HOUSTON – This Mother’s Day, the Houston Methodist Willowbrook campus is asking for all moms who have delivered a baby in the past year to donate breastmilk, if they can. Willing mothers will have to be within a year of birth because that’s when they make milk most suitable for premature babies.
The Houston Methodist Willowbrook campus recently became a new donation site and said babies in the NICU are in need.
Although many women can donate at a number of locations across Houston, this new site is a convenient location for northwest Houston moms.
Fumbi White delivered her baby at Willowbrook prematurely, and she said she named her baby Khaiel, which means “God’s warrior,” because she knew he would be born early and would need a fighting start.
“We spent 99 days in the NICE,” White said. “A little more than three months. It was the longest three months of my life.”
Born at 29 weeks, the hospital was able to provide Khaiel with donated breastmilk.
Houston Methodist Willowbrook said donating provides a scarce resource that has a life-saving impact.
“It prevents certain types of infections that premature infants are at risk of getting. It helps increase their IQ, and it’s just overall protective for the infants. They grow at a different rate with the breastmilk,” NICU manager, Tammy Sullivan, said.
Sullivan said all moms have to register with the Mother’s Milk Bank Austin. From there, the milk is screened, pasteurized and mothers are interviewed before the milk comes back to the hospital and into the mouths of some of the most fragile patients.
Katie Abt was born prematurely herself, and now that she’s a mom of eight-month-old Peter, she’s donating her milk to help others thrive.
“I was watching my breastmilk help peter grow, so I knew that I wanted to do something with the oversupply that I had,” Abt said.
Now that Willowbrook is a new site in Northwest Houston where moms can drop off the milk, they’re hoping to get an even bigger supply stocked up.
Moms like White said to please donate if you can.
“It definitely has a lot of nutrients and it’s definitely beneficial for a baby to grow, especially when you have a NICU baby that needs those nutrients,” White said.
Women in Houston who are interested in donating their breast milk for the benefit of premature, ill and medically fragile infants may call 1-877-813-6455 or visit the Mother’s Milk Bank Austin to apply to donate: https://milkbank.org/donate-milk/how-to/