Milk Matters: Highlights from the 2019 HMBANA Symposium

A Great Experience at HMBANA!

Keriton had the privilege of attending this year’s Human Milk Banking Association of North America’s (HMBANA) semi-annual Milk Matters Symposium. Over 185 Milk Bank professionals representing 28 Milk Banks from the US and Canada convened in Chicago. These milk bank professionals came to speak, to learn, to share.

For those of you that are not aware, HMBANA is the governing body for nonprofit Donor Human Milk Banks. Their mission is to advance “the field of nonprofit milk banking through member accreditation, development of evidence-based best practices, and advocacy of breastfeeding and human lactation to ensure an ethically sourced and equitably distributed supply of donor human milk.”


In 2018 HMBANA banks distributed nearly 6.5 Million oz of pasteurized donor milk (PDM) collected from over 11,500 donors, that is a 12% increase since 2017.

Some of the reasons donor banks continue to see the increase in donations and distribution volume are due to effective milk processing, enhanced donor screening and community outreach.

The symposium had a packed agenda. Topics ranged from donor screening to food safety regulations to packing and shipping and everything in between. Session styles varied from full presentation to break out sessions to round table discussions. Regardless of your role in milk banking you were able to attend session relevant to you.

The two keynote speakers were insightful and inspiring. Brenda Blasingame, MA: Executive Director of Health Connect One has over 20 years in the maternal child health and early childhood arena. She spoke on bringing awareness to the impact on children, families, and communities who are marginalized and experience oppression. She created a powerful message of acceptance and how we differ in our identities and how those factors impact what we do every day.

Shannon Sulivan; Founder of the Groundswell Alliance, has 15 plus years as a non-profit executive. She shared how she has partnered with HMBANA to impart her knowledge of social impact organizations. She shared her insights on strategic planning and organizational capacity development as HMBANA continues to evolve.

One of the most moving portions of the conference was all of the work that HMBANA banks do to support the bereaved family. Milk banks do receive milk donations from mothers and families that have experienced loss in every form. The amount of support given to families and ongoing recognition of that child’s life by the bank truly brought us to tears.

It was an honor for Keriton not only be a vendor at the conference but to be able to participate in education sessions offered. We were overwhelmed by how much goes into every oz that is sent out for use. It is evident that HMBANA is bringing together first-class thought leaders who are paving the way for this ever-growing and changing organization that continue to have an immense impact on the lives of our most vulnerable infants.

Thank you HMBANA for having us, it was a humbling experience to be amongst so many professionals for which this career is 100% a labor of love.

We look forward to seeing you all at the 8th International Conference on Human Milk Banking in Austin, Texas on April 20-21, 2020. We encourage everyone to check it out!

If you utilize Donor Milk in your institution, you are likely receiving it from an HMBANA facility. If you are not sure. Click here to find a bank.

Want to chat? Contact us