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Administration

NEW Milk Analysis Process at The Milk Bank

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The Milk Bank continually seeks to provide the highest quality of safe Pasteurized Donor Human Milk (PDHM) to infants in most need. We know that the variability of nutritional content of donor milk can be a concern for the adequate growth of fragile infants. We are pleased to be able to provide nutritional analysis of PDHM for each target pool of donor milk. We intentionally mix donors’ milk in volume-specific ways to obtain a minimum of 20 calories per ounce for hospital clients.

Each bottle of milk now contains a label that lists overall caloric content and protein content. To determine and verify these values, milk is tested from each pool of donor milk. Our equipment reads fat, lactose, and protein content of the milk, allowing for specific pooling of milk to ensure adequate calories and protein content. Knowledge of the nutritional content of milk will:

  1. allow for targeting milk for specific babies and
  2. determine specific fortification processes.

While this does not replace the process of monitoring babies’ individual growth, it is an extra tool to ensure optimum nutrients for fragile infants in hospital care. We’re happy to share there will be no increase in the purchase cost for all of our PDHM.

Do you have questions about our new process we can help answer? Email us at engagement@themilkbank.org!

From the Executive Director: Mission Moments

When I reflect back on my six years with the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank, what sticks out the most are the “mission moments,” those times when the generosity of our donors and supports makes what we do here worthwhile. And while the administration of our growing milk bank doesn’t leave me much time to spend on direct service any longer, I always hear about mission moments from my staff.

The most memorable of these acts of love bring smiles or tears, or smiles through the tears:

After his wife became a bereavement donor following the death of their newborn son, a donor’s husband made an unplanned stop at the milk bank while the family was traveling through Indiana to visit friends. The entire family came in to view our giving tree, a display that memorializes babies whose families have donated in their honor. The children found the leaf with their brother’s name, and we took pictures of all of the family members in front of the leaf.  Everyone in the office cried that day, and the family was able to understand our deep appreciation for the lifesaving nourishment they provided to other fragile infants and their families through the milk bank.

We value every donation that we receive, but it was a gift that resulted from another unexpected visit to our building that sticks with me. The parent of a newborn baby that received lifesaving milk through our services stopped at our office after seeing the sign on our door. Right on the spot, he cut a check to benefit our Milk Money & More fund. This parent said he committed to a donation to the milk bank in the neonatal intensive care unit of their local hospital after his fragile newborn received our donor milk before mom was able to produce her own. What a great feeling for us to know that our service is valued in the community.

A mom in our office building uses our break room to pump for her baby. Without fail, she donates what she pumps one day each week. Her consistent commitment helps us meet the critical shortage of donor milk and save more newborns in need.

This story is a little more personal, but shows that anyone can play an important role in delivering the gift of lifesaving breast milk. The day that our pasteurizer broke down, we had milk that needed to be pasteurized, and we had to get it to another milk bank to make that happen. My son dropped what he was doing, drove the milk up to another milk bank where the director stayed late to pasteurize it for us.

I often think of these moments and others when things get stressful or may not be going right. They are what I’ll remember when I’m retired and taking stock of what I’ve done during my lifetime. And, I’m proud to share this unshakeable bond with such amazing mothers, their families and all of our supporters.

Celebrating Growth: TMB New Phone Systems

As most of you will remember from our previous post, we have been using a vintage phone system that had seen better days. This isn't a post about those old phones, well, sorta. This is a post about how we celebrate our hard work.

Once thing you should know about our Executive Director, Janice, is this: She's makes it a priority to celebrate our achievements. Whether it be flowers for an record month or lunch to celebrate a milestone, Janice is our cheerleader.

Yesterday, we celebrated our new phone system by SMASHING those old phones and eating smashed Oreo pie.

Here are some of the highlights! The rest of the videos can be seen on Instagram.

Of course, we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for all our generous donors, who donate out of love!

 

 

 

 

In Memory of Betty Ann Countryman

By Janice O'Rourke, MPA, RD, IMMB Executive Director

My first memory of Betty Ann Countryman was when, during my interview for the Executive Director position at the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank, she asked me if I breastfed my children.  I saw her then as a feisty older woman with a very strong belief in how children should be fed.  It wasn’t until later, after taking the position, that I discovered just how strong that belief was.

Betty Ann was one of the founding Board members of the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank.  She was a nurse, but not just a nurse.  She was one of the most impressive women I had ever met.  Betty Ann graduated from Harvard University (Radcliffe College, cum laude) and received her Master’s Degree in Nursing from the Yale University School of Nursing. She was a member of Mensa, of Alpha Chapter of the Nursing Honorary Society Sigma Theta Tau, of the Yale and Harvard Clubs of Indiana.

For fifty years Betty Ann devoted much of her professional life to the well-being of mothers and children. She was a founder of La Leche League of Indiana and a former chairperson of La Leche League International’s Board of Directors. In the 1970s she was a consultant to the World Health Organization, the Caribbean Food & Nutrition Institute, and the Public Health Department of Jamaica. With a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development in 1978, she established El Centro de Apoyo de Lactancia Materna in El Salvador, the first Latin-American center for support of breastfeeding and maternal/child health and nutrition. For over 30 years she wrote and spoke about the importance and value of breastfeeding in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. She was a member of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, of Methodist Hospital’s Baby Friendly Task Force, and of the Board of Directors of the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank.

Betty Ann Countryman passed away yesterday at the age of 92.  The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank has lost a supporter, mentor, and friend.  She will be greatly missed.

Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding

On January 20, 2011, Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin issued a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding,” outlining steps that can be taken to remove some of the obstacles faced by women who want to breastfeed their babies. “Many barriers exist for mothers who want to breastfeed,” Dr. Benjamin said. “They shouldn’t have to go it alone. Whether you’re a clinician, a family member, a friend, or an employer, you can play an important part in helping mothers who want to breastfeed.”

“Of course, the decision to breastfeed is a personal one,” she added, “no mother should be made to feel guilty if she cannot or chooses not to breastfeed.”

While 75 percent of U.S. babies start out breastfeeding, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, only 13 percent are exclusively breastfed at the end of six months.  The rates are particularly low among African-American infants.

Many mothers who attempt to breastfeed say several factors impede their efforts, such as a lack of support at home; absence of family members who have experience with breastfeeding; a lack of breastfeeding information from health care clinicians; a lack of time and privacy to breastfeed or express milk at the workplace; and an inability to connect with other breastfeeding mothers in their communities.

Dr. Benjamin’s “Call to Action” identifies ways that families, communities, employers and health care professionals can improve breastfeeding rates and increase support for breastfeeding:

  • Communities should expand and improve programs that provide mother-to-mother support and peer counseling.
  • Health care systems should ensure that maternity care practices provide education and counseling on breastfeeding.  Hospitals should become more “baby-friendly,” by taking steps like those recommended by the UNICEF/WHO’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
  • Clinicians should ensure that they are trained to properly care for breastfeeding mothers and babies.  They should promote breastfeeding to their pregnant patients and make sure that mothers receive the best advice on how to breastfeed.
  • Employers should work toward establishing paid maternity leave and high-quality lactation support programs.  Employers should expand the use of programs that allow nursing mothers to have their babies close by so they can feed them during the day.  They should also provide women with break time and private space to express breast milk.
  • Families should give mothers the support and encouragement they need to breastfeed.

Family members can help mother’s prepare for breastfeeding and support their continued breastfeeding, including after her return to work or school.

According to the “Call to Action,” breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses that include diarrhea, ear infections, and pneumonia. Breastfed babies are also less likely to develop asthma, and those who are breastfed for six months are less likely to become obese.  Mothers themselves who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.  Mothers who cannot provide their own milk for their infants are encouraged to received donated milk from one of the 10 nonprofit human milk banks in the US that are part of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).

A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics estimated that the nation would save $13 billion per year in health care and other costs if 90 percent of U.S. babies were exclusively breastfed for six months. Dr. Benjamin added that, by providing accommodations for nursing mothers, employers can reduce their company’s health care costs and lower their absenteeism and turnover rates.

“I believe that we as a nation are beginning to see a shift in how we think and talk about breastfeeding,” said Dr. Benjamin.  “With this ‘Call to Action,’ I am urging everyone to help make breastfeeding easier.”