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My Visit to the Milk Bank

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.

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6 Comments

  1. Kathleen Marinelli MD

    Dear Marie,
    Thanks for taking the time to visit our milk bank, and for blogging on the importance of the work we and all HMBANA milk banks do! It is an exciting place to be!!
    Best,
    Kathie Marinelli MD
    Medical Director, MMBNE

  2. Kelli Purchase

    Marie,
    Had a wonderful time showing you the ins and outs of our milk bank — and thank you for blogging about us and promoting HMBANA banks! The work we do needs support from those like YOU!
    Warmly,
    Kelli Purchase
    Laboratory Director, MMBNE

  3. Ilene

    Hi Marie! So glad you got a chance to visit our Milk Bank 🙂 I have several coworkers taking your class this June and a Peer Counselor that took it last year taking the exam this year. I only have great things to say about your review course. I miss the breastfeedingoutlook publication still!
    Warmly,
    Ilene Fabisch, IBCLC

    • Marie Biancuzzo RN MS IBCLC

      Ilene, sooooo great to hear from you. I think you’ve been following me around since Day One! I’m actually flattered that you miss the hard copy of Breastfeeding Outlook. However, my hope is to bring the same content to this blog, so stay tuned. The transition from “business as usual” to a more electronic format has been harder than we thought. But there’s more to come. Stay tuned!

  4. Elizabeth Murphy

    I am here in Kansas City Mo and just went to an seminar from Saint Luke’s Health System about the Milk Bank here….I am saying…what a lot of work indeed…I am also so touched by the bereaved mom’s donations…the love of a woman for others in need is like no other….

  5. Brenda M. Wagner

    Marie,
    Just returned from Woodbridge. Am intrigued with visiting a milk bank….how do you go about setting up a visit. I am not opposed to visiting New England but I am closer to DC….I am in southern NJ.
    Thanks,
    Brenda

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