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TMB Services

Donor and Recipient Testimonial Video

This semester, two Purdue students Sydney Rivera and Taylor Moehling put together a short testimonial video about the power of giving and receiving breast milk donations at The Milk Bank. The video features two incredible women, Olivia Cammack and Lauren Duncan.

After a re-diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, cancer treatments prevented Olivia from breastfeeding her son Kenneth III just three weeks after his birth. She received donor milk from The Milk Bank a few days before running out of her own pumped supply and was thankfully able to feed her son exclusively with expressed breast milk.

Lauren donated her milk through The Milk Bank's bereavement program, Garrett's Gift, after her son Michael passed away in 2011. Now, she is a donor mother coordinator at The Milk Bank.

Check out and share the video about how meaningful and impactful donating breast milk is for so many infants and families in need.

NEW Milk Analysis Process at The Milk Bank

milk.jpg

The Milk Bank continually seeks to provide the highest quality of safe Pasteurized Donor Human Milk (PDHM) to infants in most need. We know that the variability of nutritional content of donor milk can be a concern for the adequate growth of fragile infants. We are pleased to be able to provide nutritional analysis of PDHM for each target pool of donor milk. We intentionally mix donors’ milk in volume-specific ways to obtain a minimum of 20 calories per ounce for hospital clients.

Each bottle of milk now contains a label that lists overall caloric content and protein content. To determine and verify these values, milk is tested from each pool of donor milk. Our equipment reads fat, lactose, and protein content of the milk, allowing for specific pooling of milk to ensure adequate calories and protein content. Knowledge of the nutritional content of milk will:

  1. allow for targeting milk for specific babies and
  2. determine specific fortification processes.

While this does not replace the process of monitoring babies’ individual growth, it is an extra tool to ensure optimum nutrients for fragile infants in hospital care. We’re happy to share there will be no increase in the purchase cost for all of our PDHM.

Do you have questions about our new process we can help answer? Email us at engagement@themilkbank.org!

Featured Recipient Story: Olivia Cammack

By Olivia Cammack, December 2017

My name is Olivia Cammack, I am 29 years old and I was born and raised in Indianapolis. I studied Early Childhood Education/Child Development at Tennessee State University in Nashville and have worked as a nanny ever since college. I have always loved children and couldn’t wait to be a mother. I met my husband in January of 2014, we were married in June of 2017 and gave birth to our son in July of 2017. I was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in January of 2016 and was declared in remission in June of 2016. I was diagnosed with the same thing the second time in February of 2017 (also 3 months pregnant). To make a long story short, both the baby and I had a safe, healthy pregnancy, labor and delivery.  I breastfed our son for his first three weeks of life and then I had to begin cancer treatment once again. Before I had him, I always wanted to only give our son the most natural, healthy options (breast milk, homemade baby food, organic solid foods, etc.) so I couldn’t be more grateful for The Milk Bank and how they have provided for my son since I no longer can (due to the medicines being put in my body).

I feel it’s important to give my baby donor human milk because it gives him everything that he needs at such an early stage in his life. It gives him antibodies that help him fight off anything that he’s not supposed to have and will help keep him from getting sick while it’s life threatening. Also, there are so many bad things in formula. The main thing that stands out to me is sugar. I want my son to have as little sugar as possible because it is empty calories and can contribute to all kinds of diseases in his future.

cammack.jpg

It’s hard for me to put into words how much the gift of donor milk means to me. It means the world to me! I was devastated when I found out I would no longer be able to breastfeed my son especially because it was going so well. When my doula informed me of The Milk Bank I couldn’t stop crying tears of joy. I was so happy that there was another food option besides formula to give my newborn son.

People should support the mission of The Milk Bank because there are parents/caregivers out there who want to give their children the best life has to offer. As a newborn, babies need breast milk, but that’s not an option for some parents/caregivers. Whether it be medical reasons, adoption or premature babies (or many, many more) The Milk Bank gives us the opportunity to give our children exactly what they need even when we can’t. I appreciate The Milk Bank, it’s employees, volunteers, supporters and last but not least the mothers who donate the breast milk out of the goodness of their hearts tremendously and don’t know where I would be without them. You make the world a better place and so many of us are so grateful for all that you do! Thank you!

Meet Lauren, Our New Donor Mother Coordinator

By Carissa Hawkins, Communications Coordinator

It was October of 2011 when I received a call from Kathy Mason the Lactation Consultant at Riley Hospital for Children, telling me about about a mom who wanted to donate after the passing of her son.

It was Lauren.

Lauren Duncan Collage WM
Lauren Duncan Collage WM

Michael Duncan was born in September, 2011 at 23 weeks, 6 days. He lived for a month.

Lauren pumped the entire time and was able provide Michael with breastmilk his entire life. The extra came to us.

Now, Lauren serves as our Donor Mother Coordinator, helping us ensure the generous moms who contact us have a quick, pleasant experience.

Please help us welcome her!

A Day in the Pasteurization Room

By Jami Marvin, Pasteurization Technician, Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank

First thing in the morning we come in and clean. Cleaning plays a vital role in keeping the milk safe for babies. After everything is cleaned, it is then time to see what is going on with the milk for that particular day. Most days, there is already thawed milk in the refrigerator that is waiting to be processed. But, let’s start from the beginning.

When the milk first arrives in our building, it is sorted into bins. We sort it by the mom’s names, and then into the months that it was pumped. That milk then gets put into our Raw Milk Freezer until it’s time to be thawed. Once all the milk has been entered into the intake log, it is then the job of the Pasteurization Coordinator to decide which milk will be put together into which batch. A batch is roughly 650-700 ounces of frozen breast milk that has generally been pumped within a three month time frame. It is preferred that the milk comes from 2-5 different moms, so that we can ensure there is a good average of calories per bottle.

Copyright Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank
Copyright Indiana Mothers' Milk Bank

Once the milk has been designated to a batch, it is time to pull the milk from the freezer to begin the thawing process. We pull the assigned bags in each batch and arrange the milk into wire racks so that it can thaw evenly.

After the milk has had time to thaw, but while it is still partially frozen, we begin the flasking part of the process. Before we begin, we sanitize all counter tops and hands and put on a clean pair of gloves. We also wear aprons, hair nets and masks. Masks are always worn when there is open milk in the pasteurization room.  We take each bag or bottle out of the rack and wipe down any condensation. It is during this process that we inspect the bag or bottle to make sure it is not leaking and to see if it is still properly sealed. The most common thing we find are holes in bags that cause the milk to leak out. If there is a leak in a bag, we have to throw it out because if milk is coming out, then germs can potentially get in. The end result is what we call a ‘breast milk slushy.’ That ‘breast milk slushy’ goes into the refrigerator until it is ready for the next step.

The milk typically sits in the refrigerator overnight so that the remaining ice can melt and the milk is all liquid the next day. The next step is the pooling, or homogenizing step of the process. To pool the milk, we put the flasks of thawed milk into a table that sits in the middle of the room.  We even out each flask so that there is about 1400 milliliters of milk in each. Then the first flask is picked up, swirled gently, and then half of what is in the flask is poured into the next flask. Each flask must be swirled and poured into the next flask until we have gone around the table ten times.

Homogenizing
Homogenizing

The next step is bottling. Full term milk is bottled in 4 ounce portions, and Pre-Term milk is bottled into 2 ounce portions. Pre-Term is milk from a mom that had a baby before 36 weeks of gestation. Pre-Term milk has more nutrients, so it is put into smaller portions so that the smallest babies will get just what they need. The bottles are then sealed with an induction sealer. Then we check each bottle to ensure that it properly sealed.

Once every bottle has been checked, the batch gets to go into the pasteurizer for a hot bath. It heats the milk to the designated temperature for the allotted amount of time, and then it is rapidly cooled. When the machine is done with the cycle, it is our job to properly label each bottle and then place them in the freezer. One bottle from each batch is sent to the lab for testing and when the final lab reports come in, we know that it is ok to send out the milk or discard anything if necessary.

So, there you have it! This is what we do in a day, and now you know how we handle liquid gold.

Can you Donate 100oz? Need a Visual? Click Here!

What does 100 ounces look like?

By: Carissa Hawkins, Communications Coordinator, The Milk Bank

Can you Spare 100 ounces by your baby's 2nd Birthday? Donate Today! {www.immb.org}
Can you Spare 100 ounces by your baby's 2nd Birthday? Donate Today! {www.immb.org}

100 ounces = Nine 7oz frozen bags + Eight 5oz frozen bags

100 ounces = Twenty Five 4 ounce Bottles

100 Ounces, that's all if takes to donate!

If you think you can spare that much, please contact us about donating today! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter or phone us. Or if you're ready, click here to become a Donor!

Milk Bank Misconceptions

What was your first thought when you learned there was a local Milk Bank?  Most often the reaction we receive is disbelief that such a resource has been around for 6 years in Indiana and much longer in other states. Sometimes, people ask if we help pump moms milk in our office. That makes us laugh.

So, today we are going to dispel some misconceptions.

  • Anyone can just drop off milk: No, Sorry. We have to ensure the safety of our milk and therefore our Milk Donors are required to go through an approval process that involves in depth medical questioning, blood testing and the approval of both Mom’s Healthcare Provider and the baby’s Pediatrician,
  • Donors have to pay to donate: Not the case, in fact we cover all the cost of donating including the cost of drawing and testing your blood. We pay for shipping, we can provide milk storage bags, and if  you’re local we’ll pick up your milk.
  • The approval process is too intimidating:  We hope not. From the packet we only need a few forms back. The Healthcare Provider forms will need to be signed by your doctors but we will fax them if you cannot get them signed. After we receive all the forms, the last step is to have your blood drawn. Donors can go to any Quest Diagnostic location and if the Quest location is not convenient, we will ship you a blood draw kit that you can take to a lab or doctors office or nurse to have your blood drawn.   Quick tip: If you ask, most healthcare providers will donate their time to draw your blood if you explain what it’s for.
  • My milk has been in the freezer for 6 months, can you take it? YES! If you are an approved donor, we can take milk that has been stored for 6-7 months. That means milk that was pumped 6 months ago.  If you have a specific question, PLEASE CALL US! We do not want to see your milk go to waste.
  • Why can we only accept milk that has been stored for 6 months?  Breast milk that has been frozen for longer then 6 months starts to loose some of it’s nutritional value.
  • IMMB can only accept milk that was pumped in my first 6 months post partum:  NO! Not true! IMMB can accept milk that has been pumped throughout your child’s first year of life and has been stored in your freezer for no longer then 6 months.
  • I donated 6 months ago when my baby was 3 months old, do I need to be re-approved? Absolutely not! Your initial approval is valid until your baby is a year old and milk you pump can still be accepted after their first birthday if it was pumped before they turned one. Confused yet?
  • IMMB can only accept milk pumped in the bags we provide: Nope. We can send you bags if you need them but we can accept milk in any brand of milk storage bag. Ziplock bags excluded. We prefer bags to milk frozen in storage trays.
  • I don’t have 100 ounces to give right now can I still donate?  YES! We just ask that you provide us with 100oz before your baby’s first birthday,
  • I can’t donate, I’m taking prescription medication. Not so! There are some medications that are perfectly compatible with donating like synthroid or the mini pill. Prenatal vitamins are also fine if they do not contain herbs. We'd love to talk to you about your specific medication before determining if you're medication is compatible with donating. Email us, call us or find us on Facebook or Twitter!
  • Human Milk Banking is too new.  Not true! We’ve been around since 2005 but other Milk Banks associated with the Human Milk Banking Association of North America have been around since the 70’s.
  • IMMB pays Donors for their human milk donation. Nope. Not true. We are a non-profit and rely upon the generosity of our Donors to be able to provide Pasteurized Donor Human Milk to premature and sick NICU babies. We are a community milk bank and look for community grants to help support our Mission also.
  • People only donate for compensation. We have been so blessed to have received the excess breast milk from Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, and Stay at Home Moms who have maintained a pumping schedule when they returned to work and have found they have more then their own child will consume.  Our donors are willing to donate their milk without compensation because they know how important breast milk can be to sick or fragile babies.
  • Pasteurized Donor Human Milk is free.  Unfortunately, PDHM is not free. We wish we could provide the life saving properties of human milk to all babies for free but we can’t. So we charge a processing fee to our ordering hospitals to cover the costs of the milk bank.
  • Why is PDHM so expensive? We wish it wasn’t but unfortunately we process the milk by hand. We thaw it, combine it and bottle it by hand. The only automated part of our process is the actual pasteurization that is done in a machine that brings the milk up to the appropriate temperature for the appropriate amount of time.
  • Why can’t Donors ship milk on Thursdays? Simply because Thursday is too close to the weekend. If the shipping carrier would mess up and not deliver your milk on Friday, we wouldn’t get the box till Monday and there is nothing worse than breast milk sitting unrefrigerated for 3+ days. So, to be on the safe side we ask that Donors only ship to us Monday thru Wednesday.
  • Why isn’t there a Milk Depot near me? We’d like more depots! We’d like to make donating to us the easiest experience possible and Milk Depots help to alleviate the hassle of packing a box, finding dry ice and taking the box to UPS. If you know of a business or organization who would be willing to volunteer their time to be a Milk Depot, let us know!
  • Someone in my home has a cold, can I donate milk pumped durning that time? We ask that you notify us if someone in your household has more then a cold so that we can determine the level of risk to the milk. Most times that is no reason why we cannot accept milk pumped during these times. Our biggest concern is medication. If you become sick and take a medication or herbal treatment, please let us know.
  • I called you today, why didn’t you return my phone call today? Please forgive us if this is the case but please know that we are a staffed with 3 full time employees who wear many hats. Trust us,  we’re just really busy. Please have patience with us. Always feel free to email your need or request, we can answer emails long after we’ve left the office. We're available on Facebook and Twitter too!

How Can You Help? Three Ways!

Hi there,

Chances are, if you are anything like us, you love babies. Maybe you love your own baby or a niece or nephew. Maybe you have an affinity for little baby toes or maybe you swoon over that sweet little hand gripping your pinky finger.

There is nothing like a brand new baby.

Except when that brand new baby is in a hospital NICU lying in an Isolette looking helpless and teeny. Baby was born too early. Maybe baby was born with complications.

As parents we do our best to equip ourselves with all the tools needed to care for a brand new baby. We deck out our nurseries. We research the safest car seats. We take birth and breastfeeding preparation courses.

But chances are we do not prepare for a pre-term birth. How can you?

You can’t. But what you can do is help to ensure that a pre-term baby has access to the life-saving properties of breast milk.

How, you ask? Three ways.

If you were blessed with a healthy milk supply that is growing your own baby, you can consider donating  extra milk to a non-profit human milk bank like the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank (IMMB). Donating is simple and IMMB can and will cover all the costs related to donating.  You can start the process by visiting www.immb.org/how-to-donate/

We know not everyone has milk they can share but we can also use the help of monetary donations. See, we are a non-profit milk bank who relies on the support of grant dollars and donations to be able to provide Pasteurized Donor Human Milk to the sickest smallest babies and we are always in need of financial help. For instance, with just a visit to our offices you will notice that we are still using a phone system from 1912. Ok, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration but seriously they are old. We’d like new ones. Maybe even the kind where you can leave a voicemail for a specific person instead of on the general mailbox. If you have some dollars you could spare, please visit our website or contact our executive director.

Probably one of the best things you can do for us to spread the word. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Talk with your breastfeeding friends about how important donating is for sick babies. Certainly, we’re not asking that you get out a megaphone but we know that word of mouth referrals are crucial.

Before we go, we’d just like to share with you a little taste of what keeps us ticking. This sincere thanks was sent from a mom whose son was born to early and instead of formula received Pasteurized Donor Human Milk from IMMB.

"That donated milk was not only the best food for my baby, it was a gift to me. The mothers that pumped and provided that milk gave me the gift of time. They gave me the gift of patience. And they gave my child the gift of life."

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

The Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank

NEW Milk Depot in St. Louis Opening 8/7/2012

NEW Milk Depot in St. Louis Opening 8/7/2012

Join us August 7th, 2012 as we celebrate the Grand Opening of our 1st St. Louis Milk Depot!

St. Louis area Donors, You now have a more convenient way to get your human milk donations to us! The Cardinal Glennon Milk Depot!

Milk Depot staff will store and ship your milk to us! To make a donation to the Cardinal Glennon Milk Depot, please call Denise Broeker at denise_broeker@ssmhc.com.

Cardinal Glennon

1465 S. Grand Blvd

St. Louis, MO 63104

(314) 242-5912