Baby sleeping

Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank:
A labor of love

Right now, thousands of medically fragile babies are struggling. These babies and their families are working hard to get healthy. But in many cases, one of the biggest medical advantages they can have isn’t available. Human breast milk.

As physicians, lactation consultants, nurses, hospital administrators, clinicians, educators, and parents, we set out to ensure that every vulnerable infant could have the benefits of breast milk. And thrive.

We are grateful for the support of our whole community. We are making a difference. One ounce at a time.

Our Mission
Three Rivers Mothers' Milk Bank Favicon

Our Mission

Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank is a non-profit organization that improves the health and survival of medically vulnerable infants by providing pasteurized donor breast milk.

Who we serve

Who we serve

While Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank has served recipients from many areas of the United States, we are deeply committed to our regional needs, specifically the facilities and families of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.

Core Values
infant hand held by adult

Core values

The mission of the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank (“MAMMB”) is to improve the health and survival of medically vulnerable infants through the safe collection, pasteurization, and provision of human breast milk.

MAMMB has an ongoing commitment to the evidence-based and equitable use of donor milk. MAMMB strives to ensure that donor milk is accessible to all children with a medical need. Our ongoing work to increase access includes insurance coverage advocacy, data collection, and seeking grant funding to support our discount programs.

Milk banking is a collaboration between donor families, recipient families, and clinicians.  MAMMB strives to make the process of milk banking transparent so that recipient families can feel confident in donor milk safety, donors know exactly how their milk will be used, and clinicians can best counsel the families in their care.

Nothing compares to a parent’s own milk.  It is perfection and is always the goal.  Donor milk can bridge gaps, provide protection against serious complications, and even serve as medicine, but it will never be everything that maternal milk is for a child. Unless breastfeeding is not feasible or is not the choice of the parent, donor milk should always be paired with lactation support, both when a child is being cared for as an inpatient or at home.

MAMMB strives to create a warm and respectful atmosphere that is not only welcoming, but comfortable for staff and everyone that visits the facility or interacts with the milk bank in any capacity.

   One of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation.   

Fred Rogers

Equal Opportunity Workplace

Equal Opportunity Workplace

MAMMB is an equal employment opportunity employer. MAMMB will not discriminate against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, political affiliation, personal appearance, family responsibilities, matriculation, or any legally protected basis. This policy applies to all terms, conditions and benefits associated with employment.

MAMMB believes that there is no more perfect nutrition for infants than a parent’s own milk and recognizes the importance of babies staying in close physical contact with parents in the earlier weeks and months of life to optimize bonding and development.  To support employees in meeting their infant feeding and parenting goals, MAMMB has specific policies regarding pumping and bringing infants into the work place.

Inclusivity, Dignity, and Equity

Inclusivity, Dignity, and Equity

Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank honors the fundamental value and dignity of all people and is committed to fostering an inclusive, supportive, and welcoming environment for employees, board members, customers, recipients, donors, and the community at large.

We acknowledge the significant injustices and inequities that have been and are experienced by BIPOC parents and children including access to human milk.

Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank encourages all of its employees and board members to participate in continuing education regarding implicit biases, cultural humility, inequities, and the needs and rights of all individuals. To facilitate this work, Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank provides access to training opportunities on a frequent basis.

Through these ongoing efforts, Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank commits to working towards full inclusion, acceptance, appreciation, honoring, and welcoming of all people, along with advocating for those with experiences and identities that are often minimized or devalued.

Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank celebrates the beautiful diversity of families. We realize that families are represented by a diversity of parents, including those who identify as LGBTQIA+.

Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank reaffirms its commitment to fostering an inclusive, supportive, and welcoming environment for its transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming employees, board members, customers, donors, and the community at large. The Milk Bank condemns and grieves all instances of bias, discrimination, violence, hatred, and intimidation against transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals.

Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank further encourages all of its employees, board members, customers, and donors to continue to educate themselves and their constituencies about the needs and rights of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people, including the right to use the identity, name, and pronoun of an individual ‘s choice and the ways in which every day language choices can be modified so that they are fully inclusive of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people. To that end, the Milk Bank will be requiring all employees and board members to participate in training on the needs and rights of the transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community which will be conducted by the City of Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations.

Through these continued efforts, Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank commits to working towards full inclusion, acceptance, appreciation, celebration and welcoming of people of all gender identities and to advocating for the full equality and equal protection of transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people under the law.

   Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.   

Fred Rogers

Our history

Our history

In the summer of 2013, a group of Pittsburgh neonatologists, pediatricians, lactation consultants, nurses, pharmacists, and non-profit professionals met for the first time to discuss the possibility of opening a milk bank to improve Western Pennsylvania’s higher than average infant mortality rates. A founding Board of Directors was quickly formed, and on October 23, 2013 the organization was incorporated as Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank. Over the next two years, the organization worked to fundraise nearly $1M to construct and equip its lab. With the help of countless volunteers, individual donors, and the tremendous financial support of more than a dozen Pennsylvania foundations, the milk bank became accredited in December 2015 and opened its doors on January 4, 2016.

In August 2017, the organization changed its name to Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank to better reflect who we serve.

In 2020, we launched Donor Milk in Your Neighborhood. This network of depots and dispensaries is designed to make it easier for approved donors to drop off milk donations and to make donor milk more accessible to families that can benefit from outpatient donor milk.

Accreditation

Accreditation

Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank is accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) and is licensed in the state of Maryland.

The milk bank is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit and all financial contributions are tax deductible.

Human Milk Banking Association of North America
Administrative Staff
Denise O’Connor, BS, IBCLC Founder and Executive Director of MAMMB

Denise O’Connor, BS, IBCLC

Founder and Executive Director

As a lactation consultant, Denise has been helping parents meet their breastfeeding goals for over two decades. She earned her degree in neuroscience, and prior to becoming an IBCLC, worked in cognitive rehabilitation. Through the years Denise has done extensive work with local non-profit organizations focusing on women’s and children’s issues, including multiple start-ups.

When she is not at the milk bank, Denise is most likely to be found in her garden or enjoying time spent with her husband, their three grown children, and their two feisty rat terriers.

Sara

Sara Vins Bobish

Business Manager

Sara previously worked as an attorney and as an editor at a legal publishing company. After giving birth to her two children, she focused on community volunteering. She was privileged to serve as the co-leader of the International Cesarean Awareness Network of Southwestern PA for three years, where she helped to support, educate, and advocate for mothers.

Sara studied history at the University of Maryland before earning a Juris Doctor from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She loves her adopted city of Pittsburgh and is very happy to be part of the amazing milk bank team. She enjoys reading and cooking, and she lives with her family in Highland Park.

Lab Staff
Cyndy

Cyndy Verardi, BS, CLC

Director of Operations

Cyndy earned her chemistry degree from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. She worked 12 years in the paint industry and co-authored two patents before choosing to stay home to raise her family. Having breastfed all five of her children, including her twins, she came to truly appreciate the importance of breast milk when her youngest was born. Six weeks premature, he spent time in the NICU as well as additional hospitalizations and was later diagnosed with a rare thyroid condition and as a type 1 diabetic. Cyndy credits breast milk and his endocrinologists’ brilliance with saving his life.

“I am honored to now be in a position to facilitate the sharing of this life-saving gift with our most vulnerable, medically fragile babies.”

Bethany Kaspryszyn , Donor Milk Lab Manager

Bethany Kaspryszyn

Donor Milk Lab Manager

While she has experience in a variety of lab settings, Bethany has found working at the milk bank to be the most fulfilling. She enjoys coming to work every day because she knows that she is not only helping the tiniest babies of our area thrive, but her work is impacting the well-being of the whole family.

Bethany is involved with all aspects of the milk bank lab from pooling milk to drug testing and macronutrient analysis. Currently, she is pursuing a degree in biotech and biology.

Bethany loves spending time with her son, Noah. Together, they have a passion for animals and are involved in animal rescue and even raising chickens on their little urban homestead. Gardening is another interest and Bethany is always looking for new things to grow.

Kaleigh Herron, Donor Milk Lab Tech

Kaleigh Herron

Donor Milk Lab Tech

Kaleigh graduated from Juniata College with a degree in environmental economics. She began her post baccalaureate career with Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience (PULSE), where she served at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh and fell in love with nonprofit work and Pittsburgh.

Kaleigh helps with the day-to-day duties of the milk bank, from processing milk, to filling orders, managing milk bank data, and anything in between. When not at the milk bank, you can find her at local farmers markets working with Just Harvest to make fresh food accessible to everyone. Outside of work, Kaleigh enjoys swing dancing and playing the clarinet.

She is thrilled to be a part of the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank team, helping her community and optimizing the health and well-being of vulnerable babies.

Camille Boufford, BA, MM Donor Milk Lab Tech

Camille Boufford, BA, MM

Donor Milk Lab Tech

Camille is a scientist, musician, and proud member of the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank team. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the College of Wooster and a Master of Music Performance degree at the University of South Dakota.

Camille was elated to move to Pittsburgh and start working at the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank. As a member of the laboratory staff, she processes milk, conducts nutritional analyses, performs drug testing protocols, and completes a myriad of additional milk-related tasks. Camille is honored to produce a product that gives the youngest of humans a strong start in this world!

Camille is also passionate about milk science and spreading knowledge of the field. As such, she works with the milk bank’s institutional research committee to write and communicate the milk bank’s findings.

When not at the milk bank, Camille performs on viola, goes for long walks, and snuggles her guinea pigs.

Screening
Margaret DeLair, RN, CLC, Doula Director of Donor Milk Program

Margaret DeLair, RN, CLC, Doula

Director of Donor Milk Program

Margaret began her career in nursing on the Labor, Delivery and Post-Partum Unit. She has also worked on a medical/surgical unit, as a surgical nurse with a plastic surgeon and as a substitute school nurse. She has had the experience of being a partner/co-owner in a biological and infectious substance training company. More recently she has enjoyed working as a birth doula. Margaret has had the pleasure of visiting Haiti and Guatemala on a number of medical mission trips. She is now extremely happy to have the opportunity to work at the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank where her passion of working with young women can continue. She is the proud mother of two grown daughters, and grandmother of two grandchildren.

Ellen

Ellen Rubin, MA, IBCLC

Donor Screener

For more than two decades, Ellen’s professional focus has been on providing support to women and families. After completing a Bachelor of Science in psychology at The College of William and Mary, she earned her Master of Arts in agency counseling at Rhode Island College.

Ellen attributes her own positive breastfeeding experiences to the expert assistance she received from lactation consultants and La Leche League, a mother-to-mother breastfeeding support organization. This assistance was instrumental in her decision to become a volunteer La Leche League Leader and earn certification as a lactation consultant.

Ellen and her husband, Jonathan, have two sons. In addition to providing breastfeeding support, Ellen enjoys spending time with her family, baking, and reading. She stays active in her community through a variety of volunteer positions.

Board of Directors

Jamie Bishop, Assistant General Counsel, Allegheny Technologies Incorporated
Debra Bogen, MD, Director, Allegheny County Health Department Volunteer Medical Director
Monita Brock, MS, CLC, Family Interventionist, University of Pittsburgh
Jessica Davis, Graduate Student Researcher, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
Jill Demirci, Ph.D, RN, IBCLC, Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh, School of Nursing
Patricia Fish, BS, RN, IBCLC, ICCE, Registered Nurse and Community Educator, St. Clair Hospital
Josette Fitzgibbon
s, Neighborhood Business District Manager, URA President
Susann Guess, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Retired (Clinical Director, NICU)
Jen Kloesz, MD, Medical Director, Magee NICU; Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh Medical School President Elect
Kristen Maguire, Director of Nursing, Women and Infant Services, West Penn Hospital
Rachel Margolies, MSW, LCSW, Ethics Consultant and Senior Clinical Social Worker, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Devan Mercurio, Assistant Manager of Individual Giving, Pittsburgh Opera
Jessica Miller, Senior Manager, Risk Advisory Services, Schneider Downs & Co., Inc.
Ryan Miller, CPA, Director, Tax Compliance, Allegheny Technologies Incorporated Treasurer
Mary Louise Osborne, Chief Customer Office, Ontrak Inc.
Jeff Sarabok, RN, MBA, Manager, St. Clair Hospital Past President
Andrew (Drew) Sheinen, AVP, Provider Contracts, Cigna

Our medical advisory board

Abeer Azzuqa, MD, Neonatology, Magee-Women’s Hospital
Kelley L. Baumgartel, RN, BSN, PhD, Assistant Professor, Duquesne University, School of Nursing
Debra Bogen, MD, Director, Allegheny County Health Department Volunteer Medical Director
Kim Costello, DO, Director, Neonatology, St. Luke’s Health Network
Beverly Curtis, MSN, PNP-BC, IBCLC, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Keystone Health
Kathy Donahue, MSN, RNC-OB, IBCLC, Director, Maternal-Child Services, Doylestown Hospital
Nilima Karamchandani, MD, retired Director, NICU, West Penn Hospital
Jen Kloesz, MD, Medical Director, Magee NICU; Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh Medical School
Amy Maddalena DO, IBCLC, Pediatrician, Kids Plus Pediatrics/ Medical Director, The Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh
Judith Martin, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Frank Nice, Rph, DPA, CPHP, President, Nice Breastfeeding, LLC
Anne Shaheen, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology, UPMC OB/GYN Associates of Pittsburgh