As a mother of two young children, Nicole Gallagher knows better than some the importance of having a healthy supply of milk for growing infants. She says she is blessed with an “oversupply” of breastmilk, and she’s putting it to good use at Texas Lactation Consultants, Houston’s first neighborhood-based breast milk bank which opened its doors in the Heights recently.
“Knowing and seeing what breast milk has done for my own children, in the sense they have been growing and thriving because of it, I want to share that with other people,” Gallagher said. “Any opportunity to breastfeed, even if it’s for a short time, is extremely beneficial.”
Lactation consultant and co-founder Barbara Miller said TLC fills an important and much-needed niche for mothers across the Houston area.
“Some moms aren’t able to provide milk for their babies, and we decided when we got this nice space in September that we needed to be a part of giving back to the milk bank,” Miller said.
One of the biggest benefits is the ease of access for local residents. Most dropoff centers are within medical centers like hospitals around the city, and with TLC located at 1533 Heights Blvd, it is the first neighborhood-based drop off in Houston. Gallagher lives in the area, and being able to drop off milk without having to worry about paying for and finding parking is a major difference.
Those who want to donate can visit www.milkbank.org and they will be directed to the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin, Miller said. After completing a short phone interview, blood work will be completed and the process takes about four days to complete.
TLC also offers pumps to rent and once a week the donated milk will be shipped to Austin for processing and distribution. Containers for storing milk can also be provided to donors as well.
“The milk can go sometimes to 22 or 23 different states and maybe 128 hospitals where mothers really can’t provide enough milk,” Miller said. “It really saves babies lives.”
For more information, visit www.texaslactationconsultants.com or call 713-884-6204.