In 1911, Dr. Francis Denny of Boston’s Floating Hospital for Children created a milk bank to combat the “summer sickness” that so many babies of the time succumbed to. Summer sickness, or diarrheal disease, was a major cause of infant mortality caused by contaminated water and animal milk.

Dr. Denny’s milk bank provided infants with donor human milk in the absence of their own mother’s milk.6 Several milk banks developed around the country in the years that followed. In 1985, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) was established to provide evidence-based guidelines and standards for the industry.

Today, there are 9 operating HMBANA milk banks in the United States. These milk banks operate for the same reason they did 100 years ago, to improve infant outcomes and save lives.