By increasing healthy food access for mothers, babies are provided with the best nutrition possible during those critical first months. Our First Food program works to promote breast milk as the ideal first food for babies in communities throughout Detroit while also expanding access to healthier food for families. We foster reciprocal relationship with maternal and infant health providers, breastfeeding advocates, and others to organize around minimizing the use of pesticides, antibiotics and toxic chemicals that contaminate our food system.


Program Mission

Foster a reciprocal relationship with maternal and infant health providers, breastfeeding advocates, and others in Detroit to:

  • Champion a healthy, sustainable food system
  • Increase healthy food access for families
  • Promote and protect breast milk as the ideal first food for babies


Breastfeeding is Best for Babies & Mothers

  • Breast milk lowers infants' risk of diseases and infections
  • Mothers who breastfeed their babies reduce their risk of osteoporosis and cancer, and lose weight gained during pregnancy more easily
  • If 90% of U.S. families breastfed exclusively for six months, the U.S. would save $13 billion and prevent more than 900 infant deaths per year


When breastfeeding is not possible, the most appropriate secondary feeding options are:

  • Best alternative: Mother's own expressed milk
  • Next best: Screened and pasteurized donor milk
  • Otherwise, Infant formula


Healthy Babies Start with a Healthy Food System

Our food system us constantly under threat from pollution, including pesticides, heavy metals, and other persistent environmental chemicals.

  • Infant formula is nutritionally inferior to mother's milk, and often contains chemicals of concern
  • Mothers are exposed to industrial chemicals through our dairy, meat, produce, and processed food
  • It is well-documented that certain environmental chemicals end up in breast milk, and nursing babies are unnecessarily exposed
  • Despite the presence of industrial chemicals in breast milk, the benefits of breast milk far outweigh formula feeding


The Ecology Center's First Food, Good Food Project is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's generous support

Published on February 23, 2017


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