Trending Topics pieces (Article Analyses, Evidence Clips and Other Topics) are published in timely response to recent media and journal articles, position statements, clinical guidelines, etc. Since they are based on the most recent evidence/publications, they may not be consistent with PEN evidence in other PEN content areas. As soon as possible, when this occurs, the PEN content will be reviewed and updated as needed.
A Resource for Health Care Professionals on the Practice of Sharing Human Milk
Perinatal Services BC has published a resource that provides health care professionals with information and the tools to facilitate a discussion and make decisions regarding the informal sharing of unpasteurized donor human milk (UDHM). Informal sharing involves the sharing of UDHM between friends, family members or online social networks, or the purchase of UDHM outside of the regulated milk banks. The practice of sharing UDHM is increasing and the resource, Informal (Peer-to-Peer) Milk Sharing:The Use of Unpasteurized Donor Human Milk, provides practice information on the risks and benefits of supplemental options (mother’s own milk, pasteurized donor human milk from regulated milk banks, commercial infant formula), how to minimize the risks of informal milk sharing, ethical and legal considerations, and other decision support tools.
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life to achieve optimal development, growth and health (1). There are many benefits of breastfeeding; however, the BC resource may overstate the benefits as the cited health outcomes research are based on observational studies that are limited by the inadequate control of confounding factors. For information on the health outcomes for breastfed infants see the Infant Nutrition - Breastfeeding Knowledge Pathway. Also not mentioned in the BC resource - Appendix 5: Family Information Handout, is the high cost of pasteurized donor human milk. For additional information on this topic see PEN Evidence Clip: The Dangers of Sharing Unpasteurized Milk.
1. World Health Organization and UNICEF. Global strategy for infant and young child. 2003. Available from: http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/infantfeeding/9241562218/en/
Evidence Clip: The Dangers of Sharing Unpasteurized Human Milk
Article Analysis: "Breastfeeding and Childhood Asthma - Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis"