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Is pasteurized human milk safe for babies?

Although it's possible that donated human milk could transmit a harmful substance, there has never been a known case of infection caused by milk from a certified human milk bank. Banks safeguard the milk's safety through the measures described below.
  • Donors are carefully screened. Screening ensures that a woman who donates her milk to the milk bank is healthy, takes no regular medications, and has more than enough milk to meet her own baby's needs. She must be a nonsmoker with no history of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or other risky behavior. Her blood must test negative for certain infectious diseases. Once a woman is accepted as a donor, she must follow detailed instructions for safe handling of the milk she collects.
As you can see, it takes a strong commitment to be a human milk donor. Donors aren't paid and are motivated only by a desire to help babies like yours.
  • Donated milk is pasteurized and tested. Pasteurizing is a heating process that kills any harmful bacteria or viruses that may be in the milk. This process preserves most of the milk's nutrients, immune properties, and other healthy components. After pasteurization, the milk bank also tests the donated milk to further ensure that it's safe to feed a baby.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.