Intermountain Healthcare

Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank, America's Newest Fully-Operational Accredited Human Milk Bank, to Hold Ribbon Cutting Event with Founding Sponsors

Utah’s Two Major Healthcare Systems, Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health, Have Come Together to Help Tiniest, Premature Babies


Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/12/2019 --Nearly 1 in 10 babies (9.4%) born in Utah are preterm, arriving before completing the normal 37 to 40 weeks of pregnancy. These babies miss out on the important growth and development that happens in the final weeks, and many preterm babies spend days, weeks or even months in Newborn ICUs. For babies in the NICU, pasteurized donor human milk is vital and can save lives.

Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank(MWMMB) recently moved to and equipped a new facility, and became the 28th fully operational accredited human milk bank in the United States. MWMMB will celebrate this accomplishment with a ribbon cutting ceremony with its founding sponsors, University of Utah Health and Intermountain Healthcare, this Thursday, December 12, at 11 a.m., at 2995 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City.

This past October, Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank became the 28th milk bank fully accredited under HMBANA, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, after a rigorous three-day accreditation process with representatives from our mentor milk bank, Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas.

This accomplishment has been many years in the making, and comes as the result of many hardworking people and our community dedicated to bringing a fully-functioning milk bank to Utah, to provide for the tiniest, most fragile babies in local and regional NICUs. Furthermore, none of this would be possible without the more than 500 donor moms, who over the years have generously shared their breast milk to help save the lives of preemie babies.

The opening of the milk bank in Utah is due in part to a dedicated board who has sustained this mission for more than ten years, a skilled employee team, and founding sponsors, Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health for their generous support.

University of Utah Health and Intermountain Healthcare jointly committed $500,000 beginning in late 2018 to Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank in Founding Sponsor donations to provide core funding to help the organization fulfill its mission of promoting infant health and nutrition by screening, processing, and dispensing donor human milk.

Each healthcare system has donated a total of $250,000. The Founding Sponsor funding from Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health enabled MWMMB's move into a new, larger facility, as well as for the facility buildout, equipment, and operational support to conduct human milk pasteurization and milk distribution here in our region.

Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank (MWMMB), a nonprofit organization, has donor collection sites established in Utah and Southern Idaho to collect donated milk. Collected milk had, until now, been sent to the nearest nonprofit human milk bank, in Denver, Colorado, for processing and distribution. Because the frozen milk sometimes traveled as far as Atlanta en route to Denver, sometimes milk thawed and was lost.

Why a local milk bank is vital to our community.

Only 30 percent of newborn ICU mothers can supply enough milk for their premature infant. Milk banks are there to support the other 70 percent who either cannot express any milk or express quantities too low for infant sustainability. Safe donor human milk is required to bridge that gap. Breast milk provides nutrient and non-nutrient benefits that cannot be provided by infant formulas.

Milk banks screen high producing donors, collect, pasteurize, and then test the milk to assure quality and safety for newborn ICU infants. They then send the pasteurized milk to newborn intensive care units and special care nurseries for infants in need.

Milk banks also work to increase breastfeeding rates, advocate for nursing mothers, to increase the supply of donor milk, and as nonprofit businesses, keep costs as low as possible. An exclusive human milk diet allows preterm infants to tolerate and advance to full feedings faster, go home sooner, and experience fewer complications.

In addition, a major life-threatening complication experienced by pre-term babies, necrotizing enterocolitis, may be reduced by almost 80 percent. Use of donor human milk rather than formula to supplement premature infants' diets can thus be life-saving.

Exclusively breastfed infants experience fewer infections and allergies. They have better cognitive and behavioral development, and they grow up to have lower rates of asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

About Annette Thompson:
Annette had her first two babies in 2013 and 2015 and both times produced plenty of excess milk, but didn't know how to donate at that time, so the milk was wasted. In March of 2019, she gave birth to Millie, and this time learned from a relative who worked in a NICU in Utah Valley that she could donate it. She went through the screening process and has been donating ever since.

Although it is trying at times and time-consuming, Annette says, "If it helps save a little life and eases the burdens of the parents then it doesn't seem so bad after all. It has been a huge blessing to feel like I am making a difference not only for myself but for others, many of which I will never meet. I am so glad I found a way to make a difference in the world, and to help save those precious innocent lives who are in need of all the help they can get to continue on."

Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank's mission is to promote infant health and nutrition by screening, processing, and dispensing donor human milk, in addition to advocating for and promoting lactation and breastfeeding.

Join MWMMB and follow the organization's activities on social media. Contact the Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank for questions or location information at

Additional Information:
Toll free donor contact number - 1.877.367.9091
Email -
Website -
Facebook - giveyourmilk
Instagram -giveyourmilk
Twitter –giveyourmilk

For media related questions:
Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank -- 801-953-8876
Intermountain Healthcare – 1-385-275-8245
University of Utah Health – 801-581-3102

About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see