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3 Rivers Milk Bank…{Making a difference, one ounce at a time…}

Hello, my name is Mary Beth and I am a photographer and former blogger…with shame… as i am WAY behind on blogging…ugh.

A family emergency left me in PA for 5 weeks with not much notice.  Luckily I was able to grab one of my cameras and a few lenses and did some photo sessions and fun visits with many cool people i know there.  It  was an honor to get to spend some quality time learning more about The 3 Rivers Milk Bank located in the Pittsburgh, PA area is the creation of one of my high school friends Denise O’Connor.  They are a group of clinicians, nonprofits professionals and community volunteers working to establish a donor milk bank to serve the neonatal intensive care units and babies of PA, WV, and NJ.


Denise is an IBCLC certified lactation consultant and La Leche League Leader (retired). She had been working with nursing mothers and their infants for over 18 years. Denise earned her degree in neuroscience from The University of Pittsburgh and worked in cognitive rehabilitation prior to becoming a lactation consultant in 2004. Through the years, she has done extensive board work in local non-profit organizations with a focus on women’s and children’s issues including Three Rivers Adoption Council, The Midwife Center, and The Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library.

In addition to all of these things…Denise is a super brilliant lady with a strong passion for making a difference…and, if I may say so myself, a VERY cool mom to 3 very cool kids.  She is happily married to a very cool guy (and our high school classmate too!)  Denise organized a group of high school classmates to help during my chemo treatments.  Thanks to her, I had a cleaning service come and take care of our home every week for the 18 weeks of my treatment.  It was the most wonderful gesture and I will never forget her and all who made that possible.  It truly was a lifesaver as I was too sick to even think about household chores…  She is a beautiful person.  And now so many more people are benefiting from her kindness and helpful spirit.


Here’s some information about the Milk Bank…


“Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank recognizes the importance of breast milk to optimize the health and well-being of all babies, especially medically vulnerable infants. When mothers’ own milk is unavailable, Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank provides donor human milk, which is collected and processed according to the guidelines set forth by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. We also aim to facilitate research and education in human lactation.”


Denise broke up some of our family drama by giving me a VIP tour of the milk bank.  I was very impressed to say the least, not only at the organization but it’s size and the tremendously positive impact within the community.


The use of donor milk is growing as several  hospitals in PA are expanding to use the donor milk in their Mother-Baby Units.  The use of donor milk results in an overall increase in maternal breastfeeding rates upon discharge.  Healthy infants may require a small amount of the supplemental milk in the early days after birth called “bridge milk” as mom and baby work on building a milk supply and latching.


For more information check out THIS LINK.


So proud of all that you do for the community Denise.  You are a very humble and genuine superstar.  Thank you for sharing your passion and the story of the Milk Bank with me during my visit.  Oh and also thank you for the tour of the cool neighborhoods that have developed since I lived in PA too {and our very yummy lunch!}



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