AUSTIN (KXAN) — For months, Randan Steinhauser pumped breast milk, in hopes her seven-week premature twin daughters would be able to drink it once they got out of the hospital.

“The one thing that I could do when I was at home, to feel connected to them when I was at home, was to pump,” Steinhauser said.  Every three hours, all day, for two months, she collected and froze the milk. 

Little Ella and Rose came home after 28 days in the neonatal intensive care unit. They ended up needing a special formula, so all that milk sat in a brand-new deep freezer in the garage. The girls weren’t able to transition to her milk, but she knew she couldn’t let the almost 1,800 ounces go to waste.

On Friday, she loaded up two laundry baskets full of milk bottles and drove them to the Mothers’ Milk Bank at 5925 Dillard Circle, to help other babies in need. 

“We’ve come full circle,” Steinhauser said as she was on her way to the largest milk bank in the country. “Mothers’ Milk Bank provided for my babies when they needed it.” When Ella and Rose were still in the NICU, they received donated milk from that same organization.

Like a lot of moms, Steinhauser couldn’t imagine throwing away all that milk she put time and effort into pumping. She said she really appreciated the milk bank’s simple process for approving her, which required an application, phone call, and blood test. 

Once her and other mothers’ milk is donated, the bank analyzes its nutritional content, bottles it and pasteurizes it to kill any viruses or bacteria, according to its website.

Ella and Rose are now almost 9 months old. Steinhauser said they’ve come a long way, thanks, in part, to a “great treasure we have right here in Austin.”