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We make donated breast milk safe for even the most tiny, sick babies

Collect

Collected milk loaded on cart

Collect

Donated breast milk from an individual donor is weighed, bar coded, and scanned into our database until selected for processing. In 2020 we processed around 5,500 ounces a day!

Thaw

Collected Milk Thawing in Mothers Milk Bank Refrigerator

Thaw

Milk is slowly thawed overnight in refrigerators until it reaches a cold liquid state we can work with in our lab.

Pour

Pouring collected milk for mothers milk bank into glass canisters

Pour

We pour milk from their original storage containers into large flasks, and use an agitation method to uniformly combine milk from 2-5 donors. The unofficial term for these new “pools” of combined milk is target pooled milk  – specially formatted to meet the nutritional and immunity needs of the tiny and sick babies who will drink it.

Test

Testing milk at mothers milk bank

Test

Each donor’s deposit of milk is tested before mixed into the targeted pools. We need to know what bacteria are in the milk before we pasteurize.

Bottle

Bottling up donated milk to Mothers Milk Bank

Bottle

Milk’s poured into our custom 3 or 1.5 ounce bottles with a custom-designed machine that puts just the right number of drops into each bottle.

Pasteurize

Pasteurizing process at Mothers Milk Bank

Pasteurize

We heat each bottle of milk to 62.5 °C for 30 minutes in a process called Holder Pasteurization, then quickly cool the milk in ice baths. This 2-part process kills viruses and bacteria that could be harmful to fragile babies, while retaining most of the milk’s good components.

Fact: Formula companies haven’t been able to reproduce the immune-boosting benefits of breast milk, so formula offers 0% immunity. Even after pasteurization, our donor human milk has 70% immune factors compared to milk straight from the breast. This is literally life-saving for premature babies born before their bodies could develop and activate their own immune systems.

Test (again)

Preparation team testing pasteurized milk again for the Mothers Milk Bank

Test (again)

Another sample from each batch of pasteurized milk is sent out to the 3rd party lab for evidence that all harmful bacteria and viruses were successfully removed.

Freeze

Donated milk to Mothers Milk Bank is frozen as apart of the preparation process

Freeze

All the little bottles of life-saving milk are labelled with a QR code and stored in our walk-in freezers until they’re called to duty.

Feed

Premie baby being held before being feed donated milk to Mothers Milk Bank

Feed

We get calls all day long from hospitals and families, ordering milk for the babies in their care. Thanks to the amazing gift of milk from our donors, we’re able to customize each order, sending milk with the right amount of nutrients for each baby.

Young baby yawning

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