Who We Are
Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes saves tiny lives by collecting, pasteurizing, and dispensing donor human milk to premature babies and pediatric patients. As a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, we are proud to serve over 50 hospitals and hundreds of families throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.
In 2005, a dedicated group formed the Mothers’ Milk Association of Wisconsin (MMAW) to provide pasteurized donor human milk for babies without access to their own mother’s milk.
Because no local milk bank existed, area mothers collected their excess milk, froze it in their home freezers, and brought it to the Wisconsin milk depots, where it was stored until it could be shipped to the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Ohio for processing and distribution.
Meanwhile, in 2010, Chicago-area mother, Marissa Grossenbach, delivered her second child, Lennon, prematurely. Despite her intention to breastfeed, after her son was taken to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, the staff recommended he be fed formula. When Marissa learned later that formula increased Lennon’s risk of serious health problems, she asked local breastfeeding supporters why no area milk bank existed and why donor milk had not been available for her baby. She was told the reason was that no one had yet made an area milk bank a priority. Marissa, an information technology project manager by trade, decided to form the Illinois Milk Bank Project.
On January 9, 2011, the MMAW and the Illinois Milk Bank Project merged to become the developing Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes (Milk Bank WGL). At this meeting, which was held in Milwaukee at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, representatives previously active in the Illinois and Wisconsin organizations volunteered to become part of the Leadership Team, with the goal of turning this mutual dream into a reality.
In September 2015, the processing facility was opened in Elk Grove Village, IL and work began to renovate and furnish the space to become the region’s first non-profit milk bank. On January 20th, 2016 the Human Milk Banking Association of North America officially certified the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes as another partner in the quest to provide donated milk to all babies who need it.
The Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes provides pasteurized donor human milk to premature and critically ill babies, supports moms who donate milk after loss, and distributes reduced cost or free donor milk to chronically ill middle and low income children.
News & Stories
For the longest time I've been wanting to share my donation story!
Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes (Milk Bank WGL) proudly unveiled Poppy’s Dream bereavement memorial on January 13, 2018. More than 100 local families have chosen to donate milk after loss. Over 40 of these families attended the unveiling event; with nearly half traveling many hours from throughout Illinois and Wisconsin – a true testament to the importance of this program.
When I was 33 weeks pregnant my son Oliver was diagnosed with intrauterine growth
When I was pregnant with my son, Jack, I knew I wanted
Hi there! My name is Caitlin Joestgen and I am from Milwaukee,
By the time I was age twenty-five, my husband and I had