Human Milk Composition Initiative (HMCI)


Human milk is the recommended first food for humans and has multiple benefits to the infant, the mother, and the relationship between them. It is also dynamic, individualized to each infant/maternal dyad, and complex. With this knowledge, human milk research shifted toward ecological models, spurring continual advancements in measurement techniques. However, the references for what the average child is exposed to via human milk and the references for what they should be exposed to are based on limited data from 40 years ago. HMCI, led by the Pediatric Growth and Nutrition Branch, was created in 2017 to address this research gap.

HMCI — a U.S.-Canada collaboration with subject matter experts from HHS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other U.S. and Canadian agencies — coordinates across many entities to share information on human milk composition data availability for use by programs focused on maternal and child health.

More Information

NICHD Contact: Kimberlea Gibbs (Executive Secretary and U.S. Coordinator)

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