It’s the season of giving and kindness. For Sena Hineline of Indianapolis, giving to The Milk Bank – even after her breastfeeding days – is an important contribution to our community’s future.
“My son was full term, but I had heard stories of preemie babies and wanted to help,” said Sena. “So I got involved in the mission through donation.”
Sena first learned of The Milk Bank through a friend who had donated her excess breast milk.
“It’s something anyone can get involved in: money, time and even your network. I thought that being able to provide to babies in need was something that has a verifiable impact on their livelihood. I have two kids now, and I am very interested in ensuring that all kids have a good childhood.”
One of the most common and most devastating illnesses premature or fragile infants can acquire is necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), an intestinal disease. Research shows that pasteurized donor human milk can help prevent NEC and decrease the risk of a variety of other complications.
When Sena’s son was born in 2014, she contacted a donor mother coordinator at The Milk Bank to give her milk to those in need.
“The process (to become a donor mother), although it can seem to be complicated, is actually super quick. Even if you have the “mom brain” going on, you can handle it,” said Sena. “I got a blood test to check for communicable diseases, and that was it. I brought frozen milk that was taking up space in my freezer.”
Donors can provide excess milk until their baby has reached his or her second birthday. Sena was an active donor mother up until her son reached the age of two, but she didn’t stop her involvement there.
“Eventually I begged (the staff) to let me serve on the board of directors,” said Sena. “I’m rolling off next year, but I plan to continue involvement. I have monthly financial donations set up, and I always share social stuff and participate in events.”
The Milk Bank offers support to families who need financial assistance, and donations like Sena’s help to make our Drops of Love program possible.
“By providing financial donations, you help to feed infants and support mothers who may not be able to afford the purchase of donor milk. Financial donations also ensure that The Milk Bank has the equipment and staffing that they need to fulfill this mission.”
As the calendar year ends, Sena encourages people across the Midwest to support the most vulnerable population through The Milk Bank.
“You can help by donating money or by donating time. Tell folks with preemie babies to contact The Milk Bank so they have access to donor milk for their babies,” said Sena. “Tell every lactating mother you know – there are many people who don’t know that milk donation is an option.”