Finding Donated Breast Milk. What should I keep in mind?

Many mums face the problem of not producing enough milk for their babies. Research shows that premature babies get a great deal of benefits from their parent’s breast milk. It also shows that donated, pasteurized (heat-treated) breast milk can also help these vulnerable babies. 

Donating milk and accepting donor’s milk is pretty common in other countries, those countries would have milk banks and hospitals arranging breast milk donation. 

Is donor milk safe? 

The answer will be, it depends. Since in Malaysia, we don’t have an organisation that helps us to pasteurise donor milk and its container, test whether the milk contains bad bacteria that could transmit to the baby, what we can do is do the screening ourselves by asking questions. 

Before you accept or ask for donor’s milk, here are some common questions you can ask the donor:

  • Do you smoke? 
  • Do you drink alcohol? 
  • What is your diet like? 
  • How old is your baby? 
  • Your health status? 
  • How did you store the milk? 

Potential risks with donor breast milk

  • Donated breast milk from somewhere other than a milk bank will not have been pasteurized (heat treated) to destroy bacteria and viruses.
  • As with donated blood, donor milk can contain viruses, bacteria, and chemicals such as nicotine if the donor parent smokes cigarettes.
  • Donor milk can contain traces of medicines that the donor takes, which can sometimes affect your baby.

As a precaution, if you are considering using donated breast milk, you should always:

  • check the health status of the donor
  • make sure the milk is collected safely and hygienically.

If you still have any doubts, don’t accept the donation to give your baby formula milk instead. We hope you have a pleasant breastfeeding journey or find a donor you trust!


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