Mothers'Milk Bank Newsletter
It's a delight to say happy spring to you all and to say THANK YOU for all that you do for The Mothers Milk Bank!
We're delighted to see SO much awareness in the press about breastfeeding and Milk Banks. People are GETTING IT that we all can make a difference (like Blood Banks are essential, Milk Banks are too). It's a VERY exciting and a crucial time to explore our shared values (and value).
I want to take you deeper into the remarkable work we're involved in; work that should make you very proud to be a donor, recipient or interested new member of our family.
Now, I was brought up to be very humble, and so sometimes it's hard to boast -- though we really can, all of us, be proud (and loud) about the work we do to save our most vulnerable citizens through mothers milk!
Here are some highlights I'd like to share with you to support your resolve in our work together:
1. OUR LEGACY: I'm very proud of our 44 year history as a non-profit Milk Bank and charter member of HMBANA (Human Milk Bank Banking Association of North America). We save lives every day, and with YOU we make a difference immediately. Breastfeeding moms are life givers and savers. The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) confirmed in December 2016 that breastfeeding (and Milk Banks) are crucial for our country. We have been doing the hard work needed for our state and country, and we're going to keep on doing it.
2. SERVING ALL: We serve 63% of California’s NICU’s, the largest community and regional based hospitals -- it's a remarkable legacy. We continue to add more and more hospitals to our list of recipients. We are proud to do so, though we are also grateful that we serve babies at home, foster children, children with illness or sensitivities to formulas, and mothers who are having nursing challenges. Our goal is that ALL children have access to human breast milk, the "Liquid Gold" that gives life. And, this makes us DIFFERENT than other organizations that provide milk or milk based products -- we are here for the entire cycle of a child's health/nutritional growth through human milk. With YOUR continued support of breastmilk donation and financial donation we can serve more children!
3. THE FIGHT AHEAD: Our state, like others in the U.S. are moving through a period of re-evaluation of healthcare. We have been on the front lines fighting for decades for federal bills to assure insurance coverage for breastfeeding support and donor milk from non-profit milk banks (and as a recognized public domain). I want you to know that we won't stop fighting to make donated mothers milk accessible to all families, though it's a big hurdle. With YOUR support, we can increase the momentum and awareness that breastmilk is optimal for infants and an exceptional nutritional and medicinal support for premature infants. By staying vocal we can save more infants in this country! So, stay tuned for more news from us: we are here representing infants and families to our government, and consistently SHARE the vision of milk for all.
WHAT IS OUR MEANING?
Last week I had the honor of being asked to speak at a very special conference of the most distinguished doctors and researchers on the horrific condition of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), a condition which attack infants’ intestines and leads to death. In the audience and supporters of this special event were families who had lost their loved babies to NEC. The impact of breastmilk for these little ones from the researchers was impressive.
I listened to the experiences of NEC families and the insights of health care providers, and our role grew even clearer: what we came away with was that breastmilk is THE lifeline to fight against "hidden" diseases like NEC, and that Milk Banks and more Lactation staff are the place for hospitals to turn to for life. And, finally, one the key questions asked of me was, “How can you me there will be enough donor milk available for potential NEC infants?” THAT is really the point — we need to ensure Milk Banks meet the needs of these, and all infants.
Yet, it does not stop there -- our ability to be (like a Blood Bank) a place that services those infants whom are ill, and ALL babies who need milk (at any time and of any background) is CORE to our meaning as an organization and culture of California.
I was shaken by the stories I heard from parents of NEC victims, yet I knew, just as I have known for twenty years leading The Mothers Milk Bank of San Jose that donated mothers’ milk is fundamentally a crucial part of our fabric of health. Moments with families, with YOU and infants who thrive make me believe that we can drive the movement of human milk as a human right through the practical, day to day work of our Milk Bank.
We are so very happy to serve you. Happy that spring is here and that we're all making a difference, together.
Thank you for all you do, for being Milk Warriors, and spreading the word!
Pauline Sakamoto Executive Director, Mothers’ Milk Bank, San Jose President Emeritus, HMBANA
* "...NEC may develop in any newborn, most cases occur in premature babies and in up to 5 percent of babies in newborn intensive care units...It is not clear exactly what causes NEC. It is thought that the intestinal tissues are somehow weakened by too little oxygen or blood flow. When feedings are started and the food moves into the weakened area of the intestinal tract, bacteria from the food can damage the intestinal tissues." - Stanford Children's Health
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