To explore the intersection of peer-to-peer milk sharing and donor milk banks.Methods
A descriptive survey design containing closed and open-ended questions was used to examine women's perceptions of peer-to-peer milk sharing and milk banking. Closed-ended questions were analyzed using descriptive statistics and conventional qualitative content analysis was used to analyze open-ended responses.Setting
Participants were recruited via the Facebook sites of two online milk-sharing networks (Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Eats on Feet).Participants
Ninety-eight milk donors and 41 milk recipients who had donated or received breast milk in an arrangement that was facilitated via the Internet.Results
One half of donor recipients could not donate to a milk bank because there were no banks local to them or they did not qualify as donors. Other respondents did not donate to a milk bank because they viewed the process as difficult, had philosophical objections to milk banking, or had a philosophical attraction to peer sharing. Most donor respondents felt it was important to know the circumstances of their milk recipients. No recipient respondents had obtained milk from a milk bank; it was recognized that they would not qualify for banked milk or that banked milk was cost prohibitive.Conclusion
Peer-to-peer milk donors and recipients may differ from milk bank donors and recipients in significant ways. Cooperation between milk banks and peer sharing networks could benefit both groups.