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Adoptive Breastfeeding

Breast Milk Donated or Sold Online Is Often Tainted, Study Says

Hi everyone,
I thought I would share this article with you. How do you supplement, if you do supplement? We were planning to supplement from an online donor, since we can’t afford the milkbank, but now I’m a little concerned based on this study.


I would never buy peer-to-peer breast milk—someone having a profit motive without regulation means that there’s a much greater likelihood of someone having a motive to tamper with the milk (such as diluting it). As I’ve understood it, selling breast milk peer-to-peer is illegal.

Donated milk is different, to me.

We have received donor milk for our adopted son (now just over a year old) from over 20 amazing milk mamas who have been happy to answer questions and/or provide info on their health background. Our son is a healthy, happy boy, and I think he must have fascinating gut flora from having more communal breastfeeding experiences. Is there some risk involved? Of course. I wish I had simply been able to induce and have a full supply for him, but it didn’t happen that way. So I trust moms who are giving their own babies their milk to share with me. And I thank them profusely, supply them with replacement bags, and give photos of our growing boy (growing on their milk!) and gifts at the holidays (for repeat donors).

Keep in mind formula also includes risk. (In fact, google ‘risks of not breastfeeding,’ and you’ll get interesting results from the NIH.) I feel like this page has a good discussion of the benefits and risks of informal milk sharing vs. formula:

Hope that helps.

Posted by YeahBaby on Oct 21, 2013 at 10:37pm

I think it’s safer, albeit more expensive, to buy from the regulated milk banks.

Posted by mumstheword on Oct 21, 2013 at 10:54pm

How do you find donors? Particularly donors that you can trust.

Posted by niki000 on Oct 22, 2013 at 12:03am

1. Milk can be flash pasteurized at home.
2. We can use this as a opportunity to educate people on safely collecting and storing milk. Because this isnt a donor issue, this is a collection issue, whether the milk is intended for donation or at use home is beside the fact. Because the milk is usually stored for the mothers own baby first, and then donated when there is an excess.
3. Most mothers ask for medical records. I know in Canada all mothers are tested for HIV, and Hepatitis when pregnant. You can request those records.

Posted by Lyds780 on Oct 22, 2013 at 1:07am
If anyone is interested in flash pasteurization, here are some instructions.

Posted by Lyds780 on Oct 22, 2013 at 1:10am

I agree that we should continue to educate about safely storing and collecting.

However, I can’t find any information about whether or not flash pasteurization affects some of the other things they found such as:

-36 percent with strep
-almost three-quarters with other bacterial species
-Three of the samples contained salmonella

Do have any information about these risks?

Posted by niki000 on Oct 22, 2013 at 9:21pm

Here is an interesting perspective on the study:

Posted by rredhead on Oct 23, 2013 at 12:21am

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