Milk Sharing

I’ve had a few questions recently from women that are thinking about milk sharing — using other mothers’ milk to supplement their babies. Donor milk from a milk bank is great and probably the safest option — unfortunately some families don’t have access to milk bank milk or can’t afford it. So I wanted to note a few resources that families can use as they decide what to do when their baby needs supplementing and they have to choose between formula and informally donated milk.

There are some serious diseases that can be transmitted through breastmilk. Here are guidelines from Milk Share (a resource for families milk sharing outside the milk banking system) and HMBANA (the Human Milk Banking Association of North America) for screening donors. Here is a link to a site where you can purchase a single-bottle human milk pasteuriser. There are health risks associated with formula feeding too. Be sure to check that any formula you use is mixed appropriately. Here’s a link to the FDA website where you can make sure that the formula you’re using hasn’t been recalled. This is a tough choice for parents — it’s one of those things where I wish there were easy answers.


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