Henry Ford Health Prepares to Accept Donations at Henry Ford Milk Bank - Jackson

March 9, 2023
Milk Bank Tour

JACKSON, Mich.- Three Henry Ford Health lactation consultants expect to be among the first donors to Henry Ford Milk Bank - Jackson, which is set to open this spring.  Meghan Solano, Jackie Keegan and Wendy Miles began the rigorous donor screening process Thursday following a tour of the brand-new facility for lactation consultants from across Henry Ford Health.

When Henry Ford Milk Bank – Jackson opens it will be only the second milk bank in Michigan, and the most convenient location for donors in central and southeast Michigan. The milk bank is in the final stages of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) accreditation process. One of the final steps is to demonstrate the ability to properly screen and process milk from five to ten donors.

“I’ve already been donating breast milk,” said Solano, mom to a 14-month-old and a registered nurse and international board-certified lactation consultant at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.  “Knowing how hard our team in Jackson is working to get the milk bank up and running, I wanted to do my part to help.”

Lactation consultants provide breastfeeding support and education for patients.  They help with common nursing issues, such as pumping and storing breast milk, too little or too much milk production, nursing a colicky baby, or planning for returning to work while breastfeeding. They see the importance of donor breast milk up close. 

“Many parents plan to provide breast milk for their baby. While we do all we can to support them, sometimes donor milk is needed,” said Keegan, a mother of two and a registered nurse and international board-certified lactation consultant at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. “I’m passionate about helping families reach their feeding goals and donor breast milk can help.”

Lactation consultants at Henry Ford Jackson Hospital have been spreading the word about the soon-to-open donor milk bank and sharing information about the donation process with their patients.

“Our team at Henry Ford Jackson Hospital is particularly excited to bring this service to the community,” said Letishia Hill, Director of Nursing Women and Children Services at Henry Ford Jackson Hospital. “Having another milk bank in Michigan will make it easier for babies to receive the advantages of breast milk right from the start and more convenient for generous donors willing to share their extra milk.”

When it opens, Henry Ford Milk Bank – Jackson will provide safe donor breast milk for infant patients at Henry Ford Jackson Hospital when their mother’s milk is unavailable. Once donor volumes are sufficient the milk will be made available at other Henry Ford hospitals and to the community.

“Providing access to safe and nutritious donor milk can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of newborns, and we believe this new resource will greatly benefit the babies and families we serve,” said Wendy Kim, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Henry Ford Jackson Hospital.

There are approximately 30 other HMBANA-accredited milk banks in the United States; only eight are affiliated with a hospital or health system.  Henry Ford hospitals currently get donor milk from milk banks in Kalamazoo and Indiana. 

In instances when a mother would like to breast feed but can’t, the Center for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend donor human milk as the best alternative. Breast milk’s health benefits to infants, such as protection from allergies, less stomach upset and reduced risk for sudden infant death syndrome, are well established by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

To qualify to be a milk donor a lactating mother must be generally healthy; a non-smoker; make limited use of alcohol; have the approval of their healthcare provider; be willing to donate more than 100 ounces of breastmilk; undergo a screening process similar to that for giving blood; and have labs drawn, the cost of which will be covered by the milk bank.  

“We’re going to do everything we can to make the screening process as seamless as possible for our donors because we so greatly appreciate their generous gift,” said milk bank manager Erin McGreal-Miller.

Right now, the milk bank can only accept milk from donors who are willing to travel to Henry Ford Jackson Hospital for screening. McGreal-Miller says the health system plans to make screening available at Henry Ford Health sites in southeast Michigan soon. 

People who want to donate their milk can reach out to Henry Ford Milk Bank – Jackson at milkbank@hfhs.org. 


About Henry Ford Health

Serving communities across Michigan and beyond, Henry Ford Health is committed to partnering with patients and members along their entire health journey. Henry Ford Health provides a full continuum of services – from primary and preventative care, to complex and specialty care, health insurance, a full suite of home health offerings, virtual care, pharmacy, eye care and other healthcare retail.

It is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, recognized for clinical excellence in cancer care, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics and sports medicine, and multi-organ transplants. Consistently ranked among the top five NIH-funded institutions in Michigan, Henry Ford Health engages in more than 2,000 research projects annually. Equally committed to educating the next generation of health professionals, Henry Ford Health trains more than 4,000 medical students, residents and fellows every year across 50+ accredited programs. 


Cookie Consent

We use cookies to improve your web experience. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. Read our Internet Privacy Statement to learn what information we collect and how we use it.

Accept All Cookies