By: Jennifer Cotto
When a baby formula plant in Michigan shut down in February, it created a crisis that sent parents in a tailspin.
Prices soared, and for children who needed specialized formulas, the problem was life-threatening. For some families, relief came from an unexpected place: a donor breast milk bank.
Here in the Chicago area, Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes is the only accredited milk bank. Despite a slow increase in supply, the bank is still providing this valuable resource.
Summer Kelly, executive director of the bank, says during the height of the shortage, the bank saw a 20% increase in demand for donor breast milk. That’s an increase of about 5,000 ounces of donor breast milk per month.
“The demand has held pretty steadily and part of that is due to increased awareness about milk banking,” she said. “I think an increase of awareness both for families with Children at home as well as healthcare providers has led to an increase in the demand for donor milk. And we’re still seeing that today.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 29 the bank is holding its Giving Tuesday event and is asking any lactating person with a surplus of breast milk to donate to the bank.
If you are interested in donating to Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes, you can visit their website and fill out the link to donate milk.