The Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) was founded by Fort Worth neonatologist, Susan Sward-Comunelli, MD. Until 2004, Dr. Sward and her partners utilized donor human milk in local neonatal intensive care units from other milk banks. They soon realized that North Texas needed its own milk to serve the premature babies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the rest of North Texas. Dr. Sward organized a group of child health advocates in Fort Worth who agreed that premature babies in our area should not have to rely on other communities for donor human milk. With only a handful of donor human milk banks in the country, this group was also committed to serving babies beyond the borders of our state if supplies allowed.
The milk bank was established in 2004 and was originally located in a suite of offices and lab space in the Child Study Center building in Fort Worth. In 2011, MMBNT relocated to a larger space in the hospital district at 600 W. Magnolia Avenue. Operating much like a blood bank, the Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas collects breastmilk from healthy nursing mothers with extra milk to share. These donor moms are screened and their milk is tested and heat treated. Donor human milk is dispensed to premature and fragile infants without access to their mom’s own milk. The use of human milk has been proven to give these fragile babies a better chance of survival while decreasing complications. For some babies, donor human milk can truly be life-saving. Often, mothers of premature infants cannot provide their own milk for a variety of reasons; including premature delivery, illness or medication use. In September of 2004, MMBNT dispensed the first batch of milk. Since then, more than 1.5 million ounces of milk that was donated by more than 4,000 mothers has been fed to premature and critically ill babies in over 80 hospitals.