How The Milk Bank Helps

Every mom’s worst nightmare – the stomach bug – hit their home, first with the preschooler. With hands-on involvement still required at that age, it wasn’t long before the 11 month old picked it up as well. After a day and a half of vomiting and diarrhea, he was seen at the ER and diagnosed as dehydrated. The nurses couldn’t get a vein for an IV of rehydration at that point. He received meds to stop the vomiting, was able to nurse and finally have a wet diaper, so was discharged. It was not a quick recovery. Baby Nathan wanted to nurse, of course, but Mom had been sleep deprived and stressed with sick kids. Baby Nathan typically received some solid foods each day, so her milk supply was naturally decreasing as well. Add in extenuating circumstances and she was having trouble keeping up with his sick baby/dehydration demands at the time. Baby Nathan refused formula. Soon after the ER visit, Mom came down with the stomach bug as well. Despite meds, she was still very sick but was determined to pump for him though she didn’t feel well enough to hold him and nurse at night. Enter friends and The Milk Bank.

Recipient of donated milk from The Milk Bank

A recent client (and personal friend) utilized the donated milk at The Milk Bank in a very helpful, but perhaps less thought of way. Through texts, Mom & Dad were able to get online and purchase/pay for donated breastmilk from The Milk Bank. This purchase was made at 9pm so obviously the office wasn’t open for pick up. Fortunately, another client/personal friend was able to help out with donated surplus breastmilk.

Fast forward a couple weeks and baby Nathan is just getting back to solid foods. At a recent doctor’s visit (to rule out ear infection), Dad learned that Nathan had only gained 1 oz in weight from his appointment the previous month. They were advised to give him formula if Mom couldn’t keep up with demand and if Nathan wasn’t consuming enough solids to add weight.

Elizabeth advised the client to get a prescription from their pediatrician in order to be able to purchase more breastmilk from The Milk Bank. At this time, the limit is 40 ounces can be purchased without a prescription. This allows monitoring of babies and ensuring at-risk babies have milk available. The pediatrician wasn’t forthcoming to give a prescription. Mom had to take baby Nathan back for a weight check with their regular doctor and finally received the prescription.

The Milk Bank actually has a person who will advise pediatricians and be available for consultation and to answer questions in these cases. At a time when there are still formula shortages in some areas, they are working to prevent any hesitation to make safe breastmilk available to a child. This mom utilized this contact to get what she needed for her baby. Baby Nathan gained 6 ounces between his weight checks, making him out of the woods. She had to continue purchasing the milk to keep him on track for normally expected weight gain, and he still won’t drink formula consistently. She received an Rx after purchasing 20 ounces, and went on to receive 60 more ounces.

Lactation Care with Elizabeth aspires to educate and partner with other providers to ensure they have the information they need to feel comfortable supporting families and their infant feeding needs. It takes time and there are a lot of providers! We hope to make families aware of resources available for babies that aren’t premature or medically at-risk in the traditional sense. The Milk Bank can be a resource for short term supplementation in situations of illness, medical procedures, emergencies, travel, and so forth. Use them!

A Day in the Life…

In case you were wondering, here is a little glimpse of a recent day. From my family to yours, know that I love what I do and the purposeful pace at which I get to do it, personally and professionally.

I get up at 6:15, do my morning chores (water my microgreens), make breakfast (usually grain free waffles and berries), and get ready for work. I do the NYT crossword while I am eating- I can usually get the Monday through Wednesday puzzle done, Thursday and Friday I do the Soduku.

Caroline (my baby, now a high-schooler) and I leave the house at 7:45 and I drop her off at school and head to the office. When I arrive, I check the Milk Bank freezer temperature, switch out office laundry (cover sheets) or fold, and set up for the day. I check email and answer. On this particular day I switched someone’s appointment and gave someone the current recommendations on taking care of clogged ducts/mastitis. Then I started seeing families:

  1. 1.5 week old with latching issues.
  2. Pre oral tie release visit where we discussed what to expect, practiced stretches, and scheduled at 24 hour post release follow up.
  3. Back to work visit- practiced bottle feeding, discussed schedule and amounts for bottles, discussed pumping schedule, checked flange sizes and pump settings, reviewed storage, discussed the emotional challenges as well as the physical challenges of returning to work.
  4. 2 week old causing mom lipstick shaped nipples.
  5. Virtual visit on toddler night weaning.
  6. Prenatal visit.

I love that I have so much variety! Lactation is not just about latching.

Between visits I change out my room, change laundry as needed, have a brief chat with Katie (if our schedules allow us a break at the same time), maybe eat lunch, and try to keep up with emails.

At the end of the day, I prep my room for the next day, put sterilized pump parts away, and drive home. I hopefully take a walk. On a good day, there are leftovers for dinner! Other days I cook dinner before charting. I am TRYING to get my charting done at work, but I usually have at least a few I need to finish, submit to insurance, and fax notes to the doctors. I’ll help C with her homework, talk to my husband, and head to bed early with a book.

It is a good and busy life! I am thankful for the opportunity to come alongside families past the newborn stage, to support them in pain management, procedure prep, the pumping process, and trouble shooting or planning for the future. I love meeting all the people that come through my door and helping them bond with their babies and work on their feeding goals.

Does feeding at night cause dental issues?

Parents are often told nursing at night may cause cavities. Our lactation consultants continue their education as they practice to maintain up-to-date information in their arsenal for helping families.

The full story is there are a combination of factors that contribute to dental caries (i.e. rotten teeth), including genetics, prematurity, oral flora/acidity (which may be genetic or may be shared in a family), dental hygiene, and diet.

Know that breastfeeding by itself is NOT considered a risk for dental caries, even breastfeeding at night.

Practices that will help promote healthy habits, with the potential to minimize the risk of dental caries include:

Wipe or brush teeth at least before bedtime, if not twice per day, starting AS SOON AS they have those sharp little teeth poking through gums.

Preventative dental checkups are recommended to start at age 1.

Limit juices and sticky foods (our recent educational presenter doesn’t like corn flakes or teething biscuits), and encourage fruits and veggies that rub against the teeth once they are ready for them.

We encourage you to consider the source of your information. Even studies should receive critical evaluation of the source of the study, the funding source for it, and the size of the pool of participants. It is our goal to provide families with accurate information rather than undo pressure from “they say” statements or dated information.

If you are have additional questions about dental care in infants or feeding/foods, your lactation consultant will be happy to guide you.

Over the River & Through the Woods…tips to survive the holiday with a breastfeeding baby

Tips to survive the holiday with a breastfeeding baby:

-Let someone else be in charge of the holiday!  You have a new baby, let other people host and cook, it is your year (or years) to sit back and enjoy.

-If you don’t want to “pass the baby”, don’t. Tell people that you are good with holding the baby or the baby is due to eat or poop soon. Or that you are still afraid of germs. This is your baby, you can share or not.

-Try babywearing. It is much easier to keep holding your baby if you are wearing them.

-If you feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, go for it.  If you aren’t, or you need an excuse to get away, find a place where you and the baby can have a quiet moment.  And if that moment extends for an hour, it is nobody’s business how long the baby actually takes to eat.

-Set your alarm for about the normal interval that your baby eats so you don’t miss feedings. It is easy to get distracted and not realize the passage of time when you are away from your normal routine. Babies also will sleep longer with more noise or different people holding them, so setting a reminder will help avoid skipping meals.

-It is okay to have a drink.  Alcohol metabolizes out of breastmilk and your bloodstream at the same rate.  If you are cautious, feed the baby, then have a drink; you should be ready to feed again in a few hours.  In general, if you can drive, you can feed. 

-Some holiday foods, like sage and peppermint, can affect supply if eaten in LARGE quantities. Your supply is more likely to be affected by decreased frequency of feeding than what you eat. Do things to support your supply, like frequent, effective emptying, and staying rested and hydrated.

-Feel the love: the oxytocin boost you get from being around people who love and care for you is great for you, your baby, and your milk supply!

-Relax and enjoy the season, take the time you need away from the people and celebrations, & as always, call for help if something is off with breastfeeding.

Happy travels,

The Milk Bank

We are now a Milk Depot (we accept milk donations from approved donors) and a Milk Express (we dispense purchased milk to approved customers) in Lexington, Kentucky!

Through The Milk Bank, we are partnering with families with surplus & families with need to provide the logistics needed to facilitate milk supply & usage. The Milk Bank coordinates the safe exchange and processing of human milk.

Donated human milk helps support mother’s who cannot provide milk as they planned, to supplement, for medical necessity, for NICU babies, and many other planned and unplanned circumstances. Donating milk is rewarding for those with extra supply, extra stored, extra during weaning, or especially significant is in memory in the case of infant loss.

We will be posting more information for how to get involved – to donate and to purchase – but wanted to just get the information out there for now. Please email us at or call us at 859.832.0203. Visit The Milk Bank website as well.