About the Milk


Normative Standard

Human milk is the normative standard that provides appropriate and unique nutrition as well as components that protect babies in non-nutritive ways (e.g. immunoglobulins, antibodies, etc. that optimize health and resist diseases). In addition, there are many other significant properties that human milk provides. 


For infants not receiving human milk or who are not breastfed, the short term risks include:

  • greater incidence of ear infections.

  • greater incidence of lung infections and respiratory illness (including RSV)

  • greater incidence of vomiting and diarrhea

  • increased risk of SIDS


Long term risks of not receiving human milk include:

  • increased risk of developing childhood leukemia

  • increased risk of developing type I and type II diabetes

  • increased risk of developing asthma

  • increased risk of developing atopic dermatitis

  • increased risk of obesity

  • greater incidence of overall allergies

  • poorer blood pressure and cholesterol values


The risk for preterm infants who do not receive human milk or are not breastfed are even more significant. This is seen during their NICU admission as well as for the first year after discharge from the NICU. One of the more dramatic risks for the preterm infant not receiving human milk is the higher incidence of Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) incidence of sepsis. 


Human milk is protective: According to the AAP human milk contributes to the development of the preterm infants’ immature immune system. Additional risks for the preterm infant who does not receive human milk or who was not breastfed include inferior vision with increased Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) and decreased neurocognitive test performance. Also, preterm infants who do not receive human milk or who are not breastfed take longer to wean off IV nutrition and to advance to full enteral feedings; this increases both hospital length of stay and increases hospital costs.


Milk Pasteurization

All donated human milk collected from our Milk Drop Sites is transported in a frozen state to Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank in South Salt Lake. The milk is then pasteurized using the Holder Method. This process includes heating the milk for 30 minutes in a shaking water bath at 62.5°. After 30 minutes, the milk is cooled rapidly. Next, it is frozen and stored at temperatures of at least -20° C. This process is strictly followed according to the guidelines developed by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Post-pasteurization cultures are done on all pasteurized donor human milk. Milk is dispensed when the culture shows no growth. The Holder Method process kills bacteria and viruses including CMV and HIV. Most immunologic properties are retained following pasteurization, as are the macronutrients. 


Analysis of milk is done using a near-infrared analyzer which measures fat, lactose and protein. Nutrients of milk are determined and verified. This process is done with all donors and also with all batches of pooled donor human milk post-pasteurization.  


Packaging of Milk

All donated milk collected is received, stored, and processed at our new facility in South Salt Lake.  Pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) is packaged in 3 ounce sterile containers, and is available in 20 lcal/ounce, 22 kcal/ounce, 24 kcal/ounce and fat free preparations. Each bottle has a tamper evident break away ring. Bottles of PDHM are labeled with a batch number, the expiration date, the type of milk, calorie density, and the milk bank barcode.    


Safety and Security of Milk

The pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) is packaged using a clean technique. Shipping boxed are new and clean insulated containers. The foam packaging material is also new to minimize contamination of the outside of bottles. Each container is packed with dry ice for next day delivery Monday – Thursday. Bottle caps are also sealed with a break-away ring that is tamper –evident.  The hospital receiving the shipping container is encouraged to inspect the product including the tamper-evident tape and to make sure the milk has remained frozen. Milk deliveries along the Wasatch Front will be done by courier.  The courier maintains possession of the milk. The milk is transported in a manner to prevent contamination of the bottles and PDHM. Ice chests used to keep milk frozen during transport will be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly between deliveries. Signatures will be required by the designated person at the receiving institution.  



Mountain West Mothers’ Milk Bank is looking to expand the donation pool by recruiting more mothers to donate to this nonprofit organization. Developing this infrastructure is essential for Utah in order to have a physical site, and to ensure more milk goes to our Utah babies in need.


The availability of pasteurized human milk depends directly on the number of mothers who are willing and able to donate. Recruitment of mothers is done to try to meet demand, but sometimes supplies run low. When supplies do run low, priority is given to the most medically unstable infants in the hospitals. The decision of which infants are to receive the donor milk is made by the medical director. When there is enough supply, donor milk is made available to any infant who has a doctor’s recommendation. 


Delivery of Milk

Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank is proud to announce that as of OCtober 16, 2019, we are an official Accredited and Fully Operational Milk Bank!  Once your milk is ordered, precautions are taken every step of the way to make sure it arrives to you safely.


  • The milk is frozen. It is shipped frozen and packaged in insulated boxes.

  • The milk may be delivered by courier, or shipped by an overnight company in an insulated box with dry ice.

  • The milk you order will typically arrive within 24 hours (**this will depend on your location**)

For questions on how to become a milk donor call us toll free at 1.877.367.9091


© 2018 Mountain West Mothers Milk Bank

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