Breastmilk Sharing
and Donor Milk
Established 1988
The New Mexico
                Task Force
The benefits of breastmilk and breastfeeding are well known, and the very existence of the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force is predicated on the scientific studies and data that have established these benefits.  Because of its great superiority for infant nutrition the Task Force is dedicated to the promotion of breastfeeding in our state.  We wish to support mothers and professionals in their efforts in every way we can.

Informal breastmilk sharing among friends or by contacts made through the Internet is a recent issue that has come to the attention of the Task Force and is a practice that we cannot endorse.  The World Health Association has suggested a feeding hierarchy for infants which places mother's own milk at the top, followed by donated fresh breastmilk, then pasteurized breastmilk, and finally artificial formula.   This hierarchy is not official policy and is the subject of much discussion.  There is an ominous risk of HIV infection in untested fresh human milk in much of the developing world which needs to be balanced against its other disease preventing virtues.  Pasteurized breastmilk loses some of its anti-infective properties, but is the milk that is available from registered breastmilk banks here in the United States.  In the developed world there is a consensus that the risk of disease transmission of untested, unpasteurized breastmilk outweighs the benefits.

If a mother is considering an informal sharing arrangement the Task Force suggests that she discuss the question with her health care provider.  There may, first of all, be interventions available which could help her increase her own milk supply as well as approaches that may increase the safety of the project.  We endorse the positions of the
La Leche League  and the US Food and Drug Administration and suggest reading the material that these groups have posted on their websites.