Milk sharing and formula feeding: Infant feeding risks in comparative perspective?

Australas Med J. 2012;5(5):275-83. doi: 10.4066/AMJ.2012.1222. Epub 2012 May 31.


The advent of Internet forums that facilitate peer-to-peer human milk sharing has resulted in health authorities stating that sharing human milk is dangerous. There are risks associated with all forms of infant feeding, including breastfeeding and the use of manufactured infant formulas. However, health authorities do not warn against using formula or breastfeeding; they provide guidance on how to manage risk. Cultural distaste for sharing human milk, not evidenced-based research, supports these official warnings. Regulating bodies should conduct research and disseminate information about how to mitigate possible risks of sharing human milk, rather than proscribe the practice outright.

Keywords: Infant formula; breast milk; food contamination; health policy; wet nursing.