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Health Implications of Sharing Breast Milk Often Ignored

| May 2, 2015 Comment

Health Implications of Sharing Breast Milk Often Ignored – A new study shows that most women who share breast milk don’t consider health issues of donors nor do they consult with their doctors.

The practice of sharing and using shared breast milk is catching on among thousands of new moms, as many women who can’t breast-feed their babies for various reasons, want to make sure their babies still get the health benefits of breast milk. But according to Sarah Keim, lead author of the new study, health care professionals have been left out of the conversation, and the American Academy of Pediatricians has no guidelines on feeding babies breast milk shared by relatives and friends.

Keim and her team wanted to profile women sharing or donating breast milk, so health practitioners could start a dialogue with women who fit the profile and help guide them through this process. They surveyed 500 new mothers in central Ohio, and found that 77% were aware of the practice. Only four percent of the women had either used or shared breast milk. Women who engaged in sharing breast milk tended to be more educated and had higher incomes than those who didn’t. Almost 27% of the women said they had not considered the health risks associated with using another woman’s breast milk.


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