Login Se connecter

Blog Archive

Blog Archive

Informal Breast Milk Sharing

April 2018

Many worldwide medical organizations recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months followed by continued breastfeeding with the introduction of complementary foods until at least one year or for as long as the mother and baby desire. The American Academy of Family Physicians, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Surgeon General, and UNICEF all recommend breastfeeding for at least two years or as long as mother and baby desire.

informal milk sharing

What happens, though, if the mother is unable to produce milk, as in breast hypoplasia or chemotherapy? Parents want to feed their baby breast milk, and many formal milk banks do not have the quantity of donors or banked human milk to be able to provide for more than the NICU population. We know that informal human milk sharing has occurred throughout history, and that it still occurs today. With the freedom of internet sharing among parents, online connections are frequently made to share one parent's abundance with another parent's lack of human milk. Should we as health care practitioners encourage or discourage this informal sharing? Does your facility have a policy or protocol for dealing with this issue?

Last year (2017), the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) issued a Position Statement on Informal Breast Milk Sharing for the Term Healthy Infant. You can access this free download at the ABM website: http://www.bfmed.org/protocols It says, "Providers should help mothers and families make informed choices about the risks and benefits of informal breast milk sharing...[and] can advise recipients on medical screening of donors for illnesses and medications that are contraindicated. As donors need screening, we discourage the use of any milk from an anonymous donor,” (p. 1). Lists included in the position statement include medical screening recommendations and guidelines for home pasteurization using the flash heating method.

In their conclusion, the ABM "... recognizes that informal milk sharing is an increasingly common practice with potential health benefits for the term healthy infant, but encourages adherence to these guidelines to reduce risk and make milk sharing as safe as possible,” (p. 2). However, ABM strongly discourages internet-based milk sharing and the purchase of human milk via the internet since donors are unknown, may not be medically screened, and the milk "is often not suitable for consumption upon arrival”.

Use this position statement to start collaborative conversations and/or set up hospital protocols for informal sharing of human milk.

Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, RN, IBCLC, FILCA

Professional Development Educator



Sriraman, N.K., Evans, A.E., Lawrence, R., Noble, L., and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine's Board of Directors. (2017). Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine's 2017 Position Statement on informal breast milk sharing for the term healthy infant.  Breastfeeding Medicine; 13(1): 1-3.


Remember me Login Se connecter Logging in...
Submit Sending... Sent! Clear
Submit Sending... Sent! Clear

This Privacy Policy describes how your personal information is collected, used, and shared when you visit or make a purchase from https://step2education.com (the "Site").


When you visit the Site, we automatically collect certain information about your device, including information about your web browser, IP address, time zone, and some of the cookies that are installed on your device. Additionally, as you browse the Site, we collect information about the individual web pages or products that you view, what websites or search terms referred you to the Site, and information about how you interact with the Site. We refer to this automatically-collected information as Device Information."

We collect Device Information using the following technologies:

  • "Cookies" are data files that are placed on your device or computer and often include an anonymous unique identifier. For more information about cookies, and how to disable cookies, visit http://www.allaboutcookies.org.
  • "Log files" track actions occurring on the Site, and collect data including your IP address, browser type, Internet service provider, referring/exit pages, and date/time stamps.
  • "Web beacons," "tags," and "pixels" are electronic files used to record information about how you browse the Site.

Additionally when you make a purchase or attempt to make a purchase through the Site, we collect certain information from you, including your name, billing address, shipping address, payment information (including credit card numbers), email address, and phone number. We refer to this information as "Order Information."

  • Users who are undertaking a course as part of a group or organization have certain data tracked as part of the service we provide to Clients and Facilitators. This includes information showing if you have logged in and when, dates of completion and what and when particular study topics, resources and assessments were viewed and completed. We refer to this information as "Student Access Information"

When we talk about "Personal Information" in this Privacy Policy, we are talking about Device Information, Order Information and Student Access Information.


We use the Order Information that we collect generally to fulfill any orders placed through the Site (including processing your payment information, arranging for shipping, and providing you with invoices and/or order confirmations). Additionally, we use this Order Information to:

  • Communicate with you;
  • Screen our orders for potential risk or fraud; and
  • When in line with the preferences you have shared with us, provide you with information or advertising relating to our products or services.

We use Student Access Information to provide accurate tracking to Users and Clients on completion and use of the courses, as well as for analysis on how to improve our services.

We use the Device Information that we collect to help us screen for potential risk and fraud (in particular, your IP address), and more generally to improve and optimize our Site (for example, by generating analytics about how our customers browse and interact with the Site, and to assess the success of our marketing and advertising campaigns).


We share your Personal Information with third parties to help us use your Personal Information, as described above. For example, with your employer who needs to verify your completion or progress of your studies. We also use Google Analytics to help us understand how our customers use the Site--you can read more about how Google uses your Personal Information here: https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/. You can also opt-out of Google Analytics here: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.

Finally, we may also share your Personal Information to comply with applicable laws and regulations, to respond to a subpoena, search warrant or other lawful request for information we receive, or to otherwise protect our rights.


As described above, we use your Personal Information to provide you with targeted advertisements or marketing communications we believe may be of interest to you. For more information about how targeted advertising works, you can visit the Network Advertising Initiative's ("NAI") educational page at https://www.networkadvertising.org/understanding-online-advertising/how-does-it-work.

You can opt out of targeted advertising by:

Additionally, you can opt out of some of these services by visiting the Digital Advertising Alliance's opt-out portal at: http://optout.aboutads.info.


Please note that we do not alter our Site's data collection and use practices when we see a Do Not Track signal from your browser.


If you are a European resident, you have the right to access personal information we hold about you and to ask that your personal information be corrected, updated, or deleted. If you would like to exercise this right, please contact us through the contact information below.

Additionally, if you are a European resident we note that we are processing your information in order to fulfill contracts we might have with you (for example if you make an order through the Site), or otherwise to pursue our legitimate business interests listed above. Additionally, please note that your information will be transferred outside of Europe, including to Canada and the United States.


When you place an order through the Site, we will maintain your Order Information and Student Access Information for our records unless and until you ask us to delete this information. We are required to keep course completion records for at least 5 years in order to comply with certain accreditation requirements.


We may update this privacy policy from time to time in order to reflect, for example, changes to our practices or for other operational, legal or regulatory reasons.


For more information about our privacy practices, if you have questions, or if you would like to make a complaint, please contact us by e-mail at info@step2education.com or by mail using the details provided below:

5890 Monkland Avenue, #16, Montreal, QC, H4A 1G2, Canada

Last Updated: September 2018