Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From the Desk of the President

The Prez says…..

Hello, my name is Dr. Peter B. Untalan and I am a neonatologist here in Austin.  A neonatologist is a doctor who takes care of sick newborns.  The babies a neonatologist takes care of can include a full-term infant born with pneumonia or a heart condition, but most people associate us with taking care of premature babies.

Premature babies face many challenges on their journey to get home with their parents.  They aren’t big enough to maintain their own temperature. Their skin is so thin they can literally dehydrate in a matter of hours.  Their immune system is so fragile that normal skin bacteria can cause life-threatening infections.  Their lungs are tissue thin and some need extra oxygen when they go home.  Their brain and eyes aren’t completely developed and any interruption in development can be damaging to the baby’s brain and ability to see.

Technology is developing at a rapid pace, allowing us to take care of smaller and smaller premature infants-some of whom weigh less than a pound!  However, while technology may help us to manage and support increasingly smaller premature babies, neonatologists feel that nutrition in the form of human milk remains the single most important “treatment” to protecting our most fragile babies.  In future blog posts I’ll talk about how neonatologists use human milk and the many ways in which it helps these little ones navigate through the rough waters of being a preemie to get home.

There is no happier day in the NICU than discharging one of our little ones and getting them home with their parents.  It takes an incredible team effort and all of you donors out there are a major part of that team!  So, tell a friend what you and the MMBA do for little babies, post about it, tweet it, instagram it, graffiti it (okay maybe not that last one) because we always need more milk to help these babies not only to survive, but to thrive.  Thanks!

{Peter volunteers his ‘spare’ time as President of the Board of Directors of the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin. In his other ‘spare’ time he spends time with his family. Here, see youngest son enjoying what looks like a delicious snack! Yikes, what a mess!}

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