The loss of your child is a profound, devastating experience. No words will help, no condolences will temper the grief.
But out of this tragedy can come some light.
Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin hopes to provide clarity and present options in this overwhelming time through our bereavement program. We understand that many health care providers have a difficult time discussing loss with families. Our bereavement program helps both providers and families understand breast milk production, and and if milk donation is desired, how donated milk can help others even in situations of grief.
Our "Teardrops and Milkdrops" brochure answers basic questions about lactation when bereaved––in particular, what options are available to either eliminate breast milk or donate it to a milk bank in order to help others. Available to healthcare facilities, providers, and moms at no charge, this brochure in Spanish and English explains why lactation happens, and what choices moms have to handle it.
To request a print version of either brochure, email us.
MMBA, a non-profit milk bank, screens donors (verbally and in writing) for lifestyle and medical risk factors. Grieving mothers who wish to donate milk must be screened, but their milk is accepted whether or not they are on medications or herbs, and no matter how much milk she has. We do this to facilitate healing, to somehow create some hope in the helping of others during this difficult time of grief.
Every baby deserves human milk and every grieving parent deserves to heal.
Donor milk is a short-term investment with a life-long payoff because human milk-fed infants achieve both short-term and long-term benefits from the milk. Thousands of babies in Texas and beyond receive donor human milk made safe for them by the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin. More than 300 grieving mothers have shared their milk with the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin since we opened our doors in 1999. Thank you, compassionate women, for helping others despite your pain.
What to do if you want to donate milk, or at least explore the option:
Email Laura Tankersley, Milk Donor Program Coordinator
Call MMBA at 512-494-0800 to discuss lactation, loss, and donation.
From a grief support perspective, being able to go through the motions of early maternity and not find my son in that routine helped his unimaginable death seem more real. And knowing that some other struggling baby would be nourished and supported with the milk that was planned for our son seemed a way to honor him and have the sorrow of his death have some positive impact in life. I truly feel that donating milk has met all these needs for us and knowing that some other family may be ultimately able to take their child home in health has provided us some comfort." Grieving Mother
Pumping to donate was hard. But the thought of NOT doing it was even harder. We felt that to suppress my milk was to have to suffer the loss of yet another piece of our son--pumping allowed us to hold on for a little while until we were ready to let go. The option was comforting in a time of so little options."
Helping other babies helped me. My milk kept coming, and I kept pumping, because I know that my daughter would have wanted me to help other tiny babies. I am grateful for the opportunity."
This publication of the NY Times contains stories and statements from families experiencing a loss of an infant. They are heart-wrenching, and encouraging, and beautiful.