Statistical surveys indicate that processed cow’s milk is the main substitute for breast milk in Italy. However, what happens when breast milk is not sufficient to feed babies and the latter are allergic or intolerant to cow’s milk? One of the possible solutions is the use of donkey milk, an ancient practice recently reappeared in the Italian perinatal landscape. Based on the results of a research carried out in Italy in 2015, this article focuses on three main issues: firstly, from when and how certain Italian paediatricians began to include donkey milk among the products recommended to mothers for feeding children; secondly, for what reasons, despite its nutritive and therapeutic properties, donkey milk is still marginal in the paediatric and neonatal food market in Italy; thirdly, what are the meanings that parents attribute to the use of donkey milk.
Breast milk substitutes, donkey milk breeding, perinatal practices, Italy