BreastfeedingDonating MilkHealthcare

Around the World: Global Equipment in our Milk Lab

There’s a lot that goes into the production of Pasteurized Donor Human Milk at The Milk Bank. We meet (and sometimes exceed!) the guidelines established by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. It’s our mission to help more babies celebrate their first birthday by providing safe human milk for medically fragile babies. 

But did you know it actually takes the whole world to make safe donor milk at The Milk Bank? Read on to learn about global equipment in our milk lab! 

1 – Milk Lab Bottles from Bulgaria 

Milk Lab Bottles from Bulgaria 
Full bottles going through our induction sealer

After a milk donor is approved by The Milk Bank’s clinical team, they will either drop off their milk at one of our Milk Depots or ship it for free! Layers of safety go into the production process, which include combining the milk from 3-5 donors and pasteurizing donor milk before it is sent to hospitals and outpatient families! 

We use a special type of bottle that works with our pasteurizer. Our bottles are designed in Bulgaria and sanitized onsite. At The Milk Bank, we use 3 different sized bottles that hold 2, 4, and 8 ounces and have thermo-sealed lids to ensure freshness.  Our pasteurization process is important for two reasons: 

  • It removes any harmful bacteria that could be present in the milk. 
  • It supports the safety of the milk for the most fragile NICU baby. 

2 – Milk Lab Nutritional Analyzer from United States 

Milk Lab Nutritional Analyzer from United States 
Our nutritional analyzer

Sure, Illinois isn’t as exotic as our other milk lab equipment from Europe. But we wouldn’t be able to offer safe donor milk to fragile babies without our nutritional analyzer! 

We analyze donor milk for a breakdown of fats, proteins, and calories. This helps us combine the right donor milks to create optimal feedings for every premature and ill infant we serve. 

And keep in mind, one ounce of milk can provide up to 3 feedings for a NICU baby, which is why every drop counts. 

3 – Milk Lab Pasteurizer from England 

Milk Lab Pasteurizer from England 
Check out how many bottles we can fit in our pasteurizer at one time!

After donor milk is added to bottles in our milk lab, it is ready to pasteurize. All nonprofit milk banks like us slowly heat the milk then rapidly cool it to guarantee all the good elements remain. Our pasteurizer at The Milk Bank comes from England because it is designed just for human milk. 

“There are so many positive bacteria and antibodies that naturally exist in breastmilk. If we were to flash pasteurize donor milk at The Milk Bank, we’d kill off all those good organisms along with the bad. And we want to do everything we can to maximize the positives in donor milk!” says Jami Marvin, Production Director at The Milk Bank. “This is why we use the gentler, slower Holder method to safely retain as many good bits as possible.” 

Pasteurized Donor Milk is kept in a walk-in freezer at The Milk Bank until it is dispensed. Then it is sent out in coolers packed with dry ice to hospitals and outpatient families throughout the area we serve. Pasteurized donor milk is good for up to one year from the pump date, which is why our approved Milk Donors write the pump date on every bag of milk they donate! 

In 2023, The Milk Bank shipped milk to 23 states throughout America. And we’re proud to continue helping more babies celebrate their first birthdays with the help of safe donor milk! 

Want to learn more about our work at The Milk Bank? Schedule a tour of our Indianapolis headquarters today! 

Tags: Breastfeeding, Donating Milk, Healthcare

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