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 (PGNB), was created in 2017 to address this research gap.
HMCI coordinates development of human milk composition data in the United States and Canada for use by federal policy, program, and other stakeholders. The initiative focuses on data related to nutrition and dietary monitoring, guidelines (such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans), and education and aims to inform policy, programs, and regulations in maternal and child health.