Using Shared Breast Milk May Pose Risks


The science of milk Jonathan J. O’Sullivan

Video taken from the channel: TED-Ed


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The Risks of Buying Breast Milk Online

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The American Academy of Pediatrics has a clear policy on the dangers associated with feeding babies unpasteurized milk, but there are no guidelines on the sharing of breast milk among friends or relatives. Many women want to breast-feed but can’t, which has caused the unregulated breast milk industry to flourish, according to the study authors. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a clear policy on the dangers associated with feeding babies unpasteurized milk, but there are no guidelines. The AAP does not encourage using informally shared breast milk, citing the risks of spreading disease.

It can also expose an infant to medications, alcohol, drugs, or. THURSDAY, April 30, 2015 (HealthDay News) Women may be using shared breast milk from friends and family, but they don’t always consider the risks involved with providing donor milk to their babies, a new survey shows. As many as one-third of women don’t consider the health of a breast milk donor.

Informal milk sharing refers to breastfeeding someone else’s child, sharing milk with strangers, or other methods outside of donating through an official bank. However, breast milk shared by friends or bought through the internet is unlikely to have been collected, processed, tested or stored in a way that reduces risks to a baby. This kind of donated breast milk could contain: Bacterial growth and contamination with bacteria that could cause infection; Infectious diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus; Chemical contaminants, such as prescription or illegal drugs; Cow’s milk. While the use of human-milk substitutes involves documented risks to the baby, milk sharing is not without risk, either.

Human milk that is carelessly collected or stored may be “contaminated by any number of potentially harmful microorganisms. Donor mothers may have diseases that could be transmitted through the milk; some may not even know that they are infected. Donor mothers may be. Since milk shared among moms is not pasteurized, there could also be bacteria in the milk from pumping, storing and transporting it. Plus, moms may.

“Donor milk may also pass along viruses, which a baby can’t fight because he hasn’t received that mother’s antibodies.” The Other Side of the Nursing Bra Moms who engage in cross-nursing relish the bonding — yet this intimacy is why other moms find it a turnoff. Few illnesses are transmitted via breast milk, and in fact, the unique properties of breast milk help protect infants from colds and other typical childhood viruses. Nonetheless, both families need to be notified when there is a milk mix-up, and they should be informed that the risk of transmission of infectious diseases via breast milk is small.

List of related literature:

When there are risks associated with using even a mother’s own milk for a given baby, the risk/ benefit ratio is determined.

“Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession” by Ruth A. Lawrence, MD, Robert M. Lawrence, MD
from Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession
by Ruth A. Lawrence, MD, Robert M. Lawrence, MD
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2015

No adverse effect on the infant as a result of the “normal” contamination of the mother’s milk has been shown as yet.

“Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment” by Christof Schaefer, Paul W.J. Peters, Richard K Miller
from Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment
by Christof Schaefer, Paul W.J. Peters, Richard K Miller
Elsevier Science, 2014

Considering the risk of possible transmission of viruses (e.g., cytomegalovirus, hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus) via unpasteurized donor breastmilk, administering another mother’s milk to an infant is a serious error.

“Breastfeeding and Human Lactation” by Karen Wambach, Jan Riordan
from Breastfeeding and Human Lactation
by Karen Wambach, Jan Riordan
Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2016

■ Safety for use during breast-feeding is unknown; consider benefit versus risk.

“Gahart's 2020 Intravenous Medications E-Book: A Handbook for Nurses and Health Professionals” by Betty L. Gahart, Adrienne R. Nazareno, Meghan Ortega, RN
from Gahart’s 2020 Intravenous Medications E-Book: A Handbook for Nurses and Health Professionals
by Betty L. Gahart, Adrienne R. Nazareno, Meghan Ortega, RN
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2019

Mothers and clinicians should be aware of potential contamination of breastmilk purchased over the Internet.

“Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician” by Marsha Walker
from Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician
by Marsha Walker
Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2016

Nurses and lactation consultants should be aware of the safety concerns associated with Internet-based or community milk sharing.

“Maternity and Women's Health Care E-Book” by Deitra Leonard Lowdermilk, Shannon E. Perry, Mary Catherine Cashion, Kathryn Rhodes Alden
from Maternity and Women’s Health Care E-Book
by Deitra Leonard Lowdermilk, Shannon E. Perry, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2014

CMV acquisition in premature infants fed human milk: reason to worry?

“Breastfeeding and Human Lactation” by Karen Wambach, Becky Spencer
from Breastfeeding and Human Lactation
by Karen Wambach, Becky Spencer
Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2019

Until human lactation data are available, prolonged exposure of a nursing infant to tegaSerod Via the milk should be avoided.

“Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk” by Gerald G. Briggs, Roger K. Freeman, Sumner J. Yaffe
from Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk
by Gerald G. Briggs, Roger K. Freeman, Sumner J. Yaffe
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008

Many studies have demonstrated the protective effect of breast milk against immuneor autoimmune-related diseases (e.g., chronic and inflammatory bowel diseases, type 1 diabetes, allergic diseases).

“Medical Nutrition and Disease: A Case-Based Approach” by Lisa Hark, Darwin Deen, Gail Morrison
from Medical Nutrition and Disease: A Case-Based Approach
by Lisa Hark, Darwin Deen, Gail Morrison
Wiley, 2014

Is this risk great enough to offset the cost of breastfeeding for a mother who prefers to bottle-feed?

“Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality” by Jonathan M. Metzl, Anna Kirkland
from Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality
by Jonathan M. Metzl, Anna Kirkland
NYU Press, 2010

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +1 (877) 492-3666

Bibliography: oktay_bibliography

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  • Any creature on earth should depend upon other creatures for food but we humans exploit all the things for our own selfish reasons ��

  • I cried a little when I saw your baby coughing and choking, emotions just flooded in, it made me think about all the times my boy has done that while I’ve been feeding him. (I’m an emotional wreck as it is, pregnancy and having my baby has just amplified it haha)

    I’m a first time mum to a 3 and a half week old baby and I’m struggling with this problem but mainly in one breast (righty… lefty is being kind and not overproducing quite so much ��). I feel so crappy every time he chokes and coughs. I’m trying to not adjust my supply until after 6 weeks as I’m hoping it will settle itself and I won’t have to do that. Until then, I’m going to attend a drop-in breastfeeding clinic on Wednesday at my hospital and see if they can help me with some upright feeding positions such as the koala hold or biological nurturing as I’ve read that that can help the baby cope, I’m just not getting the hang of it on my own, so fingers crossed I can do it with a little expert help. I’m also hand expressing for about 10 seconds before getting him on the breast when I feed from the right side, which is kind of similar to your suggestion of unlatching when the forceful let-down happens, I’m going to give your idea a go and see if it’s more effective for me than what I’m currently doing.

    Also, I 100% agree about Lansinoh’s nursing pads I started with Superdrug own brand and soaked through those within an hour or two every time. With Lansinoh’s I’ve only soaked through once (and admittedly, that’s because I forgot to change them… oops!)

    Anyway, I love this video, it’s going to be so helpful for other mums who may not know about this problem! I’ll be rewatching in a few weeks if my hopes of the issue settling at 6+ weeks doesn’t happen! xxx

  • I had this with my second and got mastitis a few times. I put mine down to having big boobs (h cup) to be honest, had no idea it was a ‘thing’.. will bear in mine the guards for next time though. My boy would come off after the initial latch and my milk would spray everywhere for ages (TMI!!!) let downs were bad too. none of my mummy friends had this so I thought I was a bit of a weirdo.. haha. Breast feeding in public is not ideal either! Love all your videos xxx

  • This is brilliant. I breastfed my 1st for 18 months with oversupply and a very forceful letdown, and am on month 12 with my second, same oversupply, and crazy letdown! Both had major tongue ties and latch issues ��. Just my luck! All your tips are great! Xx

  • Thank you so much for this helpful video! Currently 2.5weeks in with my first baby and she’s started getting very upset when feeding due to my oversupply it was such a relief to find a video with your experience and tips. You’ve given me the hope to carry on and fight through the struggle!

  • Omg thank you so much for sharing, my son is 5 weeks old and I’m struggling with this whole breastfeeding journey. The overactive letdown is such a stressful thing especially when he chokes and gags it’s so scary and it’s so frustrating when he won’t latch back on but he’s still hungry. Will def try your advice��

  • I am currently breastfeeding and my baby is now 2 months old. At first my milk supply was a dream. All is well but recently the milk starts to choke my baby. And when i hand express i can see my milk squirting everywhere!! So i then knew that i had an oversupply. I thought maybe because i keep using the hakka. Like every feeding for the first month. So that stimulated my oversupply. I wish i had knew this and never used the hakka. ������ now im struggling with a choking baby with over supplied milk.

  • I have also had issues with mastitis as well and my ducts are easily clogged. Pumping didn’t really help me but only made it worse. Thank you for this video! Finally somebody with the same problem as me! Everything you describe I have the same exact problem to the same level! Thank you so much.

  • I’ve wondered how foremilk and hindmilk work on an extreme oversupply. I know that a baby needs hindmilk to truly fill up, but are our babies getting just foremilk and then full? I had a very cranky unsettled babyand wondered if they were not getting enough hindmilk nutrients to properly rest and sleep. Can’t seem to find good research on this, as most assume that you need 15 min to get an ounce or two, LOL… try 2-3min.

  • Following this full drainage block feeding talked about in this study has been so helpful for me!it utilizes block feeding but is able to work almost immediately because of the full drainage.

  • SJ! You touched on a subject we barely hear a word about regarding breast feeding. We imagine so many mums out there will appreciate this video. Amazing job! x

  • If u stupit enough will smoke and feeding ur babe……. i was smoker for 10 years after i got pregnant i quite the shit already even feeding i will never touch the shit again.. if u love ur child better stop it. If cant do not call urself as mother.

  • My little Frederick is 2.5 weeks old, my 3rd and he does the chocking thing! It’s been driving me crazy. I never had this with one and two, they had other issues. Nursed them over a year each..hoping to do the same here. Ty for this, I clicked over from your most recent video

  • So so helpful! I’ve had an oversupply since day one! I’ve tried to get my supply to go down however engorgement is beyond painful (I instantly get lightning nipples). Pumping is the only way to go for me. Thankfully I don’t have a forceful let down unless I’m engorged. My little one can eat maybe half a breast per feeding. I then pump the rest. I can go about 6-7 hrs without pumping before I become engorged so I try to stretch it as long as possible. However that means primarily bottle feeding and occasionally nursing. I’m just shy of 1mth since having my little one and my freezer is already beyond full! Hopefully it’ll even itself out a little bit better in due time. It’s hard talking with doctors and even other woman about having an oversupply as most just don’t seem to understand just how bad it is. I’m very lucky that I don’t really leak unless I’m feeding or engorged so I’m not going thru nursing pads all that much

  • His explanation, ↪����������������↪������

    Me: I learned a new word today.
    My sister: oh yeah, what is it?”
    Me: (try to pronounce Mammocytus)
    My sister: What does it mean?
    Me: IitwellI don’t know

  • So thats why my frickin cat kept suckin his brother’s balloons (his mum was too sick to feed him liquid mayo thats he had to THHHH his older brother)

  • My baby is choking everytime she breastfeed. And she is having reflux, also gained 1 pound in just one week. She’s only two weeks old. I’m thinking im having this issue. My let down is very fast too. Something that had helped me when she choked is put her down holding her head like looking to the floor to release the airways and she’s start breathing normally pretty quickly. Same position used when baby chokes in a CPR class but not padding her back.

  • thank you SOOO MUCH for posting this! my baby is 2 months old and im having this issue. Hes bot gaining weight since I feel hes getting to much foremilk. I will definitely be feeding on one side I think because theres way to much milk.

  • Ok so as far as block feeding, if you feed from one breast exclusively won’t that cause that particular breast to continue to make too much milk

  • Im so happy i found this video! Many times I’ve heard of women not being able to produce enough milk but never heard of women producing too much. Ive been experiencing very painful engorged breasts. Which my baby has trouble latching on to, causing me more pain. And my baby chokes practically the whole time she eats and I’ve felt so bad, i didnt know what i was doing wrong. It has made every feeding so painful and a struggle since i brought her home. Definitely going to be trying all these tips! Thank you so much!

  • aww your babba choking:( I dealt with over supply this time round because my baby was in intensive care for the first 13 days of his life so I was exclusively breastfeeding so my body wasn’t able to define how much baby needed. that’s exactly what I did was used a muslin to catch the initial spurt from the forceful let down. I wouldn’t pump but sometimes hand expressed a couple of mls between feeds just to comfort. but yes I felt covered in milk constantly and soaked and gross constantly. I turned to my local La Leche League for support and we got through and he is still happily feeding now at 11 months. I also had to get him on the breast because he obviously had only had bottles (expressed breast milk) for those 1st 2wks in hospital so at first was having to still pump which didn’t help with my feedback loop! well done life with a newborn is hard enough without this issue on top! xx

  • thank you so much for this video. I struggle with the same thing. My baby is 11 weeks old tomorrow. I feel like when I drink the sage tea it reduces my milk for about a week then it seems to go up again. I also only feed one breast poet 2-3 hour block. Hopefully it levels it soon. Curious how your supply is doing now? Our babies are almost the same age. My baby was born 12-28-16. Have a nice day!

  • Life saver video.
    I wasnt able to breastfeed my first and i only breastfed my second for a few weeks. Now i am on my third and im almost 6 weeks in but i have an oversupply and forceful letdown. Baby is getting frustrated and pulls off the breast often, more so my left because i have to use a shield. Its affecting his stool and making him very gassy ☹️ im going to try block feeding but i have some questions. How long do you keep baby at the breast for? Obviously they wont empty it in one feeding but i just want to make sure he is getting enough of the fatty milk. Also, do you block feed the rest of the time you are breastfeeding, meaning is that they only way we will be able to feed? Or are you eventually able to feed off both sides in one feeding?
    Again thank you so much for this. I had an awful day with a fussy baby who seemed to be hungry all day and now i know why! Gives me hope for tomorrow ��

  • My son is 1 week old today! I have a huge oversupply of milk and i am constantly engorged! I have mastitis already and have so many rock hard lumps under my arms which im on antibiotics for. I cant put him to the breast because he makes me bleed so i am expressing every 3 hours. No matter how long i express for i always feel full! I feel like giving up because i am so so sore all day every day especially at night. At night i get huge night sweats to the point i have to change my top! When my breasts let down it hurts like crazy as well. I dont feel like any advise i have been given has been helpful and i dont think things are getting any better like people keep telling me it will! �� xx

  • my wife uses the one by The Easy Orange. It is really a value pack with breast shells, drawstring bag and a cute baby toothbrush! check it out at

  • Going through this right now. Trying block feeding but how do i deal with the engorgement on the unfeed breast…its so uncomfortable