Michigan’s 2nd Breast Milk Bank Opens in Jackson

Photo via Lucy Wolski on Unsplash

By Karel Vega

June 22, 2023

Henry Ford Milk Bank – Jackson will provide breast milk to an area of the state with one of the highest infant mortality rates.

A city of Jackson-based non-profit has opened Michigan’s second breast milk bank.

The Henry Ford milk bank in Jackson began deliveries to the health system’s local hospital last week after it received accreditation from the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).

Breast milk provides most babies with the best source of nutrition, along with added benefits like immune system support, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But some mothers cannot breastfeed or breastfeed as much as they’d like to. In that case, experts say donor milk is the best alternative.

The process starts with interested milk donors, who must pass a screening test. Once donors drop off or ship the milk, it undergoes a pasteurization process to remove harmful organisms. It then becomes available for mothers who need it.

Henry Ford Health says the need for breast milk in the area is especially significant, as Jackson County has some of Michigan’s highest infant mortality rates.

“Having our own milk bank improves our ability to promote the health and well-being of vulnerable infants in Henry Ford hospitals and our communities in a new and exciting capacity,” Henry Ford Health President & CEO Bob Riney said in a press release.

Henry Ford Milk Bank – Jackson is an effort years in the making, with funding from both the Jackson Community Foundation and the federal government. The new milk bank is one of only two milk banks in Michigan; the other is Bronson Mothers’ Milk Bank in Kalamazoo. According to HMBANA, there are only about 30 other accredited milk banks in the United States.

Interested milk donors can reach out to Henry Ford Milk Bank – Jackson at [email protected].


  • Karel Vega

    Coming from a long background in public radio, Karel Vega strives to find stories that inform and inspire local communities. Before joining The ‘Gander, Karel served as managing editor at WKAR, the NPR affiliate in East Lansing, Michigan.

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