Kelsey Danker, 24, sat in the living room of her Arvada apartment hugging her one-year-old son, Bodhi. It had been a long year.
After 30 hours of labor, Banker gave birth to her son on June 5, 2016. After meeting and breastfeeding her son for the …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution of $25 or more in Nov. 2017-2018, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites
Mother’s Milk Bank welcomes donor milk from women throughout Colorado and most of the United States. Women interested in donating milk can contact MMB at 303-869-1888.
To be eligible as a milk donor, one must:
Be confident in her milk supply and produce milk in excess of her own baby’s needs
Be willing to donate a minimum total of 150 ounces throughout her time as a donor
Not have any medical condition that prohibits her from giving blood
Be in excellent health without any chronic illnesses or history of major medical issues or cancer, including leukemia
Have no history of hepatitis after age 11 or positive tuberculosis tests
Be a non-smoker and refrain from using tobacco or marijuana products of any kind
Have not received blood or blood products or organ or tissue transplants in the past 12 months
Have no history of intimate contact with anyone at risk for HIV/AIDS
Not be taking vitamin supplements that exceed 2000 percent Daily Value (DV)
Take only approved medications and herbal supplements/teas. Mothers’ Milk Tea, fenugreek and any lactation support product containing fenugreek or other herbs is NOT compatible with donating.
Consume less than 24 ounces of caffeinated beverages a day (2-3 cups of coffee)
Wait 12 hours after drinking any alcoholic beverage to collect milk to donate
Be motivated to practice exceptional hygiene and carry out careful milk collection and storage methods
Be willing to undergo blood testing
Be less than 18 months postpartum when collecting the milk
33 years Mothers' Milk Bank has operated
740,000 ounces of breast milk distributed in 2016
850,000 goal of milk distribution in 2017
140 hospitals around to country receive milk from Mother’s Milk Bank
26 operating milk banks in North America
Source: Mother’s Milk Bank
Kelsey Danker, 24, sat in the living room of her Arvada apartment hugging her one-year-old son, Bodhi. It had been a long year.After 30 hours of labor, Banker gave birth to her son on June 5, 2016. After meeting and breastfeeding her son for the first time, she suffered a seizure in her hospital room and soon learned she had a golf-ball sized tumor in the frontal lobe of her brain that would need to be removed as quickly as possible.But despite the circumstances and the need for immediate surgery, Danker was committed to breastfeeding and providing her son with human milk throughout the process.The new mom put off surgery for three weeks in order to breastfeed her son and pump in anticipation of her upcoming surgery.“They told me that the surgery and trauma from that would affect my supply,” Danker said. “But I was determined to keep it up.”As a first-time mom, Danker said it was important to her to breastfeed her baby not only for the nutritional benefits, but also for the bonding.“It’s a special bond between mom and baby,” Danker said. “It helps with postpartum depression, which I still had that because of everything else, but I felt really close to my baby.”Nutritionally, mothers milk can coat the gut in a way that formula can’t, especially in the first few weeks of life, said Abby Malman Case, international board certified lactation consultant.“There are live properties in breast milk that aren’t in formula,” Malman Case said, adding that certain vitamins and hormones that are beneficial to the baby can’t be replicated in formula.“Because the mom is responding to the environment, she is able to create the antibodies that are specific to her babies,” Malman Case said. “Formula can’t do that.”Babies who are breastfed are reported to have a lower risk of asthma and allergies later in life. In addition, babies who receive breast milk exclusively for the first six months have fewer ear and respiratory infections, Malman Case said.These are the the things Danker, who works as a bartender at the Arvada Tavern in Olde Town Arvada wanted for her son.But the medications involved and the recovery time need after brain surgery would cause Danker not to be able to breast feed. The doctors were also concerned that the new mom may lose her milk supply once she was out of surgery.“If the milk isn’t being removed, then the body gets the message that it doesn’t need to make as much,” Malman Case said.To prevent this, Danker’s mom and step-mom helped her pump every three hours following the surgery.“By pumping, she was keeping up supply for after recovery,” Malman Case said.But what helped supplement Danker’s own milk supply in the thee days following surgery when her milk was not safe for the baby and the three weeks of recovery when she wasn’t producing enough milk, was a donation of human milk from Mothers' Milk Bank in Arvada.Mothers' Milk Bank — a program of Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation — is one of 30 nonprofit donor human milk banks in North America. The nonprofit screens, collects, processes, tests and provides donor human milk to babies across the country. Based in Arvada, the milk bank is the largest in North America distributing 740,000 ounces of milk in 2016. It is the only milk bank in Colorado and distributes breast milk to 140 hospitals around the country.When Danker’s request for milk came, Laraine Lockhart Borman, director of outreach for Mother’s Milk Bank, delivered the donation herself to Presbyterian/St. Lukes Medical Center — where mom and baby were.The milk bank provides milk to babies whose mothers cannot, but what made Danker’s situation different, Lockhard Borman said, was the seriousness and timing of her health condition.“I talked to Kelsey briefly on the phone and there was something about her — we had this personal thing going on,” Lockhart Borman said. “She was so kind and it was real mom-to-mom talk. I knew that the milk bank needed to help her in any way we could.”Danker said the donation was a “blessing.” Between the donation and the milk she produced herself, she as able to feed her son breast milk exclusively.“It was my dream to breastfeed as long as I could exclusively,” she said. “So when I found out I wasn’t able to do that, it was heartbreaking. I can’t even put into words how grateful I was at the time and still am that Mothers' Milk Bank donated to me and Bodhi.”Now, one year after brain surgery, Danker is still breastfeeding.“It’s kind of like liquid gold,” she said, while laughing and sitting on the couch with her son.Danker said she hopes her story will encourage moms to donate their excess milk.“I feel like it’s really important for mothers to donate if they can,” Danker said. “I know a lot of moms who have extra milk who could easily donate if they knew they were able to.”Mother’s Milk Bank opened in 1984 and has been using donated milk to help children throughout the country for the past 33 years.“Any mother who may have extra milk, they can impact the life of a child by their personal donation,” Lockhart Borman said. “They can really make a big difference and save a baby’s life.”
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.