Donors pump and store milk in their home freezers. For those who live nearby, milk can be dropped off to our facility. Donors who live outside of the greater Pittsburgh area ship their milk through FedEx. We send you a box with packing instructions and FedEx picks the box up from your home.
Milk is thawed on trays overnight in the refrigerator.
All utensils, flasks, and equipment that come into contact with milk are washed and sanitized in a commercial high temperature sanitizing dishwasher. All lab personnel carefully scrub their hands and put on protective garments, including, hair, mouth, and shoe coverings.
The thawed milk is poured through a strainer into glass flasks. The milk of up to five donors is pooled together.
The pooled milk is thoroughly and gently mixed by swirling and pouring the milk between the flasks.
Milk is poured into sterile, BPA free bottles and closed with tamper resistant caps.
Filled bottles are put into baskets and placed into the pasteurizers. These units, manufactured by UK based ACE Intermed, are built specifically for human milk and tightly control the pasteurization process. All HMBANA milk banks use the Holder Method of Pasteurization (62.5°C for 30 minutes) which inactivates pathogens while maintaining the majority of the milk’s bioactive components which support the immune systems of our recipient babies.
A random bottle from each batch is sent for bacterial culture. If the bottle shows any growth, the batch cannot be used and will be offered for research or discarded.
Milk is tested for a panel of common drugs.
Milk is tested for calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrate content.
Processed milk is stored frozen and is distributed by hospital order or prescription only to NICUs and outpatients. The milk bank offers 50ml (usually reserved for preemie milk), 100ml, and 200ml bottles.