Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Elise Ferree

Reader 2

Lars Schmitz

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© 2022 Delaney M Hartmann


A human milk diet is an important part of the health and survival of all infants. A human milk diet is especially crucial for the most vulnerable preterm infants as it promotes a healthy gut and protects from Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). However, many preterm infants are unable to consume their mother’s own milk due to breastfeeding challenges resulting from early delivery. Therefore, nutritional supplementation is often necessary for preterm infants and donor human milk (DHM) is highly superior to baby formula. DHM in the United States is processed at the 29 not-for-profit Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) milk banks. Milk banks play a key role in providing optimal nutrition to vulnerable babies all over the country. Currently, there is a lack of research on the use of and access to DHM. The current thesis proposes a data repository to identify disparities in the use and access of DHM and look for correlations in the data. There are predicted links between low breastfeeding rates at 6 months and low access to DHM, high early formula use and low use of DHM, and a correlation between low access and low use. The proposed data repository would allow the landscape of milk banking to be better understood, and would create room for policy change, government funding and public health reforms that work to further integrate DHM into part of infant nutrition and care.