Donor Human Milk for the High-Risk Infant: Preparation, Safety, and Usage Options in the United States

Pediatrics. 2017 Jan;139(1):e20163440. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-3440.


The use of donor human milk is increasing for high-risk infants, primarily for infants born weighing <1500 g or those who have severe intestinal disorders. Pasteurized donor milk may be considered in situations in which the supply of maternal milk is insufficient. The use of pasteurized donor milk is safe when appropriate measures are used to screen donors and collect, store, and pasteurize the milk and then distribute it through established human milk banks. The use of nonpasteurized donor milk and other forms of direct, Internet-based, or informal human milk sharing does not involve this level of safety and is not recommended. It is important that health care providers counsel families considering milk sharing about the risks of bacterial or viral contamination of nonpasteurized human milk and about the possibilities of exposure to medications, drugs, or herbs in human milk. Currently, the use of pasteurized donor milk is limited by its availability and affordability. The development of public policy to improve and expand access to pasteurized donor milk, including policies that support improved governmental and private financial support for donor milk banks and the use of donor milk, is important.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Milk Expression / methods*
  • Canada
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control
  • Food Quality*
  • Food, Fortified
  • Frozen Foods
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Milk Banks / organization & administration*
  • Milk, Human / microbiology
  • Pasteurization
  • Risk Factors
  • United States