Establish a Milk Bank

Interested in Developing a HMBANA Milk Bank?


HMBANA aims to facilitate the establishment of non-profit donor milk banks in North America in areas where they are needed.  Interested groups must adhere to HMBANA’s “Guidelines for the Establishment and Operation of a Donor Human Milk Bank”.  No funding is available from HMBANA.

If you have questions after reading the following publications, please contact HMBANA Headquarters*.  Please do not contact HMBANA member banks directly.

Interested in Developing a HMBANA Milk Bank?

1.     Study in detail the following publications that can be ordered from HMBANA Headquarters*:

  • Guidelines for the Establishment and Operation of a Donor Human Milk Bank
  • Best Practice for Expressing, Storing and Handling Human Milk in Hospitals, Homes and Child Care Settings

After you have completed #2 below, and if HMBANA determines we can provide guidance, you will be assigned a HMBANA mentor for up to 2 years.  Prior to reaching that stage, any communication should be through HMBANA Headquarters*.  Please do not contact HMBANA member banks directly unless you want to become a milk collection depot for a bank in your state/province/area. 

Still Interested in Developing a HMBANA Milk Bank?

2.     Before contacting HMBANA Headquarters:

  • Does your state/province already have a milk bank?  If so, is another milk bank viable or would a milk collection depot be more suitable?  To start a depot, contact the milk bank in your state/province/area or HMBANA Headquarters*.
  • If your state/province does not have a milk bank, determine (for your state/province):
    • the number of level III NICU’s and their bed capacity
    • approximate current amount of donor human milk dispensed to inpatients/outpatients
    • birth rate
    • breast feeding rate
    • if other individuals/groups are already working on establishing a milk bank there.  If so, can you align?
    • medical community support from obstetrics/gynecology, neonatology, pediatrics, family practice, lactation consultants, nurses, dietitians, etc.
      • obtain their letters of support
    • whether local hospital NICU’s and Mother/Baby Units without an inventory of donor human milk are interested in having it available
      • obtain their letters of intent
  • Develop a working group that includes medical representatives from neonatology, pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology.
  • Create a list of potential/engaged financial sponsors and describe who in your group will obtain funding and how.  List awards received/pending/expected and amounts generated.  If no operating funds have been obtained, so state.
  • Obtain start-up funding (to cover expenses of visiting milk banks, attending a HMBANA Conference, etc.) and list sources and amounts received.  At least $5,000 should be available.
  • Draft a design of your milk bank facility.  This does not need to be a blueprint.  Submit a plan outlining the features of your structure.
  • Chart a time line for the development of your milk bank.

3     Once you have completed all phases of #2, send written responses to each of the points/subpoints in #2 above along with the requested letters and attachments to HMBANA Headquarters* with your contact information.
Your submission will be returned if there are missing documents.

4     HMBANA’s Executive Committee will review completed submissions.

5     If the Executive Committee determines that HMBANA can provide guidance, you will be assigned to a HMBANA mentor bank for up to 2 years.

The mentor will provide guidance only and will not be a member of your working group.  Mentorship may be withdrawn at will by the mentor bank.

6     Contact HMBANA Headquarters* for the Developing Milk Bank application upon the recommendation of your mentor.