HMBANA believes in a world where all infants have access to human milk through support of breastfeeding and use of pasteurized donor human milk.

“Generally speaking, the babies we serve are in the NICU,” said Lindsay Groff, executive director of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), which includes 28 nonprofit member banks across the United States and three in Canada. “We have to serve babies in life-threatening situations, then we can talk about healthy, full-term infants. But we can only do that if someone steps up and donates.”

As the baby formula shortage continues to impact parents and children across the country, there is renewed interest in donor breast milk, or donor human milk, with some considering it as another option in addition to formula.

The worsening baby formula shortage is pushing more parents to explore an even pricier alternative: Human breast milk supplied by donor banks.

Inquiries for donor milk have risen by 20% since the beginning of the shortage, said Lindsay Groff, the executive director of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. That follows a record year of distribution: The HMBANA’s member banks dispensed 9.2 million ounces to the families and hospitals of babies in need in 2021, a 22% increase from 2020, Groff said. Calls from those who are interested in donating milk are picking up, too.