Sharing Breastmilk – Acceptable?

This past weekend was beyond crazy around here. We had my step mother’s birthday party Friday night. Then on Saturday afternoon into the evening we had a big BBQ picnic for the close of Johnny’s soccer season. Sunday I was supposed to have girls night with Hubby’s family but at the last minute it got cancelled. Thing is I breastfeed and it’s hard to do all these functions. I’m not comfortable with public feedings even with a coverup. If I don’t know the people well I’m not comfortable asking to go to a private room in their home.

So that leaves me pumping as much as I can to make sure I have enough to make it through all these functions. I’ve done pretty well so far but we haven’t had to be anywhere too long so far and worse case I would just excuse myself or leave.

This weekend though I had a person I at one of the parties that I don’t know well stop me and ask if I had enough breast milk. Confused, I said yes. She then went to tell me that she had some of her daughter’s in the fridge because she babysits her grand daughter and if I needed more I could have hers.


I must have not hid my mortification well because she quickly went on to let me know there was nothing wrong with her daughter and walked away.

So, while I know you can donate and buy donated breast milk would you have accepted the other person’s milk? Would you have been as mortified at the idea as I was.


  1. Erin Becker says

    That would have weirded me out too! I’m sure she was just trying to be helpful…but I would (and do) give my baby formula before I would give him another woman’s breastmilk.
    I wonder if this woman’s daughter knows that she is offering up her pumped milk to anyone with a baby. If my mom was trying to give my liquid gold away to random people I would be super pissed!

  2. yeah, that’s a little strange. Especially to say to a stranger, I mean, you’re not BFF’s or anything.

  3. Jennifer says

    LOL I agree I’d be mad if someone was giving out my milk. I know she meant well but I couldn’t do it.

    Her mom later bragged how her daughter pumps like 12 ounces in one sitting. Ugh.

  4. Christina says

    If it was someone I didn’t know very well, I would have probably had the same reaction you had! I’m all for people donating BM and others getting it from a milk bank (my daughter was premature and had donated milk in the NICU). I have a friend who adopted and she really wanted her baby to have breast milk, her sister had a baby a few months prior so she used some of her pumped milk – that didn’t even phase me. But for someone I didn’t know well to offer me her daughters breast milk.. yeah, no thank you! While I am sure her daughter is fine, no way I’d take breastmilk from someone when I had no idea what she may be taking, doing, etc. Not something I’d be comfortable with unless there was absolutely no other option for my baby.

  5. Donna says

    Wow, you sound like me 4 years ago. I totally hated nursing in public even with a cover. I would stay in my car with the A/C on with the nursing cover on if we were out and about. If we were at a close friends house I would ask to use their bedroom or office. Anyway, back then, if someone would have asked me if I wanted some extra milk, I probably would have been mortified. I think now I wouldn’t be as phased by it. I have a friend from high school that donated her milk to one of her friends. The child was born prematurely and she couldn’t nurse but wanted him to have breast milk. Breastfeeding is really important to me and perhaps if I were in a bind, I might consider it. Especially now I work full time and I am dreading getting up at 2 am to pump so my child would have enough at daycare. It is a personal choice and if sharing works for people that is fine and if it isn’t it is fine too.

  6. Jenna Parsons says

    That was a very nice offer, but I also would have been a little uncomfortable. Also cheers to you for breastfeeding!!! I read so many blogs today of women misunderstanding the reason for breast feeding. Breast IS best for baby ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. angi says

    i dont need such a thing nor have I needed it for 19 yrs i to wouldnt have taken it from a stranger also! But Ido think a BM but a BM bank would of been a wonderful thing for my son since he was PM and couldnt latch and I had a hard time pumping and having it produced. soo if there is such a thing as a BM bank I think more pepole should donate and there should be much more of them Im sure there would be a great need for them.
    Sincely mom 2 an autie 92

  8. Bobbie says

    I would have been taken back, but I am almost sure that she did it put of kindness and didn’t mean to make an uncomfortable situation. Having said that, breast milk *IS* a body fluid, so I’m not sure I would feel comfortable with my child drinking someone else’s breastmilk.

    However, my best friend had twins (she had 2 singleton pregnancies prior to this) and was pumping well over 40 ounces MORE then the babies needed. She had my deep freezer full, both of hers full, her moms and her MIL’s. I had a serious conversation with her about selling it since we were starting to toss bags that were hitting the 4-6 month mark. She’s very healthy and doesn’t take any medicine or drink at all, never did drugs, etc. no tattoos, no infections of any kind. I told her I would go with her to a bank and I did.

    They did a lengthy process was lengthy, they do a while medical thing, etc, but in the end she did sell the extra. You can be anonymous or you can be known. She opted to leave her info and the family did contact her. Mom was breastfeeding and diagnosed with an illness which required medication that the baby couldnt have. She was devastated because the baby was doing well and preemie. They still keep in touch and I thought it was very moving that my friend was able to help another family. She made a killing selling off her freezer stash though!

  9. Leslie Guenther says

    I would have been the same way you were. I was lucky and we were able to BF while my little girl was in NICU but soon after she got out of the hospital I had a lot of medical issuesdue to her birth and ended up taking a lot of medications that some they knew would not affect her and some they knew would. I could not take the chance of hurting this precious little girl and I stopped breast feeding (first baby of three that latched on and did not have reflux). I pumped and dumped for three months but recently the dr told me to just stop because I could be on the meds for six more months. I am so sad my daughter is not getting breast milk but I just can not make myself take someone elses milk. If it was my sister or sister in laws I would consider it but I just can not seem to make myself take it from someone I do not know everything about.

  10. Mel says

    That was very kind of her to offer! I wish I could have given my daughter donated breast milk in the hospital instead of the formula they gave her. I’ve donated to 2 babies in the area since. I probably wouldn’t suggest it to someone I didn’t know, but I wouldn’t be rude to someone that offered!

    I find it very strange that some people are grossed out by milk from a different mama knowing they are healthy/ not taking medication and yet have no problem drinking and giving their children milk from many unknown cows fed who knows what, and given who knows how many antibiotics.

  11. The offer would likely have stunned me, on the spot, and then seemed very kind and generous after the fact. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve definitely never had anyone make such an offer or suggestion to me, though I’ve had plenty suggest I should just “give her some formula!” (<– and I'm not convinced that's any better of a comment, really.) When my older daughter was in the NICU, I was one of those women who over-produced (the nurses lovingly referred to me as a "cow"). My milk was used to feed my daughter and three other babies, too. I know those mothers were grateful for the milk for their preemies. But I do think that's a very different scenario…

  12. Jenny says

    I think that’s disgusting. You don’t know her or her daughter. I would have been mortified too.

  13. I don’t think it is disgusting at all but I wouldn’t have accepted it either. As others have said, this isn’t someone you know or someone that has been screened. It is still a personal thing. But I think that those who donate their milk are awesome and under certain circumstances I would take donated milk. I know that being an over producer can be hard, but sometimes I wish I were just so I could pump up enough to fill my freezer.

  14. Rose says

    I think I would have been horrified. I don’t like nursing in public either and managed to only once with my first. The rest were atleast in nursing areas. I always carried a bit of formula with me also just in case I was someplace it just wasn’t possible to nurse.

  15. Jan Messali says

    I think this offer was a bit strange because you weren’t in an emergency situation where you really needed it, but I’m sure she meant well.

    When my daughter was 6 weeks old and had never yet taken a bottle, I hemoraged due to a piece of placenta that had remained after delivery. I had to be rushed to the hospital and have surgery. I begged them to do surgery under local anesthesia so I could still nurse my daughter afterward. It was not a possibility. I had to be put under general anesthesia. This meant I wasn’t able to nurse my daughter for 2 days while the anesthesia worked it’s way out of my body, as I continued to pump.

    My daughter kept refusing bottles, even though it was my breast milk inside. I was worried but my best friend, who was watching her called me in the hospital and asked if she could just breastfeed her (she was still feeding her little one.)

    It was such a blessing. My daughter nursed and was happy. I was tremendously relieved. It’s one of the most giving things anyone has ever done for me.

  16. CoffeeJitters says

    Interesting. I know people have shared breastmilk in previous generations. People used to even hire wet-nurses throughout history. But in this day and age, I don’t think I would be involved in that because drinking infected breast milk is one of the few ways you can actually contract the HIV virus.

  17. Christine M says

    Yeah I think its pretty gross too. And then for her Mother to make that remark was just plain mean. I remember walking into nursery and my friend was nursing our other friends son to see if he had latch issues. I just remember thinking how weird. I too don’t like nursing in public esp when my son started pulling the cover to expose my huge boobies.

  18. amy v says

    Umm….I would’ve been TOTALLY weirded out! I mean, sure she was being nice but it just seems odd-since you guys aren’t close. I’ve heard of breast milk ‘banks’ but I would feel uneasy about it. Maybe if I knew more about it?! It’s comments like the lady and her mom said that are ridiculous…just trying to cover up their embarrassment! lol

  19. I would not have accepted, and I am very uncomfortable with the idea of feeding *anyone’s* breastmilk to my child other than mine, friend’s, bought, or otherwise.

  20. Courtney says

    I have a 11 month old son, who weighed 7 lb 10 oz when he was born, 2 months later he only weighed 81/2 he was classified as a failure to thrive. I had been breastfeeding, but his dr was worried so he had me pump and give it to him to make sure hI was making enough (i was at the time). But within a week of pumping exclusively per the drs orders, my supply dropped. I was pumping every 2 hours, and still not making enough. Thats when I turned to a donnor. I didnt know her, in fact we had met in a breastfeeding group at our hospital back when i was able to nurse. she donated alot of milk to us, and I had 2 other donors as well after her whom I had never met. I had acess to their records from the check ups at dr visits (when youre pregnant in sc it is mandatory you get screened for stds, aid/hiv and other things), but didnt know them. I understand most people dont know enough about it (its called milk sharing, and there are several sites for it including the one I used on facebook called “Eats on feets” in reference to meals on wheels), but its rude to say that its gross or weird. In other countries (and even here in the US) many moms who cannot breastfeed turn to family or friends to directly nurse their children. Most of us drink cows milk, how is this any different (except the fact that my son was the same species as the milk provider). I tried formula, but since he was sick and a failure to thrive and had acid reflux, he couldnt tolerate it, not even the soy, which caused him to be very constipated. He is now doing great! and we have switched to a gentler formula. In the future, before you make rude comments about something, try thinking of other people.

  21. I don’t know…I’d probably be mortified. I mean, I know you can donate it but really….it seems so personal to me!

  22. jessica pero says

    I have gotten some donor milk for Lucas from a friend of mine…a very GOOD friend of mine, whose diet is way better than even my own, she’s ridiculously healthy, her husband is a chiropractor and I look to them for guidance on health-related things…all that to say I TOTALLY trust her and wouldn’t get it from someone I don’t know without some serious questioning beforehand. Fact is, it beats formula hands down, and I want the best for my baby. It’s rare that I have to supplement, but there have been a few times when my supply has suffered and I needed to supplement. She offered, I accepted with gratitude. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’ does feel odd, but only because it’s not “the norm” in our culture.

  23. Vanessa Coker says

    I would if I had to, luckily I’ve been blessed with enough milk for my son. But I have no problem with sharing breast milk; sure I’d have to know the person well or it’d have to come from an accredited human milk bank… or I’d pay for drug/disease tests for a possible donor (yes I’d rather pay to have a possible donor tested than use formula – just my choice).

  24. s- says

    Hey, I pumped and fed it to my ‘niece’ after my cousin left her with me for 3 days without enough milk. I think it is ok when you are confident the health of the supplier is good

  25. My best friend REALLY wanted to take all the extra breast milk I had from exclusively pumping and saving. Her boyfriend was extremely repulsed by the idea, so it never happened and it all went to waste. Unfortunately, I didn’t bag and tag properly so I wasn’t confident giving it away/selling it. I think taking a strangers milk would be weird, and I feel like the mortification is really just surprise and shock at someone offering you something that wouldn’t normally be offered. If you knew the person well enough, why not? Still, if you have enough, there’s no need to worry.

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