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Let's Make Breastfeeding Normal Again!

Before we get into a topic that I am very passionate about, let me introduce myself. My name is Naya Weber and I’m mother to two little boys who were both breastfed beyond infancy. It was my own struggles that motivated me to pursue a career in lactation. I’m an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) - my job is to support families experiencing postpartum breastfeeding challenges. In addition to working with families, I am the social media manager for Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin. I’m grateful to have found my way to MMBA, an organization that does so much good and uses their platform to promote good health from an early age.

Normalize breastfeeding - it has been a term all over the internet for the last several years. Moms posting breastfeeding selfies (#brelfies) on social media to a variety of reactions - from praise to the more critical, “why is she posting that??!” I think the real question we need to ask ourselves is: why do we have to work to normalize an …
Recent posts

Guest Post: Milk is More Than Food

The Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin's mission is to save lives by providing prescribed, pasteurized donor human milk. Supporting breastfeeding is an important component of this mission, and in recognition of the need for education, MMBA commits to teaching more than 75 students annually. Some of these students are already physicians, dietitians, lactation consultants and nurses, some are studying to become health care providers, and some, as in this past week's group, are young students yet to choose a career path. We trust that learning about the power of breastfeeding and human milk to improve health and survival, and the role of the milk bank industry in supporting those outcomes especially among the babies born too soon, too small, and too sick, is life changing. Minimally, knowing that human milk saves babies' lives should lead to a greater appreciation and advocacy effort for breastfeeding. MMBA believes that creating an informed community benefits everyone. In Fe…

A Miracle of Life: Zayed

Baby Zayed was born at 35 weeks gestation weighing only 3.12 pounds, with a cleft lip and palate and a cardiac defect. He spent 13 months in several hospitals, but multiple surgeries later he is sweet, smart, and loves his big brother Yazid. Even after surgery eating was difficult for Zayed, and he has many food allergies, so donor human milk and his mom’s expressed breastmilk continued to be his only source of nutrition for over 18 months. Zayed’s mom calls him her miracle baby!
The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin provides thousands of children just like Zayed with donor human milk, given compassionately by healthy lactating mothers who express milk beyond their own needs and donate it to help babies born too small, too soon, and too sick. This past year more than 1,100 mamas chose to donate milk, and more than 775,000 ounces of milk were dispensed to babies. Generous community members gave more than $225,000 to support our mission to save lives through the provision of prescribed, paste…

What is Charitable Care?

Charitable care means different things to different people. For some it is associated with shame and guilt; for others, hope, gratitude and relief.
At Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin, charitable can mean life.
MMBA is in the midst of our month-long end-of-year fundraising campaign. This is not to fund a building, conduct research, or pay anyone’s salary. It’s a campaign to support our Charitable Care Program, in place since the Milk Bank’s founding in 1999. It enables us to provide donor milk to all infants with a medical need for milk without regard to their insurance coverage or family financial resources.

Let me explain. MMBA expends substantial resources recruiting milk donors and processing their milk to make it safe for vulnerable babies. For inpatient infants our costs are reimbursed by hospitals, but some fragile babies are sent home from the hospital still medically dependent on donor human milk. MMBA continues to provide the milk, even though insurance companies very rare…

Meet "Miracle Baby" Victoria Grace Cogwin

The story of our miracle baby started early in 2014. My husband and I were living in Houston at the time. One day we got the news that my youngest daughter, Veronica, and her husband, Jack, were expecting their fifth child. The due date was late September. We were excited since Jack had just transferred from Columbus, OH, to Austin, and this child was going to be born a Texan —  yay! I wouldn’t have to fly to Ohio as I did for the births of my other four grandchildren. This time we would be making road trips between Houston and Austin.
It so happened that this baby decided to make her entrance into this world 15 weeks early via an emergency C-section. We were devastated with the news and started to pray for my daughter and the baby. We did not know what to do, but we knew we had to do something. So, I started to ask the Lord for guidance.
When we first met Victoria, she lay in her isolette in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of St. David’s Hospital downtown. It was hard not to c…

Mother's Day 2018

Being a mother is the best and hardest thing I have ever done. 

I had a textbook perfect pregnancy until the beginning of my third trimester. I hadn’t even decorated the nursery, bought a crib, or had a baby shower, when I was hospitalized as a precaution for preeclampsia with my first baby at 29 weeks. As I started bedrest, doctors ran tests and wanted to keep me under observation and delay delivery as long as possible to give my baby every moment to grow in my womb. After a few days I became suddenly and violently ill, and my baby and I were in crisis as I became eclamptic and had a seizure. Blood tests showed my liver was shutting down. I had never heard of HELLP syndrome, a very serious pregnancy complication that can cause liver damage and cerebral hemorrhage, and can be fatal for mother and baby, but now I had it!

Shocked, my husband watched the frantic race as doctors wheeled me off for an emergency C-section. Minutes later, he walked down the hall to the NICU with our 3-pound…

From Donor Mom Diana

I really didn't know that donating milk was a thing until my niece was born nine weeks early. By a twist of fate, I was visiting my sister in Austin, when my niece came into the world. I live in Virginia and was pregnant myself, so it was almost like the stars had aligned for me to be there. Anyway, it was a scary situation because I felt pretty helpless; I wasn't really able to do anything for my sister and niece beyond just to visit and worry. At some point during this visit I learned of the importance of breast milk to preemies. I mean, I knew it was beneficial, but I didn't realize it was life saving. I nursed my son until he was 2.5 years old, and I had every intention of doing the same for my daughter. I decided to add donation into the mix.

I tried to find a local hospital to donate the milk, but if there is a place, I had a hard time locating information about it. I contacted the Milk Bank at Austin because I knew of them from my experiences just a few months before…