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The phone call goes something like this: “I have a low supply. My friend has extra milk in her freezer and can pump extra all the time. She said I could have what she doesn’t need. Is it okay to do this?”

I don’t recommend it. Certain diseases can be transmitted through breastmilk. You want to think that a friend would share this information with you, but that is not always the case.

Potential milk bank donors are screened and must receive consent from their physician, to ensure a healthy medical history. Her blood will be tested to screen for a variety of diseases that can be transmitted through breastmilk. She cannot be taking medications or herbs. Any milk that is donated goes through this procedure to ensure safety:

Human Milk Banking of North America Milk Processing and Safety

I had another phone call that went like this: “I am giving my friend my extra milk. I am a Hepatitis B carrier, and I just converted to positive. Is this something I need to tell my friend so her baby can be tested or can I just tell her that I can’t give her milk anymore? I’ve been a carrier for years and never expected this to happen.”

That’s the reason I tell moms that they should never use a friend’s milk. I also had someone tell me that they were using milk that their midwife got from another mom. They didn’t even know the mom.

This is why milk sharing is not a good idea.