California Breastfeeding Coalition
Access to pasteurized donor human milk has long been an issue in California and across the nation. Aside from the limitations of supply and demand, other access challenges include insurance approval and coverage, provider support, and public awareness. These factors combine to create disparities in access to human milk across the nation.
To address the problem, the Human Milk Banking Association of America (HMBANA) has launched the Equitable Donor Milk Access Blueprint.
According to a HMBANA statement, the blueprint was developed in collaboration with a diverse task force of clinicians, academic researchers, birth workers, and grassroots organizers.
“The purpose of this tool is to reduce barriers to the distribution, increase the accessibility of donor milk, and ensure every infant in need can receive the vital benefits of human milk.”
Both of California’s nonprofit milk banks, Mothers’ Milk Bank San Jose and UC Health Milk Bank in San Diego, are part of HMBANA and have been vocal in drawing attention to the inequities in our state.
Knowing the impact donor human milk has on the health and well-being of vulnerable infants and their families, the blueprint presents evidence-based strategies and solutions. It also encourages providers, policymakers, and funders to implement sustainable and inclusive practices to support equitable access to donor milk.
We appreciate the blueprint’s audience-specific calls to action and the listing of research opportunities to explore the barriers to equitable distribution of donor human milk and to inform the design of interventions to overcome those barriers.
The bipartisan Access to Donor Human Milk Act (Duckworth, D-IL), which was introduced in September, would expand access to pasteurized donor human milk for infants across the United States. By bolstering the national infrastructure to support donor human milk access and distribution, the bill would go a long way toward solving some of the equity issues highlighted in the blueprint.
If you’re passionate about access to human milk for all California families, you might enjoy the Got (extra) milk? and Human Milk is a Human Right merchandise available in the CBC Shop.