Local pediatric expert shares why you shouldn’t share breastmilk amid formula shortage

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 5:56 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – The national baby formula shortage still has many families struggling to find food to feed their babies. Some have turned to social media and loved ones to help them get what they need. Others, like mother, Shyanne Janis, want to help.

“I have a few friends that personally use formula because they aren’t able to produce milk and I know that there’s other moms that are in the same situation as them, so as somebody who is blessed with being able breastfeed and be able to produce milk I thought that I would you know offer it to anybody just because my baby is starting to also eat solid foods,” Janis said.

Janis posted to social media offering her breastmilk to anyone in need.

“I don’t want anything to go to waste and I thought it would be cool if anybody needs it to be able to accept and get the help they might need,” she said. However, Dr. Eliza Hayes Bakken, from OHSU, said while this is extremely kind and generous, it may not be the safest option.

“I really encourage somebody who is offering their breastmilk up to strangers to think about going through you know milk banks and donating that milk a little more officially,” Hayes Bakken said. She said families ought to think about this the way they would think about donating blood.

“If you’re accepting milk from somebody else, a stranger, you’re accepting a risk that there may be diseases that could be transmitted in that milk like HIV,” she said. She also warns not to buy breastmilk online.

“There have been some good studies that shows that breastmilk bought off of internet ads had pretty high rates of contamination with some bacteria that’s concerning and also about ten percent of the samples that we bought off the internet actually showed that they were probably mixed with cows milk,” Hayes Bakken said.