According to data collected from 446 individual human milk banks (HMBs), over 800,000 babies receive donor human milk around the world each year.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic, milk banking services were hugely affected, as donor milk services are vulberable to new infectious pathogens.

But last year, something amazing happened.

From March, the human milk community around the world came together to form a Virtual Communication Network (VCN).

As described in this paper by Dr Natalie Shenker and colleagues, the VCN comprised of 80 human milk bank leaders from 36 countries, plus academics and nongovernmental organisations.

The VCN collected data and experiences, and together, identified problems and potential solutions relating to the pandemic - including "maintaining sufficient donors, transport logistics, safe handling, and contingency planning".

What is really exciting are the plans for the future.

"The VCN now plans a formal consensus approach to the optimal response of HMBs to new pathogens using crowdsourced data, enabling the benchmarking of future strategies to support DHM access and neonatal health in future emergencies."

Wow. It's so inspiring to see researchers, human milk bank leaders and the whole human milk community come together to pool ideas and together, to work out solutions.

Congratulations to everyone involved!


Science reference:

Shenker, N, Staff, M, Vickers, A, et al. Maintaining human milk bank services throughout the COVID‐19 pandemic: A global response. Matern Child Nutr. 2021;e13131.


Interested in the science of breast milk?

Check out our full-length BREAST MILK course.

Save 25% if you use this PROMO CODE at checkout: 25OFF



If you want to learn more about breast milk and the the infant immune system, do consider the full-length 17 hour course featuring 7 top lactation scientists!

Learn about the components of breast milk, an explanation of human milk oligosaccharides and how they impact the infant immune system, other body systems including possibly brain development. Plus the course explores breast milk, expressed milk, donor milk and the impact of infant formula.


  • 17 L-CERPs (IBLCE) also accepted by ALPP
    • Also accepted as 17 CONTACT HOURS by Lamaze International, CAPPA, ICEA & DONA Internationals
  • 17 CONTACT HOURS (ACNM) - accepted by ACNM
    • Also accepted as 17 NURSING CNEs by many state boards
  • 17 HOURS (MEAC)
  • 17 NURSING CNEs (Midwifery Council of New Zealand)
  • 17 CPD HOURS (ACM)
    • Also accepted for 17 HOURS CPD by NMC

You can buy the course for 25% off with this PROMO CODE used at checkout: 25OFF


What do other people think of the course?

Gulara, Psychologist, UAE, Dubai

I participate in many webinars and courses, but this course is simply incredible.

Ronee - CLC, parenting coach, Pennsylvania, USA

I loved this course! I definitely have an affection towards microbes now, and I'm always sharing my findings with others! Definitely would recommend!

Diana - Childbirth educator, doula & breastfeeding educator, UK

This course was amazing. I learned a lot more about the microbiome than I already did. I find the human microbiome totally fascinating and this just added more to my knowledge. Loved it!

Angelia - Lactation Consultant, Sacramento, Ca., USA

This course is very informative and should be a required course for all healthcare workers who care for new moms and babies!

Debra - IBCLC with Midwifery, Cambridge, UK

Every health professional should know this will guide and empower you in your work to better improve maternal and infant health under your watch

Ramona - Lamaze Childbirth Educator and CLC, Florida Panhandle

This course will have you SO enthusiastic about the ability of women to make human milk and in the benefits of human milk being SO much more than I ever knew!

Cindy -BSN, RNC-MNN, IBCLC, Pittsburgh, PA United States

Being an RN/IBCLC this information will impact my education for mother-infant dyads. Being to give them the education in order to make a well informed choice will speak volumes!

Marcia - RN, Lactation Consultant, Massachusetts, USA

Breast Milk and the Infant Microbiome is a a well organized and informative presentation on the properties if human milk specifically HMOs. I have been a lactation consultant and maternal child nurse for many years, this course expanded my knowledge base and will improve my practice and staff education repertoire. I would recommend this course to lactation consultants and health care providers supporting breastfeeding families.

You can save 25% off the full price if you use this PROMO CODE at checkout: 25OFF