Date of Award


Document Type


Copyright Status, No Creative Commons License

All Rights Reserved

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Nursing




Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of the milk donor who donated milk to a hospital-based bank regulated under the policies and procedures set forth by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). The literature has examined and established the life-saving benefits of donor milk for the vulnerable infant. Currently, there is a shortage of donor milk available for vulnerable and premature infants. Learning more about the experience of donation from the perspective of the donating mother can aid in the future education, recruitment, and retention of donors. Method: This study utilized a qualitative phenomenological approach to describe the experience of the donor. Donors approved through the Human Milk Banking Association of North America were selected for this study at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Participants were interviewed using a face-to-face semi-structured interview format. Edmund Husserl’s philosophical framework and Colaizzi’s method of data analysis were utilized. The voices of women who lived the experience of donating their milk illuminated the essence of the phenomenon. iv Results: Four themes illuminated the phenomena of donation: A Ripple of Hope and Help, The Dynamic Interplay of Nurturance, Standing on The Shoulders of Others, and Sharing Their Story. The first theme expressed the ripple effect of the positive emotions experienced by each participant. The dynamic interplay of nurturance demonstrates the participants’ knowledge that her donation is helping another infant and family, and how that leads to her feeling good while acting as a motivating factor. The third theme, standing on the shoulders of others, illuminates the staff as the central facilitating factor in donation, and helps us understand the elements of that relationship. Lastly, every participant wanted to share their story and teach others about donation because they wanted other women to have the same experience. Donation was described as a positive, valuable, and nurturing experience that motivated donors to continue. This study illuminated the positive emotional experiences associated with milk donation.

Related Pillar(s)


Included in

Nursing Commons