Doctor warns of risks associated with sharing breast milk

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The nation is grappling with a baby formula shortage that’s forced some mothers to turn to breast milk.

But, dangers come with the selfless act. 

Not all women are created equally, and neither is their breast milk. Doctors are raising concerns about the safety of sharing breast milk. In certain circumstances, this generous gesture can do more harm than good. 

News 8 spoke with Dr. Cameual Wright, vice president and chief medical officer at CareSource, who explains why the desperation for breast milk may pose serious risks. 

“We know there are certain conditions or infectious diseases that can be transmitted in breast milk,” she said. “There are also medications that a woman can be taking that can be transmitted through breast milk that are unsafe for babies, and we don’t want to inadvertently expose babies to things that could be harmful.”

Wright recommends any woman who plans on donating milk to contact the Indiana Milk Bank. It, she says, can process the milk and check it for possible harmful elements.  

She goes on to say women should avoid getting milk from friends, neighbors or even family members unless it has gone through a rigorous process of screening. Circumventing the process could be detrimental to the baby.