Refer to this question regarding whether an adult is allowed to drink human breast milk.

While there is controversy about the health benefits of drinking breast milk, some doctors recommend it for cancer patients or those with digestive or nutritional problems. (See here.) Why would breast milk be considered pareve, while milk from kosher animals is considered dairy?

  • What's your default about what status milk has? It does come from basar, maybe it's a chiddush milk is dairy, and that chiddush doesn't apply by humans. Therefore the milk would have the same status as humans. Are humans parve?
    – robev
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 17:23
  • @robev Are you trying to confuse me more? LOL. It's an interesting question. But, based on sabbahillel's answer, it seems that non-kosher animals get no status of either meat or dairy. I understand that. If you ate human flesh, you could drink cow's milk immediately afterwards. (Sadly, there was at least one era when Jews ate human flesh.)
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 17:28
  • Deer milk is also Pareve (at least biblically). Are you wondering why the rabbinic rules extending the laws of meat and milk to other land animals don't also apply to humans?
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 17:49
  • @DoubleAA why are deer considered different? For 2nd question - yes, that's exactly it. Although, I think sabbahillel has answered that question, but, I'm not sure.
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 18:49
  • @DanF Deer is like chicken. Only בהמה domesticated animals are real meat/milk.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


The halacha of a human being is considered separate from the halachos of animals. Thus, animal milk from a kosher animal is dairy, while milk that is not kosher would not have the extra restrictions of dairy (since it is not kosher anyway). However, human beings are not considered in the laws of animal food. It appears that the definition of dairy is milk from a kosher animal, which does not apply to a human being. The main halachos of this are mesorah from

לא תבשל גדי בחלב אמו

Breast Milk: Just Like Honey From a Bee?

By way of explanation, one contemporary rabbi compares mother’s milk to honey—as a similarly exceptional case of kosher food derived from a non-kosher animal.

That is, bee honey is explicitly shown as kosher, since Yonasan ate it. Breast milk is explicitly shown as being given to Yitzchak, Moshe, and Shmuel which implicitly shows that is is kosher in that the Tanach references it as a normal food. This is the case even though the source is not a kosher animal. We also see that an infant should not nurse from a woman who has eaten non-kosher food if it can be avoided.

Shulchan Aruch YD 81:7

Thus, Is Breast Milk Pareve? points out that it is pareve, while not giving the specific reason. However, the cooking of meat in it is asur because of mar'is ayin.

It is forbidden to cook meat in breast milk (Shulchan Aruch YD 87:4). Your baby need not wait between eating meat and nursing.

While Rambam Ma'achalot Assurot - 3:2 says it is permitted, he does not go into the reason it is pareve.

Human milk is permitted to be eaten,3 although the meat of a human is forbidden to be eaten. We have already explained4 that it is forbidden by virtue of a positive commandment.5

3. I.e., even by an adult. Note, however, Halachah 4.

4. Chapter 2, Halachah 3.

5. Thus it does not contradict the general principle mentioned in the previous halachah.

Mother’s Milk and Kosher Laws

Additionally we don’t find (other than the story of Moses – which I’ll mention soon) that there is a prohibition to drink milk from a non-Jew. Milk is a separate entity in itself, which is permitted by the Torah when coming from a human female, whether Jewish or non-Jewish. It can be compared to honey which is not considered non-kosher, even though it’s coming from a non-Kosher insect, the bee.

However, on a more esoteric level, our Rabbis tell us that what a person eats affects his soul. We know that the quality of a mother’s milk is influenced by what she eats; therefore it follows that if she ingested non-Kosher food, traces of that would come into the milk. Therefore, although in terms of Jewish law there is nothing wrong with giving the baby donor-milk from a breast milk bank, if it would be convenient, and there would be a donor available who keeps Kosher who would be happy to pump some milk for the baby (e.g. a sister or close friend), this would be preferable.

  • It appears that the definition of dairy is milk from a kosher animal, which does not apply to a human being. It is not clear what your source for this is. The first link says nothing about it. Rambam says nothing about it. And your second link says nothing about it. In short nowhere here do I see an answer to the question.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 3:40
  • @mevaqesh The fact of not waiting between meat and breat milk implies that it is parve (not just kosher). The fact that Rambam explicitly says it is permitted means that it is kosher. Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 3:54
  • 1
    The questioned wasn't about kashrut, but about the status. Additionaly, the question wasnt binary; it was looking for the reason. Rambam says nothign about any of this.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 4:02
  • Breast milk is explicitly shown as being given to Yitzchak, Moshe, and Shmuel which implicitly shows that is is kosher in that the Tanach references it as a normal food Huh? Yitshak and Moshe were babies before the Torah was given. How does that implicitly show anything about the laws of kashrut? Even Samuel was a baby. It is false to claim that something once fed to a baby is presented as normal food in Tanakh. Does Tanakh state that babied may only eat food that is kosher? Remember, the question wasnt even if it is kosher. Giving a lot of mostly irrelevant info hurts rather than helps.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 4:05
  • @mevaqesh Yes, I said he does not. I included him for completeness and to show that it is kosher so that I could then go further and show it is pareve. The main reason was the connection to honey. Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 4:06

In regard to the reason breast milk is considered pareve.

Min Ha'Torah it is clear that other than milk or meat from Goats and the like(Domestic Animals)no milk or meat is subject to these laws.

The Chachomim added certain milks and meats to be subject to these laws Mi'Drabbanan.

Consumption of human milk is something done only for explicit reasons such as a baby who has got nothing else or the sick who is in need of this milk.Now,we find in Hilchos Yom Kippur Siman 718' that there are differing opinions whether or not a person who has got to eat on that day should make Kiddush. The reasoning of those that do not require Kiddush is since the Chachamim weren't mesakein a kiddush for those remote cases.

We find all over in Shas that by a milsa d'lo shechiaca the Chachamim did not put their rule as in Gemarah Gittin where the Gemarah says that in a case such as two people bringing a Get since it is a remote case the Chachamim did not place the Halach of Befony Nichtav(even though if they would keep things the way they are it would naturally be subject to it).

So too here Chachamim weren't mesakein a Halacha of Bossor Be'Cholov when it applies in seldom cases only.

  • 1
    Interesting idea. Is it your own? Incidentally the milk is completely permitted, not just for babies and sick people. It could be people don't usually drink it without reason, but that's just due to availability and culinary styles, not for any halakhic reason.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 22:27
  • To make this answer better, you might want to have a look at judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/a/1607/4940
    – magicker72
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 23:21

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