New Utah milk bank quickly provides vital resource to NICU Babies

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Breast Milk donations in Utah once had to travel to Denver to be prepared for a baby.  That process is done, thanks to the Mountain West Mother’s Milk Bank processing milk locally for Utah NICU babies. 

Inside the freezers of the milk bank, is life-saving breast milk for the most fragile babies in Utah.

Elizabeth Smith is the Board Chair for the milk bank.  She explained the milk bank will provide “fully pasteurized human milk donated by local moms for local babies in NICUs throughout the valley.”

One month ago, the milk bank passed a rigorous accreditation process to make sure they were ready to go. 

Since they passed breast milk donations will now stop there before going to hospitals across Utah.

Frozen milk donations from Utah and Idaho come to the milk bank. 

Once they arrive, they are screened, pasteurized and tested.  It is of the upmost importance that this precious resource is precisely prepared for babies.

Abby Heiland is a donor screener for the milk bank. 

She explained, “Staying organized and making sure everything is neat and clean is how we make sure everything is safe and has been properly screened.”

The work inside the milk bank will save lives.  For NICU babies, mother’s milk is best. But only 30 percent of mothers to the early arrivals actually produce milk. 

The milk bank makes up the rest. 

An exclusive breast milk diet allows pre-term babies to tolerate and advance to full feedings faster, go home sooner and experience fewer complications, according to the milk bank.

Here in Utah, because we have so many specialty hospitals for the west, we have a lot of NICU babies.

Smith explained, “We end up with enough premature babies that we make sure we have enough milk for them.  The difference for a premature baby to have human milk vs. an alternate milk product is very significant.”

Moms in Utah, who have milk to spare, can share quickly thanks to the Mountain West Mothers’ Milk Bank.

A ribbon cutting was held on Thursday, December 12th with the milk bank’s founding sponsors.

If you are interested in donating Breast Milk CLICK HERE for more information.

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