The Truth About Donated Breast Milk & If It's Safe

Most moms know that breastmilk is the healthiest option for babies. But for many new moms out there, it just isn't an option. There is a rare percentage of mothers who aren't able to make enough breastmilk, or any at all. Although formula is an option, many mothers would rather use breas tmilk from donors to feed their baby so they can reap the nutritional benefits. But is donated breast milk safe? Experts say it depends on where you get it.

Although the majority of mothers are able to produce enough milk for their baby, some are not, due to a variety of reasons. According to What to Expect, some of the most common reasons for not being able to breastfeed are previous breast reduction or augmentation, insufficient glandular tissue, serious illness like heart disease or severe anemia, or drug addiction.

No matter the reason why, turning to donated breastmilk is an intriguing option. The American Pregnancy Association (APA) noted that, since all legitimate milk banks require their donors to go through screening to ensure the safety of the milk they donate, accepting donated milk is a perfectly safe substitute. Milk banks like the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, Mother's Milk Bank, and others accept safe milk that can make a huge difference in a family's life.


Alternatively, buying from unreliable sources or breast milk sharing with other mothers who haven't gone through a milk bank may be dangerous. An article from the US News reported that experts don't recommend informal sharing of breastmilk due to the increased risk of infection. Even if the person is related to you or says they store the milk safely, there's no way to be certain that the milk is completely safe.

Whether you are unable to produce milk or your baby was born with a condition that requires them to use donated milk, accepting it from established milk banks that you or your hospital seek out is a great way to ensure your baby gets the best nutrients available to them.