“We started the Milk Bank to ensure that feedings for preterm infants would be safe and healthy, resulting in fewer complications.”
Co-founder Dr. Sonny Rivera
In early 1998, two Austin neonatologists, Dr. Sonny Rivera and Dr. George Sharpe, invited other healthcare providers to discuss the formation of a milk bank to serve the Central Texas region. Drs. Sharpe and Rivera had observed that the tiny preterm and ill babies in the neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) they supervised fared better on human milk. Citing the medical literature that documented better health outcomes and lower care costs for infants receiving mothers’ milk – and noting that the nearest milk bank was in Denver – the two physicians gathered support from their hospitals and colleagues to go ahead with the project. An advisory board was created and a name was chosen: The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin.
“I became enamored of the prospect of not having to treat NEC, one of the worst complications of the growing premature infant. A milk bank seemed an essential thing to do for our babies.”
Co-founder Dr. George Sharpe
Since the milk bank’s official opening in 1999, we have experienced much growth and success, dispensing over 4 million ounces of pasteurized milk. Thanks to the dedication of our ever-growing numbers of milk donors, volunteers, supporters, and staff, this year the Mothers’ Milk Bank celebrated its 17th anniversary of providing milk to preterm and medically fragile babies in Texas and across the U.S.
In February 2010, the Mothers’ Milk bank moved to larger offices that dramatically increased the organization’s capacity and visibility. This expansion was possible through a significant grant from the St. David’s Foundation and other funders. In addition, St. David’s Medical Center has provided in-kind office and lab space for the milk bank for its entire history, enabling the organization to focus its efforts on its mission of helping premature and fragile babies thrive.
To hear first-hand about the babies we've helped, watch our quick video.