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Donor milk

Every day premmie babies are kept healthy by another mum's breastmilk.

donor milk

When a mother needs extra breastmilk for her baby, breastmilk from another mum is the next best option. This milk is called donor milk. 

In Australia, donor breastmilk may be offered to premature or very sick babies in hospitals that are connected with a milk bank. In other situations, parents may source donor milk informally, sometimes through milk-sharing groups on social media.

ABA is not involved with private human milk sharing.
We don't link donors and families and we don't take any responsibility for expressed breastmilk donated by our members. If an ABA member donates breastmilk, she does so as a breastfeeding mother not on behalf of ABA. 

When can donor milk help?

Donor milk is offered to premature and very sick babies in hospitals that have a milk bank, if the mother is unable to produce enough of her own breastmilk.

Other situations where parents may choose to source donor milk are: 

  • insufficient milk for a baby of any age 

  • baby born by surrogate, adopted or fostered  

  • a non-birthing parent wanting to feed their baby breastmilk.

Is donor milk safe?

In Australia, breastmilk donated to milk banks is tested and pasteurised to ensure it is free of anything that could harm a baby, eg a virus. Donors are screened to make sure they don’t have any medical conditions or lifestyle factors that could affect their milk.  

If you are sourcing donor milk privately, there are potential risks. The donor milk won't be screened, processed or pasteurised. You need to be well informed of these risks and how to minimise them, and to make decisions based on your individual circumstances. 

Can I donate breastmilk?

Yes, depending on your location, the age of your baby and your health situation. If you are breastfeeding or expressing for your own baby, it’s important that your milk supply is well established. To donate milk, you will need to express, freeze and transport your milk according to the requirements of the milk bank accepting your donation. 

Milk banks operate in several states and have screening and donating procedures that you will have to follow.

Private milk sharing

ABA does not directly facilitate private milk sharing. However, we offer links to the following organisations as a service to the community and to assist parents in making an informed decision.   

Eats on Feets 
Human Milk 4 Human Babies  

ABA does not endorse the information available from these websites nor the practices of the organisations. 

ABA supports your decisions  

ABA is committed to supporting you to breastfeed your baby, and to provide information to enable this. With the right information and support, almost all mums can produce enough breastmilk for their babies.  

In rare cases where breastfeeding is not possible or you do not have enough breastmilk, we support you to make informed choices about other options available. 


© Australian Breastfeeding Association May 2022