Northwest Mothers Milk Bank is a not-for-profit donor milk bank established in 2008. 

Our mission is based on the belief that every baby deserves access to human milk. 

We carry out this mission through the safe collection and distribution of

human donor milk, education, advocacy, and research.

 
Our mission:  
Northwest Mothers Milk Bank improves the health and survival of
the Northwest’s most vulnerable babies. 
 
Our vision:  
A NW region where every baby has access to the human milk they need.
 

We are a not-for-profit organization rooted in the Pacific Northwest community.

 

Founded by passionate and accomplished healthcare professionals who, through dedication and hard work, are increasing public knowledge and acceptance of donor milk use. Receiving both financial and in-kind support from local organizations and individuals since its inception in 2008, Northwest Mothers Milk Bank has grown into a thriving milk bank after opening its doors in 2013.

 

By collecting breastmilk from local donors, NWMMB pasteurizes the milk and distributes it to hospitals, babies, and families in communities across the Pacific Northwest.

OUR TEAM

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 
Lesley Mondeaux
RNC, IBCLC
Executive Director
Joanne Ransom
RN, IBCLC
Clinical Outreach Director
Sonia
RDN, LD, IBCLC
Donor Engagement Coordinator
Brynn
Donor Screener Assistant
Jean
Client Services Assistant
Emily
Community Engagement Coordinator
Geoff
Accounts Receivable & Shipping Coordinator
Kira
Accounts Manager
Donna
Processing Coordinator
Paige
Processing Coordinator
Carly
Processing Technician
Christelle
Processing Technician
Teresa
Processing Technician
Gina
Processing Technician
Madeline
Milk Shipping Assistant
Kendra
Milk Shipping Assistant
Danica
Milk Intake Assistant
Maddie
Milk Delivery Assistant
Stephanie Rogers, MD
Medical Director
Isabella Knox, M.Ed, MD
Medical Director
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Deneil Patterson
Chair
Courtney Ranstrom
Treasure
Cindy Jackson
Secretary
Aria Baker
David Dallas
Ellen Klem
Dr. Jen Lincoln
Kimberly Mansen
Jim Rennard
MEDICAL DIRECTORS
MEDICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Helen Bellanca, MD, Health Share of Oregon

Isabella Knox, MEd., MD, Seattle Children's Hospital 

Ann M. Loeffler, MD, Legacy Health System

Melissa Stawarz, RD, Providence Health System 

Nan Dahlquist, MD, Hillsboro Pediatrics

Nicole Schmidt, MD, Providence Health System

Olivia Jones, MD, Creekside Medical

Stefanie Rogers, MD, Providence Health System 

Sue Gadau, RD, Overlake Hospital 

Laura Taylor, RD, Franciscan Health 

Annette Magner, IBCLC, Oregon Health & Science University 

Nicole Marshall, MD Oregon Health & Science University 

Not shown: Dr. Brian Scottoline and Melisa Linnman

Not Pictured:

Karen - Donor Screener

Julia - Processing Technician

Julieta - Processing Technician

Lucy - Processing Technician

Robin - Processing Technician

Anika - Processing Assistant 

Trevor - Processing Assistant 

Nicole - Milk Delivery Assistant

FORMER BOARD DIRECTORS

Dixie Whetsell 

Linda Welsh

Neal Schnitzer

Peggy Andrews 

Rebecca Stepaniak

Scotti Weintraud 

Bethy Annsa

Maggi Wiseman

Annette Magner 

Kari Russill 

Merriah Fairchild

Amber Pucci 

Lynn Eisenhart 

Anna David 

Ali Trinh

Ruth Bernard

Andi Markell 
 

 
 

Why Use Pasteurized Breastmilk?

 

Breastmilk is proven to be the best food for infants, with

benefits that extend well beyond basic nutrition. In addition

to containing the vitamins and nutrients an infant

needs for the first six months of life, breastmilk is packed with

disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studies show many important health benefits of breastmilk, including resistance to disease and infection, along with prevention of diseases such as juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and some cancers later in life.

 

Breastmilk alone supports

optimal growth and

development for approximately the

first 6 months after birth.

RESOURCES

Pasteurized breastmilk is prescribed by physicians

to help with:

 

  • Prematurity

  • Infants susceptible or recovering from NEC

  • Failure to thrive

  • Malabsorption syndromes

  • Short-gut syndrome

  • Trophic feeds/gut-priming

  • Inborn errors of metabolism

  • Pre and Post-operative nutrition

  • Adoption

  • Absent or insufficient lactation

  • Illness requiring temporary interruption of breastfeeding

  • Treatment for infectious diseases

  • Immunodeficiency disorders

  • Non-infectious intestinal disorders

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ABOUT MILK BANKING

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LEARN MORE HERE

Breastmilk gives a child the best start in life!

 

Milk banking gives a mother with excess breastmilk the opportunity to make a difference in her community by giving another child the chance to thrive. As a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), NWMMB follows strict guidelines to ensure the safety of donated milk through careful screening, laboratory testing, and pasteurization techniques. The milk can then be distributed to babies in need through a physician’s prescription.


When infants are born prematurely or traumatically, a mother's ability to lactate can be delayed or may not meet the nutritional needs of the newborn. When a mother’s own milk is not available, banked donor milk provides necessary nutrition until the infant's mother can provide her own milk. For many hospitals, using donor breastmilk has become the standard, particularly for premature infants who weigh less than 1.5 kg.

Breastmilk has been proven to be the best food for infants. The benefits of breastmilk extend well beyond basic nutrition. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs for the first six months of life, breastmilk is packed with disease-fighting substances to protect your baby from illness. It supports optimal growth and development for the first six months after birth.

 

Studies have shown important health benefits of breastmilk, including resistance to disease and infection and prevention of diseases such as juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and some cancers later in life. 

 

 

SAFETY

 

Why Should You Donate Your Milk Instead of Selling It?

It is extremely important for us to know the breastmilk we receive is safe and that we are not taking away one infant’s breastmilk in order to sell it to another. To ensure that every infant’s health and nutrition necessities are being met, we require a signed release form from each infant’s physician before their mother can donate breastmilk. By not paying our donors for their breastmilk, we are able to say with the utmost confidence that the milk we receive meets every standard we set for our donated milk.

 

 

Mothers who donate breastmilk are generous, kind-hearted volunteers. They recognize the importance of breastmilk and how this unique gift can help infants in need. Donating your breastmilk ensures you have a large impact on your community, as families with the highest need for breastmilk often rely on donated milk to meet their child’s nutrient needs.

 

Donating to a not-for-profit milk bank assures that your milk reaches the infant who needs it immediately. When a mother sells her breastmilk, it will likely take weeks to reach a family in need.


NWMMB believes that breastmilk is not a commodity. A high quality donation and pasteurization process is essential to ensure a safe supply of breastmilk. At NWMMB, we will never risk the quality of our milk or the safety of our donors' babies by paying mothers for their breastmilk. Saving the lives of infants is the only incentive our donors have for donating their milk.

 

Dropping Off Milk?

  • You must be approved as a milk donor with Northwest Mothers Milk Bank before you drop off milk.

  • Collect at least 100-150 ounces of frozen milk for your initial milk donation.

  • Place your containers of frozen milk in a paper or plastic bag (e.g. a clean grocery store bag).

  • Enclose a piece of paper with your last name and your donor ID# or write your name and donor ID on the bag.

  • Complete an Illness and Medication Report [download here] to accompany your milk donation. 

  • Place your milk in an ice chest or cooler (ice not necessary) and drop it off at NWMMB, a Milk Drop, or talk with us about shipping from your home.

  • Note: some Milk Drop sites accept donations only by appointment. Please call your Milk Drop site to confirm and/or schedule a drop-off time.

No Milk Drop sites near you? No problem!
You can ship your milk directly to us.

We will provide shipping boxes, a prepaid FedEx label, and instructions for shipping frozen milk.

Give us a call to arrange a shipment: 1-800-204-4444

Shipping Milk?

 

Have a question? Watch this one minute video.

 
 

FAQs

Why is donor milk important?

Breastmilk is the ideal food for the human infant. Breastmilk has a wealth of easily digestible nutrients, which are vital for premature, ill, and otherwise fragile babies.  When a mother’s own milk is not available, milk donated by a screened donor is an infant’s next best choice. Breastmilk offers numerous long-term health benefits for infants, and can lower risk of illness and various developmental disorders.

Where is donor milk available for Northwest families?

Northwest Mothers Milk Bank is located in Portland, Oregon, and dispenses pasteurized donor human milk to hospitals and families throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska.

Who will benefit from my milk?

The highest priority recipients are preterm and ill, hospitalized infants. All infants who have a medical need for human milk can obtain donor breastmilk by prescription.

Who donates breastmilk to the milk bank?

Healthy, non-smoking women who are able to express more milk than their babies need donate to the milk bank. Donor moms have hearts of gold--they are willing to go through a brief screening process and submit a blood sample before donating to help improve the health of infants in their communities.

Is there a need for pasteurized donor milk?

Yes! Currently the need for pasteurized donor milk far exceeds the available supply. Donated milk is vital for preterm and hospitalized infants in need.

Where does my milk go?

Your milk is distributed locally to babies in need. NWMMB provides donated pasteurized milk to every Level 3 NICU in Oregon and hospitals across Washington, Alaska, and Idaho. Since our opening, over 260,000 ounces of donated pasteurized breastmilk was distributed to fragile and premature infants in over 50 hospitals across the Pacific Northwest.

Is donor milk safe?

Yes. The Northwest Mothers Milk Bank follows strict screening, processing, and dispensing guidelines established by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) to ensure the safety of donor breastmilk. These guidelines have been established with the advisement of the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and the blood and tissue industries. Potential milk donors provide complete medical and lifestyle histories and undergo blood tests similar to the screening process used at blood banks. Donated milk is then pasteurized to kill any bacteria or viruses. Before the pasteurized milk is dispensed, bacteriological testing is performed at the Oregon State Public Health Lab to ensure its safety.

What are the different types of pasteurization processes?

We process our donated breastmilk through the only proven safe pasteurization process, called the Holder Method. Milk is gently heated in a shaking water bath, killing bacteria and viruses but retaining the majority of nutritional components. Supported by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control, our pasteurization processes adheres to the highest safety methods established in the milk banking community. After pasteurization, breastmilk must be frozen within 48 hours and tested for safety.

 

Some for-profit breastmilk laboratories use a process called Ultra-High Temperature (UHT), in which the milk is heated to above 280 degrees Fahrenheit. While this process kills bacteria, it also reduces nutritional values; UHT-treated milk has lower levels of folate, thiamin, and vitamins B12 and C than traditionally pasteurized milk. UHT is not FDA approved for breastmilk and there is little to no medical research into the efficacy and safety of the method.

 

Because our donors are thoroughly screened and the milk is carefully pasteurized and tested, we know it is the best and safest option for infants who are unable to get their mother's own milk.

Why do hospitals and outpatients pay a processing fee for human donor milk?

Donated milk is vital for premature infants and is a true donation. The processing fee covers the cost of pasteurizing, packaging, and delivering breast milk. It helps offsets costs to the families who receive the breastmilk. When possible, the fees fund our charitable care foundation, which ensures that all babies with medical needs are able to access this life-saving resource.

Why is the screening process necessary?

The screening process ensures the safety of both donors and recipients. Before donating milk, donor moms undergo a medical history and blood test, at no cost to them. This ensures that the donors are healthy and their milk is safe to be processed and distributed.


It is extremely important for us to know that we are not taking away breastmilk from one infant to give it to another. This is why we require a signed release from every infant’s physician before their mother can donate her milk. This way, we always know that every infant’s health and nutrition requirements are being met.

How is donor milk dispensed?

Donor milk is dispensed by prescription only.

Are you a not-for-profit or for-profit milk bank?

The Northwest Mothers Milk Bank is a not-for-profit milk bank, which means any surplus revenue is directed back towards processing and distributing more donor milk.  Our sole motivation is to save the lives of babies throughout the Pacific Northwest, and are sustained through our volunteers, tireless staff, healthcare partners, community foundations, passionate Board of Directors, and YOU.

 

For-profit milk banks are privately owned by individuals through stock options and are aimed at increasing profits for the owners.

What does it mean to be a not-for-profit milk bank?

Our sole motivation is to save the lives of babies throughout the Pacific Northwest, and any surplus revenue we receive is directed back towards identifying milk donors, processing, and distributing more donor milk to infants who need it the most. Our organization is sustained through our volunteers, tireless staff, healthcare partners, community foundations, hundreds of donors, and a passionate Board of Directors.

 

NWMMB is a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, the leading professional organization of not-for-profit milk banks in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. For-profit milk banks are privately owned by individuals through stock options, are aimed at increasing profits for the owners, and most often sell their pasteurized breastmilk to mothers across the nation and large corporations.

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p: 503.469.0955

f: 503.469.0962

Office Address

417 SW 117th Ave, Suite 120
Portland, OR 97225
Mailing Address
417 SW 117th Ave, Suite 105
Portland, OR 97225

Hours

Monday - Thursday: 8:00am - 4:30pm

Friday: 9:00am - 3:00pm

Saturday & Sunday: Closed

© 2015 Northwest Mothers Milk Bank
NWMMB is a community based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon.

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