Donor Breastmilk Helps NICU Twins Thrive
Gabrielle and Donald DeLatte welcomed twin girls Gianna Grace and Genevieve Claire 14 weeks early on Dec. 6, 2021, at Ochsner Baptist. At 26 weeks, Gabrielle started to experience some cramping and was admitted into the hospital to be monitored. Within a couple of hours, she had both babies by emergency cesarean section. Gianna and Genevieve have been in the Ochsner Baptist NICU for 64 days, getting stronger each day.
In addition to the support of the NICU team, Gianna and Genevieve have also benefited from utilizing donor breastmilk from the Mothers' Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist to help them thrive. Because of the twins’ early arrival, Gabrielle's milk supply had not fully come in. Gabrielle says, "The Milk Bank has kept my preemie twins alive. It took almost a week for me to produce just droplets of breastmilk. Though I have been producing more milk lately, my milk supply has not been sufficient to feed both babies. Since the babies desperately needed breastmilk, we have received donor milk daily during our NICU stay."
The Milk Bank of Louisiana depends on breastmilk donations to help support our NICU babies, and recently, donations have been down. Gabrielle knows firsthand how vital donated breastmilk is and encourages anyone who can be a donor to consider signing up. "I would ask anyone who could potentially be a donor to strongly consider contributing to the Milk Bank. Experiencing this journey firsthand has made me realize the importance of this program. There are so many families going through what we are going through, and our babies would not be thriving as they are without the donors. The Milk Bank is saving babies' lives every day."
Gabrielle is also thankful for the support provided by Baptist NICU team. "Though this has been the most challenging experience, the NICU staff has made the past nine weeks so much easier. The front desk managers have greeted my husband and me by name and have warmly welcomed us to visit our babies. The lactation consultants have educated me and served as my personal cheerleaders through my challenges with pumping breastmilk. The social workers have helped me navigate the paperwork and other demands of having sick babies. The therapists have supported us while we learned to care for our babies, and they have entertained us with stories of their families and pets.
“The doctors have spent so much time providing the best care for the babies that they have learned Gianna's and Genevieve's little personalities. Our nurses have read bedtime stories to Gianna and Genevieve while my husband and I were at home overnight. Our nurses have poured themselves into hand-creating milestone cards with the babies' pictures for my family to remember how far they have come. One of our nurses even recently began donating to the Milk Bank herself because she said she sees firsthand the impact of donated milk. I will never be able to repay the Baptist NICU staff for all they have done for my family."
If you are able, please consider signing up to be a breastmilk donor to support NICU babies like Gianna and Genevieve. To learn more about the Mothers' Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist and how you can become a donor, please visit Ochsner.org/MilkBank or call 504-703-6455.