Breastfeeding Medicine Blog

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Issues Guidance on Informal Milk Sharing for Healthy Term Infants

New Rochelle, NY, January 8, 2018—In response to the increasing informal sharing of human milk, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) has published guidelines to minimize the risk of this practice while enhancing the health benefits. The position statement is published in Breastfeeding Medicine, the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Breastfeeding Medicine website until February 8, 2018.

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine’s 2017 Position Statement on Informal Breast Milk Sharing for the Term Healthy Infant ” discusses strategies to maximize the safety of community-based breast milk sharing, including 1) medical screening of the donor and 2) safe milk handling practices. Donors should have no medical illness where breastfeeding is contraindicated nor on any medication that is incompatible with breastfeeding. Mothers can further reduce the risk of infections by performing home pasteurization of donated milk prior to giving it to her infant; however, pasteurization can decrease some of the beneficial components of human milk. ABM also emphasizes that while informal milk sharing has potential health benefit, “internet-based milk sharing is not recommended under any circumstances.”

“Informal breast milk sharing is becoming increasingly common for healthy term infants as 21st century families desire to feed their infants human milk,” says Dr. Timothy Tobolic, president of ABM. “Physicians and other health care providers can help mothers and families evaluate the risks and benefits of informal milk sharing.”


ABM Ethics Committee Formal Grievance Review is Ongoing

November 9, 2017 – The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has a formal process in place to address any member grievances, including potential conflict of interests. These routine procedures are outlined in our bylaws and our Code of Ethics. Both documents are available to all with no restricted access at www.bfmed.org.

Last week, the grievance review process was activated. Today, the Board of Directors discussed this ongoing matter in person at the regularly scheduled board meeting.

The Ethics Committee is actively reviewing ABM’s Conflict of Interest policies. The results of this policy review and any recommendations will be shared with membership following the January meeting of Board.