Tips to Reduce Public Breastfeeding Anxiety

Tips to Reduce Public Breastfeeding Anxiety

In the U.S., breastfeeding in public is a woman’s right, supported by law in all 50 states. However, the practical side of this can be an issue, and many new mothers worry about negative reactions to feeding their baby in front of strangers. The more we can normalize breastfeeding, the more it will be accepted as part of our culture for feeding and nurturing our children.

Here are a few tips to ease the anxiety of breastfeeding in public:

·       Practice at home. Try in front of a mirror or have someone you trust observe. Start normalizing breastfeeding at home with visitors. What may feel like exposing your body to the world might not even be visible to others.

·       Plan ahead. Going to the store? Start by going somewhere you know that has breastfeeding accommodations. Try an app like Mom’s Pump Here that can help you search for a private place to breastfeed.

·       Invest in a good nursing bra. Not only is this important for comfort and supports good breast health, but there is nothing worse than having to fumble when settling down to feed your baby.

·       Wear layers. A stretchy tank can be versatile, and an oversized t-shirt or button down can act as a cover or blanket.

·       Choose a comfortable location. Find a quiet area like a park bench or a shady spot under a tree. It looks nothing more than a mama snuggling with her baby to potential onlookers.

·       Watch your baby’s cues. A crying baby who is hungry and frantic could draw attention and add to your anxiety. A calm baby will more than likely latch quickly and successfully.

·       If, on the off chance you encounter negative comments, think of a response that is both firm and polite. No need to apologize; you are doing nothing wrong. A kind smile often is all you need to deter onlookers.

If you have questions or need advice, contact The Milk Bank for free advice and lactation support through our B.R.A. @ TMB services!

Summer Pumping Tips

Summer Pumping Tips

June 21 is the first day of summer. Read how you can prepare for the heat!

Showing love to families in need

Showing love to families in need

Drops of Love is a funded program of The Milk Bank to support babies in need of PDHM whose families are unable to afford it. Kristin shares her experience as a recipient, and encourages the community to give financially for families like hers.

CONTEST: Share your story & cheer on IUPUI Jags!

CONTEST: Share your story & cheer on IUPUI Jags!

The Milk Bank is participating in IUPUI’s Not-Profit Day on Saturday, Feb. 9. We have 4 tickets to the 1 p.m. men’s basketball game against UIC Flames and would like to give them to one of you!

Frigid temps, illness and breastfeeding

Frigid temps, illness and breastfeeding

With frigid temperatures blowing across the Midwest, The Milk Bank offers a few suggestions on breastfeeding during colder months and the presence of illness.

Intentional Living in 2019

Intentional Living in 2019

It’s the time for resolutions. There is such a demand on mothers to be everything and more for yourself, your significant other, your kids. After the miraculous process of growing and then birthing a baby, moms are expected to achieve superhero status in home organization, child-rearing and physical activity.

The 12 Days of Milk Banking

The 12 Days of Milk Banking

In the spirit of the holiday season, The Milk Bank staff is embracing the popular song, The 12 Days of Christmas, to showcase our milk banking process as we lead up to Christmas Day. Follow along with us, and enjoy your families throughout the holidays!

Donor story: When ‘thanks’ is not enough

Donor story: When ‘thanks’ is not enough

What do you do when you’re on bed rest for seven weeks? Well, not much, according to Lynn Parkhurst. “I just laid there. I learned how to crochet. I caught up on a lot of shows,” the Wisconsin mom of two said. Both of her…

But Not Forgotten: Bereavement Family Day October 2018

But Not Forgotten: Bereavement Family Day October 2018

On Saturday, October 6th, the Garrett's Gift memorial tree grew a little bigger. The Milk Bank hosted families from across the Midwest for our bi-annual Bereavement Family Day. Twice a year, in April and October for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, we gather in support of families grieving their little ones.

Garrett's Gift bereavement donation program is designed for mothers who have chosen to donate their milk to honor their child's memory. We engrave a golden leaf with each child's name and birthdate to add to the memorial tree in the front area of our office. For many mothers and their families, donating after a loss helps the healing process through giving other vulnerable babies in need the gift of a fighting chance with safe donor milk.

Seven families traveled from Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana to come together. We honored Theo Dean Schimmell, William Parker Rewers, Josephine "Josie" Ethel Sweigart, Miles Andrew Scott, Hazel Nora Burvee, Addilynn Jo Swarringin, and Peter Anthony Mryan.

Theo's mother Kirsten Schimmell donated nearly 1500 ounces of milk and connected Miles' mother Ashley Scott to The Milk Bank.

Kirsten Schimmell with her donation in Theo’s name

Kirsten Schimmell with her donation in Theo’s name

Kirsten and Todd Schimmell, Theo’s parents

Kirsten and Todd Schimmell, Theo’s parents

The Scott family brought six family members along, Miles' grandparents and great grandparents, making a crew of eight to honor their sweet boy.

Ashley and Michael Scott and their extended family

Ashley and Michael Scott and their extended family

Miles' and Theo's engraved leaves are next to each other on the memorial tree.

Theo and Miles bring their families together through the memorial tree

Theo and Miles bring their families together through the memorial tree

The Burvee family brought along Hazel's older brothers Kellen and Milo who lit up the room as soon as they arrived!

The Burvee family

The Burvee family

Hazel’s brothers Kellen and Milo

Hazel’s brothers Kellen and Milo

Addilynn's family traveled from Missouri and made sure to take lots of pictures of and with her beautiful leaf.

Addilynn’s parents and grandparents

Addilynn’s parents and grandparents

Brittany Morris’ mother snaps a quick family photo

Brittany Morris’ mother snaps a quick family photo

Many in our community will recognize the Sweigarts, the family behind Josie's Impact, a pay-it-forward campaign celebrating the memory of Patricia and Mark's first child. Josie's leaf was added to the memorial tree over a year ago, but the Sweigarts had been unable to attend a family day until now. They brought Josie's brother Gray who is growing up so fast!

Patricia, Mark, and Gray Sweigart in front of the memorial tree

Patricia, Mark, and Gray Sweigart in front of the memorial tree

Janet and her oldest son Omar traveled through construction traffic from Chicago. They brought Janet's donation on dry ice for the drive down. Janet chose the perfect spot for Peter's leaf on the memorial tree.

Janet next to her son Peter’s leaf

Janet next to her son Peter’s leaf

The Rewers family joined us from Effingham County, Illinois, where The Milk Bank and the health department recently partnered to open a milk depot. Not only did William's mother Meghan bring her own donation, but the family brought the milk depot's entire shipment with them, too!

Meghan, James, and Kael Rewers, William’s family

Meghan, James, and Kael Rewers, William’s family

“In loving memory of William Parker Rewers”

“In loving memory of William Parker Rewers”

Effingham County Health Department’s milk depot shipment personally delivered by the Rewers family

Effingham County Health Department’s milk depot shipment personally delivered by the Rewers family

The Milk Bank team and the communities we serve are thankful for each and every amazing bereavement donor and their incredible families.

The Milk Bank Spotlight: Our Own Adriana Tebbe

The Milk Bank Spotlight: Our Own Adriana Tebbe

President Lyndon B. Johnson authorized the creation of National Hispanic Heritage Week on September 17, 1968. Nearly twenty years later, the designated week was expanded to a full month of celebration from September 15 to October 15. This year is the 50th anniversary! We take this time of year to honor the heritage and cultures Hispanic and Latinx mothers and their families.

Statistics reveal that on average, more than 80% of Latinx mothers initiate breastfeeding. This is a statistic worth celebrating during and beyond this month! Latinx breastfeeding advocates in the U.S. and South America also speak to the work to improve breastfeeding duration and exclusive breastfeeding rates.  

Here in the Midwest, The Milk Bank works alongside medical professionals, social services, and new mothers to provide growing families with bilingual, culturally mindful, and accurate educational information, resources, and support services to ensure all infants have access to safe human milk.  

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In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, we interviewed someone we love and work with every day here at our office. Adriana Tebbe is the Bilingual Donor Specialist at The Milk Bank and she shares more about her work and why National Hispanic Heritage Month is important to our mission.

Tell us more about your professional background and what brought you to The Milk Bank team.
I have a master’s degree in Social Work and my concentration is in Child Welfare. I have always worked for not for profit organizations in the Child Welfare field. I am also passionate about women’s rights and empowerment. Working at The Milk Bank takes on some of both of those interests. I am a mother of a 5-year-old who was breastfed and struggled to do so. So, I am happy to be able to help mothers who struggle with the process feel empowered and more secure in knowing that they are doing what is best for their baby.

You started as a pasteurization tech and transitioned into the role of bilingual donor specialist.  How has your experience in pasteurization helped you connect with donors and others in the community?
I started working for The Milk Bank full time in May of 2016. I worked in pasteurization in the mornings and did the donor screenings, outreach, etc. in the afternoons. I transitioned into my role as a Bilingual Donor Specialist full time about a year after. When speaking to others about what we do at The Milk Bank, my experience in pasteurization has helped because I can better explain the steps it takes to get the milk ready to be pasteurized and why we pasteurize the milk. I feel more prepared to answer more specific questions that others may have when at events and when screening potential donors on the phone. 


September 15 – October 15 is National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month. How does your identity shape your work at The Milk Bank?
I feel very passionate about reaching out and hopefully helping mothers who are of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage be knowledgeable about breastfeeding, about raising their children the way they want, and feel empowered to do so without pressure or restraints. Language barriers can certainly be a detriment and being able to provide information in Spanish to mothers who want to learn about The Milk Bank and the services we provide can be helpful to all involved.

Why is it important to talk about and engage with Latino parents and families about the benefits of breastfeeding, the availability of resources and support, and the power of milk donation and donor milk?
I feel that disseminating information to all families and mothers is important, no matter what language they speak or where they are from. Having the ability to provide services in Spanish, allows The Milk Bank to be more inclusive and aware of those who are part of our community. It also means we are aware of the limited resources families who speak other languages have due to communication barriers.

What does The Milk Bank offer to Spanish-speaking families?
At The Milk Bank we can complete all donor screenings, approvals, and breastfeeding assistance in Spanish. We can also work with mothers who have lost a baby to donate their milk and have a leaf hung on our Garrett's Gift Giving Tree in memory of their baby.

Adriana and her family.

Adriana and her family.

To learn more about the National Hispanic Heritage Month, visit the federal website. To learn more about the bilingual services The Milk Bank offers, give us a call at (317) 536-1670. 

Maddy's NICU Story

Maddy's NICU Story

by Jami Marvin, The Milk Bank Production Director

September is NICU awareness month. Most of the time, you hear about NICU babies being small, premature and extremely fragile babies. What you don’t hear about nearly as often, though, are the full-term, normal weight babies that seem to be perfectly healthy.

That’s what I had. My daughter was due on October 26th, 2010. She decided she wasn’t ready, and on Halloween of that year I finally went into labor. In the wee hours of the morning on November 1st, after several hours of laboring at home, my husband and I headed toward the hospital. When we arrived, I was in full-blown active labor. We were quickly placed in a room, and found out that I was already dilated to 6 centimeters! Everything was going great, and I requested an epidural. After receiving the epidural, I was bedridden to wait out the rest of labor. From there, things didn’t go as planned. My labor stalled out, and I was put on oxygen. I stopped progressing even after my water broke. It got to the point where my daughter was just not going to arrive safely without going in for a c-section.

Fast forward to being back in our room, post-surgery, with a beautiful 8lb 10oz baby girl. We had about 2 hours with her.

Our family just after Maddy was born

Our family just after Maddy was born

Then, one of the nurses noticed something off about her nose. The pediatrician on duty had our daughter sent to the NICU at the hospital where I delivered, and ordered a CT scan. My husband was able to visit her in her NICU room, but it took hours before I was able to go to that floor to see her.

What the doctors at that hospital saw on the CT scan sent us into a whirlwind. Our bodies as parents were functioning on autopilot. The doctors were talking to us, but all I could do was nod. I couldn’t really process what they were telling us.

Our daughter was sent for more testing at Riley Hospital for Children, which was across town from where I was recovering. She was barely 12 hours old. I was devastated to say the least, but I began to pump breastmilk for my husband to take to her. I pumped the smallest amounts of colostrum, but it was something and he took it to her as soon as he could.

After an MRI and more testing, it was concluded that our daughter was born with extra sacs of spinal fluid that were inside of her skull. These sacs needed to be removed as soon as possible. One had developed in the back of her brain, and another in the front of her brain, causing cartilage to grow and block part of her nasal passage. We were lucky enough to have an otherwise healthy baby, so while she waited in the hospital for her surgery, I was able to nurse her while we were together, and she took my pumped milk through bottles when we were apart.

Maddy before her surgery

Maddy before her surgery

At 16 days old, on my husband’s birthday, our daughter underwent about an 8-hour brain surgery. Our family came to support and be with us while we waited. It was the longest wait of our lives. The nurses would come and update other families of the surgery patients periodically. But I never spoke to those nurses. I couldn’t. There are just no words to describe that feeling unless you’ve been in that situation. About the only thing I did, because it was the only thing I could do, was pump. I pumped a ton during her entire hospital stay. It felt like it was the only thing I could do during her surgery. I sat in that little room and pumped away.

She came out of a successful surgery, and we were able to see her pretty quickly in the recovery room. Her little head had a helmet made of gauze and her eyes were swollen shut. I don’t know what I had expected, but it was shocking.

Maddy just after her surgery

Maddy just after her surgery

I was told I could resume nursing her as soon as she showed interest. She was heavily sedated and hooked up to so many machines, so she took only pumped milk for the first day. Once her swelling began to subside and her helmet was removed, the nurses helped maneuver all of her many cords so that I could nurse her. She didn’t skip a beat and knew exactly what to do.

Maddy three days after her surgery

Maddy three days after her surgery

We spent an additional 4 days at the hospital after her surgery while she recovered. We went home the Monday before Thanksgiving that year, and we were definitely thankful.

Now, Maddy is a sassy, softball-playing almost 8-year-old! She has had other surgeries since then, and still has more to come, but she is the strongest little girl I know. I am proud to be her mommy, and without her experience in the NICU, I wouldn’t be doing what I do today to help other NICU babies!

Maddy and me today :)

Maddy and me today :)