Viewing entries tagged
Breast Milk

Donor story: When ‘thanks’ is not enough

Donor story: When ‘thanks’ is not enough

What do you do when you’re on bed rest for seven weeks? Well, not much, according to Lynn Parkhurst. “I just laid there. I learned how to crochet. I caught up on a lot of shows,” the Wisconsin mom of two said. Both of her…

Donor story: Pushing herself toward the goal

Donor story: Pushing herself toward the goal

Support and determination are two words Lindsey Seitz can relate to. The first-time mom to 10-month-old son, Houston, said she didn’t know much about breastfeeding, let alone being a milk donor, but she was determined to do both.   “After ten month of extreme dedication,…

Donor story: When ‘thanks’ is not enough

Donor story: When ‘thanks’ is not enough

What do you do when you’re on bed rest for seven weeks? Well, not much, according to Lynn Parkhurst. “I just laid there. I learned how to crochet. I caught up on a lot of shows,” the Wisconsin mom of two said. Both of her…

Yes. Your Breast milk will be Different Colors. It's ok!

The Milk Bank would like all of our donors to know that every drop of milk is seen as “liquid gold”. The milk that a woman shares is life saving and we are always grateful for every woman who has made the choice to donate their breast milk. Often, though, we are asked if we can accept milk from approved donors whose milk may have some color and smell variation, the answer will always be YES!


Why is my milk a different color from one day to the next? 

Breast milk does not always look the same because it changes constantly in its nutritional composition. Breast milk is naturally designed to meet the changing needs of development in the baby.

Any unusual color of a mother’s breast milk is due mostly to her diet. For example, food dyes in foods or drinks can alter the color of breast milk. It may be thin and watery looking, and may have a blue or yellow tint to it. It can even take on a hint of green if large amounts of green colored foods are consumed. The color of the milk is usually not anything to be concerned about.

What if my milk smells different? 

This common. Moms might be concerned that their breast milk may taste or smell unusual, A change in the taste and smell of stored breast milk can occur due to an enzyme called lipase (which naturally occurs in breast milk) breaking down fat into fatty acids. It may have a soapy or metallic taste, however, this is not harmful but some babies may dislike the taste and refuse the milk. This doesn’t happen to many mothers, but in those who have a high lipase activity.There isn’t anything wrong with the levels of lipase in your milk; it just breaks down those fats extra fast.

Do milk banks even want milk affected by excess lipase?

Yes!  When the milk bank receives a donation of milk it is pooled and mixed with several other donors’ milk and then pasteurized, therefore any unusual colors or smells disappear.

As long as your expressed breast milk is stored correctly, your breast milk is perfectly fine to donate!


If you have specific concerns about your milk, please do not hesitate to contact us!




Breastmilk: a Life Insurance Policy

Breastmilk: A Life Insurance Policy

By: Carissa Hawkins, Communications Coordinator, The Milk Bank

Debbie Pedersen refers to her deep freezer full of breastmilk as her "Life Insurance Policy" because it is.

Five years ago Debbie gave birth to her first child, a daughter who was born with a cleft lip and palate and a rare syndrome that was diagnosed in utero. Once born, Kaia had a weeklong stay in the NICU and that's when Debbie was first introduced to the breast pump.

Debbie used a hospital grade pump continuously until she realized the convenience and quiet of a manual hand pump. While in the NICU, Debbie and her husband were offered Pasteurized Donor Human Milk (PDHM) for Kaia until Debbie's milk came in. They refused, not knowing much about PDHM at the time.


Breastmilk: A Life Insurance Policy {}

Initially, breastfeeding wasn't guaranteed for Debbie because of Kaia's cleft lip and palate but with the help of a nipple shield Kaia was able to latch until she had the surgery to correct the cleft at 4 months age. After the surgery the doctors asked Debbie not to use the nipple shield in order to protect the delicate tissue they had just repaired. After 3 days of unsuccessful feeding with the recommended syringes, Debbie was getting desperate, and the plastic surgeon relented that she try feeding at the breast without the nipple shield. Debbie put Kaia to her breast and Kaia latched, perfectly! All the while, Debbie had been pumping to maintain her supply and quickly learned she was blessed with an over supply. Having remembered the offer of PDHM from the NICU, Debbie reached out to the Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank and became a Donor. All told, Debbie donated over 1200 ounces in 2008.

Kaia and Debbie continued their breastfeeding relationship until Kaia was 27 months old mainly due to a diagnosis of kidney cancer. Debbie had continued to pump in addition to breastfeeding in order to make sure she could continue to provide Kaia with breastmilk throughout cancer treatment. Debbie felt her breastmilk was vital to helping Kaia through chemotherapy. Thus, the deep freezer "Life Insurance Policy".

Fast forward to present day, Debbie has since given birth to 2 boys, the youngest being 9 months old. Debbie kept pumping and donated 1100 ounces with her second child.  Now with her third child she exclusively uses a hand pump while breastfeeding. She nurses from one breast and pumps the other every time she feeds the baby. At the height of her supply, Debbie was pumping 100 ounces a day in addition to exclusively breastfeeding her son. Did you get that? Debbie’s using a hand pump to express 100 ounces a day!


Having an over supply of milk, while a blessing, isn't easy for Debbie. Because she pumps when she feeds, she often times finds it hard to find a semi private location to nurse in public. And if she leaves her house, even for a little while, she must take a pump or the pain of engorgement is more then she can bear.

As of this writing, Debbie Pedersen has donated 8,939 ounces since the birth of her youngest with only the help of a manual hand pump. We asked Debbie if she had any advice to give other moms who might be experiencing over supply.  She said, "Donate. It's easy and you really can make a difference."

Dos and Don'ts of Storing Breast Milk

Dos and Don'ts of Storing Breast Milk

by: Andrea Tincher, Pasteurization Tech, IMMB

Dos & Dont's of Storing Breastmilk {}


  • DO include first and last name of mom or baby, date (mm/dd/yy) milk was pumped, and donor number if known. Estimated number of ounces is always a bonus!
  • DO be sure to fill bags only to the maximum amount listed on the bag! 5 ounces is preferred.
  • DO store bags as flat as possible in your freezer. TIP: Store bags in a plastic storage bin, shoe box or another container in your freezer. Some moms even use a separate container to store milk in order by earliest date frozen.
  • DO be sure to remover any excess air before zipping the bag closed.
  • DO be sure to zip your bags and double check they are completely sealed- this is important!
  • DO keep a permanent marker in your pumping bag and mark the storage bags as they are filled. We know sleep deprivation is a real thing and we want to make sure your milk is accurately labeled and dated.


  • DON'T store bags on their side, tightly against other items, or against the freezer door.
  • DON'T overfill the storage bag! Please only fill the bag to its maximum capacity.
  • DON'T forget to double check that you have labeled your bags before donating.
  • DON'T overlook general hygiene, hand washing, and sanitizing your pumping parts.

Dos & Don'ts of Storing Breastmilk {}


When milk storage bags leak not only is milk lost in volume but the composition of the milk is changed such as fat, protein, and nutritional content.

If your bag has a hole or is not sealed properly it is possible for germs and bacteria to get into the milk.

As milk freezes, it expands…a lot!  Bags that are too full will most likely burst at the seams or tear.

We highly value you as a donor and want you to be confident that all of your milk is being used.  These guidelines not only help us but will also help you know that your own baby is getting the best of your milk.  Properly storing it will ensure that we are able to use all of your milk to nourish the babies who need it most.

Please take special note: if your bags are not properly labeled we will be unable to use your milk.  Bags that are not labeled become a safety concern due to the volume of milk and number of donors we may receive at any given time.  The guessing game of “Who’s milk is this?” is not a risk we are willing to take when it comes to feeding our fragile babies.

Pumping: 5 Tips to Make Pumping Easier

Pumping: 5 Tips to Make Pumping Easier

By: Sarah Long, IBCLC

  1. Relax. Find a secure, private location where you won't be interrupted if your are pumping in a public space. Ensuring you won't be interrupted will help you relax and express more milk. Breast massage before pumping can help facilitate a let down also.
  2. Do your Flanges Fit? Making sure you have a proper fit can make for a more pleasant pumping experience. Here is a good tutorial.
  3. Don't pay attention to how much milk is coming out: cover your flanges with a nursing cover or towel and focus your attention on something else. Sure you wanna make sure your not spilling milk out of the bag or bottle but don't spend your entire pumping session watching the milk come out. Paying attention to how much or how little is being pumped can cause undue stress. Stress can lead to less milk. My favorite distraction was photos and videos of my baby on my smart phone. Watching her helped me make more milk.
  4. Create a Pumping Basket: Keeping the things you'll need in one location can help make getting ready to pump faster. Keep water, a towel, a snack and extra pumping supplies handy. Keeping everything in one basket that you can grab when it time to pump means you won't have to interrupt your pumping session for water or a snack.
  5. Pumping is an appointment: Pumping at consistent times throughout the day or week is best. Schedule your pumping sessions on your work calendar and don't double book yourself. Pumping is important not only for your child but also your comfort throughout the day.
  6. Ask for HELP if you need it: There are lots of resources out there to help. Visit your local Breastfeeding USA or Le Leche League meeting or contact an IBCLC.

Donor Milk in the NICU: Dr. Kenneth Herrmann

Donor Milk in the NICU

By Dr. Kenneth Herrmann, Medical Director, Newborn Services, The Women's Hospital

Premature infants tolerate human milk better than cow’s milk based formula because they have less emesis, less diaper rash and most important, less necrotizing enterocolitis. Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious and sometimes fatal intestinal complication of very low birth weight infants. The frequency of NEC ranges from 4 to 18% and depends on an individual NICU’s feeding practices. Since changing to an exclusively human milk diet, the rate of feeding associated NEC in our NICU has declined to 1%.

We use donor human milk when a mother’s own milk is not available in order to achieve an exclusively human milk diet. The amount of donor milk needed depends on the mother’s ability to provide milk. We always prefer to use a mother’s own milk ahead of donor mother’s milk. Mothers that intended to breast feed before delivering prematurely typically need about a half-pint of donor milk while waiting for their milk to come in. Mothers that planned to feed formula before delivering prematurely typically provide less of their own milk; we use about a half-gallon of donor milk to feed their babies.

Our donor human milk comes from the Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank. When we recommend using donor milk, most of the mothers tell us that they do not know about milk banks. They often wonder about the donor mothers. Similar to blood donation, donor mothers are screened for health safety. The donors are required to avoid most medications and a list of foods and drinks. The typical donors are highly educated professional women, often employed in health professions. Milk donors are not paid for their milk.

While breast feeding is a labor of love, the donor mothers labor above and beyond to provide a precious gift.

Mothers of infants that receive donor milk often prefer that their babies receive only their own milk. “I want my baby to have my milk.” However, when mothers consider the health advantages of human milk they prefer donor human milk to formula. When a mother cannot provide enough of her own milk, we recommend using milk from the Indiana Mother’s Milk Bank.


Motherhood Express Milk Depot Milk Depot Grand Opening 9/12/13

Motherhood Express Breastfeeding Resource Center to become IMMB's 3rd Kentucky Milk Depot!

Please join us Thursday, September 12th at noon as we celebrate the Milk Depot Grand Opening at Motherhood Express Breastfeeding Resource Center.

Refreshments will be provided.

7000 Houston Blvd, Building 200. Suite 19, Florence, Kentucky

(859) 746-2460