FORT WORTH, Texas - A Lewisville mom who lost her baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is using her grief to help other babies.
For one month now, Megan Ragan has donated her breast milk to help premature or sick babies have a better chance of survival.
Megan and her husband, Joshua, only had three short months with their daughter, Anistyn.
“She had quite a big personality,” Joshua said.
“The second you called her cutie, she would just beam,” Megan said.
Their daughter died suddenly on December 9 of SIDS.
“Everything was fine. Her health was perfect,” Megan recalled. “It just happened so quick.”
After Anistyn's death, Megan wanted her baby's milk to help other babies and found ‘Mother's Milk Bank.’ The Fort Worth-based nonprofit is one of only 25 human milk banks in the U.S. It distributes milk to hospital NICUs for premature or sick babies.
“There is a limited supply of milk, explained the milk bank’s executive director, Amy Vickers. “The sickest babies get the milk first.”
When donations come in, Mother’s Milk Bank pasteurizes the milk and analyses its nutrients to make sure preemies get the right amount.
“Human milk has immunological properties that prevent infections,” Vickers said. “And infections in pre-term and sick tiny babies is life threatening.”
Dr. Paul Lansdowne with Methodist Mansfield Medical Center says human milk makes a significant difference for premature babies in their NICU.
“It shortens their time in the NICU and improves their chances overall,” he said.
Meghan Bryan knows the importance of donated milk. Her baby, Daniel, was 10 weeks premature, and she was not producing milk yet.
“I was very happy and thankful the milk bank was available,” she said. “And he was able to get the milk because it put my mind at ease that he wasn't at risk for something that could be life threatening."
Megan admits that it is difficult to pump milk when her baby is no longer with her. But she says doing something for other babies helps her cope.
“If I'm able to save one child, it just means the world to me knowing her life gave someone else life,” she said.
Megan has donated more than 200 ounces of milk so far. It's enough to help dozens of babies. She plans to keep donating milk for the same amount of time she planned to nurse Anistyn.