Donor Breast Milk and Informal Breast Milk Sharing
What are some health benefits of breast
ξ Helps fight infections
ξ Is the ideal food for babies
ξ Is easy to digest
What is donor breast milk?
Donor breast milk is human milk that is not
from the child’s mother.
There are 2 types of donor milk:
ξ Banked breast milk is milk from a
certified milk bank.
ξ Informal shared breast milk is milk
from a source that is not a certified
What are the benefits from breast milk
from a certified milk bank?
ξ It is pasteurized. This process kills
ξ The donors follow many steps
o Health screening
o Health history
o Blood test
o Medication history
o Agree to only take medicine
from an approved list.
ξ It is safely collected, stored, and
ξ Milk from several donors is mixed.
This lowers exposure to harmful
Are there concerns?
ξ It is expensive.
ξ It may not be covered by insurance.
ξ Supply may be limited.
What are the benefits of informal shared
ξ The milk may be easier to find than
milk from a certified milk bank.
What are some concerns?
ξ The milk is not typically pasteurized.
ξ There have been reports of milk
diluted with cow’s milk, water, and
infant formula when milk has been
purchased through websites like
Facebook, Craigslist, or Ebay
ξ It may not be safely collected or
ξ Donors may not be screened.
Are there rules for informal breast milk
There are no formal rules, but here are some
ξ Ask the care team about risks,
benefits, and alternatives.
ξ Research options from the list at the
end of this handout.
ξ Ask her about her health and
lifestyle, even if she is someone you
ξ Consider asking your donor to have
her blood tested or request a copy of
her recent blood tests.
ξ Ask all donors to follow the
guidelines for safely collecting and
storing breast milk at the end of this
ξ Avoid choosing a donor from
websites like Facebook, Craigslist, or
ξ Avoid donors who ask for payment
beyond normal breast milk storage
supplies and shipping costs.
Although the FDA, USDA, and the
American Academy of Pediatrics
recommend against informal breast milk
sharing, it is understood that this may be
your preferred option. Please work with
your health care team to understand the
benefits and risks.
Safely collecting and storing breast milk
ξ Wash and dry your hands before
pumping and any time you touch
your pump parts.
ξ Pump and store breast milk in BPA
free bottles or breast milk storage
ξ Label each bottle or bag with the
date and time it was pumped.
ξ Store it in the back of your
refrigerator where it is coldest. Milk
may be refrigerated for up 4 days
from the time it was pumped. If the
milk will not be used by that time,
please freeze it.
ξ Breast milk expands when it freezes
so, please leave ½ inch of space at
the top of the bag or bottle. Freeze
milk in the back of the freezer where
it is the coldest. It may be frozen for
up to 12 months in any good quality
Cleaning breast pump parts
ξ Wash and dry your hands.
ξ Separate each part that touches milk.
ξ Rinse each piece that touches milk
and then wash it in warm, soapy
water. Use unscented dish soap and
avoid antibacterial soaps.
ξ After washing, rinse each part and
place it on a clean, dry towel.
ξ You may also wash your rinsed
pieces in the top rack of your
dishwasher, if dishwasher safe.
ξ Check pump tubing for moisture and
mold. You can remove water by
running the pump with only the
tubing attached. If mold is present,
replace with new tubing.
New CDC guidelines on cleaning breast pump parts
Resources for certified donor breast milk banks include:
The Human Milk Banking Association of North America https://www.hmbana.org/
Mother’s Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes http://www.milkbankwgl.org/
Resources for informal breast milk sharing include:
Mothers Milk Alliance http://www.mothersmilkalliance.org/
Human Milk 4 Human Babies http://www.hm4hb.net/
Eats on Feets http://www.eatsonfeets.org/
For more information about risks and benefits:
Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine http://www.bfmed.org/
American Academy of Pediatrics https://www.aap.org/
What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?
What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?
If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions, please contact UW Health at one of the
phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition.
Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s
Hospital (AFCH) can be reached: (608) 890-5500. Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation
(UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have any
questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not medical advice.
This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s health needs are different, you
should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this information. If you have an emergency, please
call 911. Copyright 11/2017. University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the
Clinical Nutrition Services Department and the Department of Nursing. HF#609