Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) was founded by Dr. Susan Sward-Comunelli, a Fort Worth neonatologist. Until 2004, Dr. Sward-Comunelli 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 bank to serve the premature babies in North Texas.
Dr. Sward organized a group of child health advocates in Fort Worth who agreed that premature babies in the 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 supply allowed.
MMBNT 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, and relocated again in 2019 to a brand new facility in southwest Fort Worth.
Operating much like a blood bank, Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas collects breastmilk from healthy, nursing mothers who have a surplus. Every milk donor is screened, and their milk is tested and pasteurized. Donor human milk is dispensed to premature and fragile infants without access to their mother’s own milk.
Often, mothers of premature infants cannot provide their own milk for a variety of reasons, including premature delivery, illness or medication use. The use of donor 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.
In September of 2004, MMBNT dispensed its first batch of donor human milk. Since then, more than 4 million ounces of donor milk that was donated by more than 7,000 mothers has been fed to premature and critically ill babies in more than 130 hospitals.