba | Established in 2004 in Fort Worth, the nonprofit organization provides premature and critically ill infants with pasteurized human donor milk when their mother’s milk isn’t available, hence the name.
Now in its 11th year, MMBNT is growing at a rate as large as the babies it serves. The growth amassed in the past year alone is quite significant: 654 approved milk donors, 441,295 ounces of donor milk processed and dispensed, 100 hospitals served and eight new milk depots/collection sites. The non-profit is just getting started.
“A lot of people don’t even know we’re here. [Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas] is one of the leading human milk providers in the United States,” says Amy Trotter, community relations director at the milk bank. “We strive to reach potential donor moms with great tools and constant communication.”
Similar to a blood bank, donor mothers have to be approved first through a three-tiered approval process. Donor milk is collected, logged into a sophisticated bar code system and is then pasteurized and tested for bacteria before packaging and shipment.
“Every batch of milk is tested, as safety is super important to us here at the milk bank.” Eighty percent of pasteurized milk is delivered to hospital NICUs by physician prescription, and 20 percent nourishes ill infants at home. Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas is a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, a governing entity that sets regulations and protocols for how to take milk and properly pasteurize it.
MMBNT attempts to make milk collection from donor mothers as easy as possible. “Asking them to bring their milk here on West Magnolia isn’t always handy, so we have multiple milk collection sites — 38, to be exact — at hospitals and WICs.” Some of these collection sites, called milk depots, are also located outside of Texas in states like Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. If a mother can’t make a trip to the nearest one, a courier system is in place to pick up donated milk straight from home. “The true heroes here are our donor moms, the most generous people in the world!”
To learn more about milk banking or to become a milk donor, call 817.810.0071 or visit texasmilkbank.org.