Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

What To Do If An Infant Or Child Is Mistakenly Fed Another Woman's Expressed Breast Milk

If a child has been mistakenly fed another child's bottle of expressed breast milk, the possible exposure to HIV or other infectious diseases should be treated just as if an accidental exposure to other body fluids had occurred.

The provider should

  1. Inform the mother who expressed the breast milk of the bottle switch, and ask
    • When the breast milk was expressed and how it was handled prior to being delivered to the caretaker or facility
    • Whether she has ever had an HIV test and, if so, would she be willing to share the results with the parents of the child given the incorrect milk
    • If she does not know whether she has ever been tested for HIV, would she be willing to contact her physician and find out if she has been tested
    • If she has never been tested for HIV, would she be willing to have one and share the results with the parents of the other child
  2. Discuss the mistaken milk with the parents of the child who was given the wrong bottle
    • Inform them that their child was given another child's bottle of expressed breast milk
    • Inform them that the risk of transmission of HIV is very small
    • Encourage the parents to notify the child's physician of the exposure
    • Provide the family with information on when the milk was expressed and how the milk was handled prior to its being delivered to the caretaker so that the parents may inform their own physician
    • Inform the parents that their child should soon undergo a baseline test for HIV

The risk of HIV transmission from expressed breast milk consumed by another child is believed to be low because

  • In the United States, women who are HIV positive and aware of that fact are advised NOT to breastfeed their infants
  • Chemicals present in breast milk act, together with time and cold temperatures, to destroy the HIV present in expressed breast milk
  • Transmission of HIV from single breast milk exposure has never been documented

Top of Page

 
Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • Contact CDC-INFO
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO