Here I am with Kelli Purchase and Naomi Bar-Yam at the Mother’s Milk Bank of New England. In my opinion, everyone who has any interest in breastfeeding and lactation should make a trip to their nearest human milk bank. Just being in the presence of thousands of ounces of mother’s milk stored in rows of freezers is an inspiration. And, perhaps no one can appreciate the precision and labor that go into the process of banking milk until they see where it all happens.
I watched in awe as Kelli opened one freezer. Stored there was what I imagined to be thousands of ounces of milk. Yes, she confirmed, this bereaved mother donated an estimated 24 gallons of her milk. Amazing!
Visiting this particular milk bank was wonderful because it is so new. The first batch of milk was pasteurized only one week ago. Looking around, I realized that pasteurizing the milk is only one small part of what must be done in the course of operating the milk bank. And the equipment! Gigantic freezers, computers, an industrial-grade dishwasher, a pasteurizer, and shipping supplies are all needed to operate the milk bank.
Perhaps the most important thing needed to operate the milk bank is a passion for promoting human milk. Those who operate it and those who donate milk have a passion for promoting the use of human milk. What about the rest of us? What can we donate? Milk? Money? Ideas? Think about it.