With Heather Townsend
We’ve all warmed up milk, right? Our elementary kids make snowmen outside and, after peeling off their snowsuits, what do we do? We warm up some milk, make some hot chocolate, and tell them to drink up. So warming up milk can’t be all that complicated, right? And, we’ve all thawed food or liquid of some kind, yes? Surely, you’ve come home from work late, found nothing in your refrigerator or pantry that qualifies as a meal, and what do you do? You drag something out of the freezer and determine how to get it quickly thawed and on the table. Thaw it out, heat it up, serve it up, chow it down. It all seems so simple.
It’s not that simple where it comes to thawing and heating human milk. But people don’t realize that it’s not that simple.
Before we did the radio show together, my guest, Heather Townsend told me a horrifying story about a nurse in a very large, well-known Children’s hospital who heated up the mother’s milk in the microwave before giving it to the mother’s baby. I was so stunned by this that I could scarcely speak. I thought we all knew, decades ago, that milk heated in the microwave can cause burns to the baby’s palate, as Hibbard showed in 19881. I thought we all knew that the enzymes in the milk are affected by microwave heating, as Quan showed us in 1992.2 No, apparently these unsafe practices are still happening.
But Heather didn’t stop there. She told me about parents as well as professionals heating milk in all sorts of containers and in all sorts of ways that just plain shouldn’t be done. If you’re wondering if thawing and heating mother’s milk matters, the answer is, yes.
Don’t miss this show that talks about the heat of the matter.
Hibbard RA, Blevins R. Palatal burn due to bottle warming in a microwave oven. Pediatrics. Sep 1988;82(3):382-384.
Quan R, Yang C, Rubinstein S, et al. Effects of microwave radiation on anti-infective factors in human milk. Pediatrics. 1992;89(4 Pt 1):667-669.
If you’re feeling like something has thrown you off your game, maybe it’s time to tweak your swing a few millimeters. Join me for this show. Maybe you can get out of the rough, win the game, and meet your goal.
Does that sound like a lot? It is—and yet it doesn’t even come close to meeting the need. HMBANA milk banks received requests for about 9 million ounces of human milk during that time. In other words, HMBANA was able to help only about one-third of the critically-ill infants who needed life-saving milk.
Human milk is not best; it is vital for these premature infants. According to Kim, when milk banks are unable to meet infants’ needs for human milk, the shortage of supply leaves many (or even most) of them waiting to die. The most fragile infants in need of human milk cannot survive on artificial formula.
It doesn’t take much to make a difference between life and death. If the mother of a healthy full-term infant collected just 4 ounces of her milk each day for 25 days and donated it to the milk bank, she would meet the milk bank’s minimum requirement and save a baby’s life. In the space of less than 1 month, this mother could be a life-saver.
So maybe the first month of her baby’s life is still too chaotic for the mother to make this commitment. Good news! Milk banks accept milk of mothers up to their baby’s first birthday. Think about this: When your child begins accepting “solid” foods and your “supply” or milk is suddenly quite a bit greater than her “need” for it, you could celebrate your baby’s reaching such a fun developmental milestone by donating the extra milk your body makes to help another baby grow.
You see, life-and-death decisions aren’t always heroic, headline-making acts. You don’t have to run into a burning building or oncoming traffic to save a baby’s life. You can save a baby even as you nurse our own child, by saving a few ounces at a time and getting them into the hands of a milk bank. (Even easier: you may be reaching your baby’s first birthday and find yourself with a freezer stash of milk you know she’ll never consume.)
Less than a month of pumping. A simple phone call. That’s all it might take to help save a baby’s life. Want to know more about donating? You can listen to our show podcast—then call Kim at the Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin, toll-free at 877-813-6455.
Calling is the first step. Donating milk is the second step. Being a hero just takes a small commitment.
I was attending the USBC 2014 Coalitions Conference, and exploring the exhibits. I noticed Kathleen Kendall-Tackett there, and wanted to invite her to come on my radio show, but she was talking with someone else, so I decided to wait until she was finished. Suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, came a tall, slender man who took my hand, and began moving me in a dance-like fashion around the exhibit floor, twirling and whirling me with graceful steps and chatting in a soft-spoken voice. In a minute or so, he asked how this felt. I chuckled and answered, “Well, you’re a little tall for me, but I guess it works.” Continuing to chat while waltzing me around, he declared, “You’re leading, you know.” To which I retorted, “Yeah, I generally find a way take the lead, whether it’s dancing or anything else. And, by the way, I’m Marie Biancuzzo. Who, exactly, are you?”
He said he was Kuroji Patrick. I had never met him, and had never heard of him.
Admittedly, this was not the manner in which I usually strike up a conversation. Yet, in an odd way, I found myself immediately at ease while talking with him. I found out a little about what he does, and why he’s so passionate about helping fathers to be supportive of breastfeeding. He has this compelling, serious side that is just as interesting as his easy-going, funny side. Instinctively, I knew that Kuroji would be a great guest for the show.
I feel sure that you’ll enjoy spending time with Kuroji.
Marian had just had her fourth child, and her doctor very much encouraged her to breastfeed. Mary White, another mother, and the wife of a doctor, was having lunch with Marian in the park, and the two women discussed how good it would be to have support from other breastfeeding mothers. It was later that they pulled five of their friends along for more mother-to-mother support. While I had always assumed the “picnic” was a planned and boisterous event among seven giggling women, it was more like a quiet lunch shared between two friends in a park. They certainly didn’t realize they were starting a not-for-profit organization.
Talking with Marian was like stepping back in time. With a little real-life experience and a lot of imagination, I conjured up the scene in my head. I imagined Marian with one of those I Love Lucy hairdos, toting a Melamine bowl of potato salad in one hand, and holding a baby in the other while half-chasing a sandwich on a paper plate near the Windy City. I found it a bit more difficult to imagine, though, how she would be feeding her baby in the park. Wouldn’t that be breastfeeding in public? Hmmmmm. It occurred to me that in some ways, today’s woman is faced with many of same issues that Marian and her friends faced.
As you celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, dream a little. Marian’s is a story of how one woman and her friend had a dream, and made it come true.
I asked Emma Kwasnica to come on the show and talk about milk sharing because it’s a hot topic for supporters and skeptics. Some listeners will feel that her establishment of Human Milk for Human Babies Global Network makes Emma a villain; other will feel she is a hero. Some will come away feeling conflicted about the not-so-clear risk-benefit ratio. But no one will come away without feeling something.
Usually, you can ask Linda anything and she’ll give you plenty of facts or opinions, and she is quick to differentiate one from the other. She is also a great story-teller. I distinctly remember one day when I asked her about something, and she laughed and replied, “Oh Marie! That’s a 3-beer story!”
I know you’ll enjoy this show where Linda will show her wit, and her wisdom.