(Closed) Breast feeding babies that aren’t yours.

posted 10 years ago in Babies
Post # 17
7081 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2009

The worry is not for the baby transmitting anything to YOU , but rather you transmitting a disease to the CHILD.  HIV and Hepatitis B are transmitted through breastmilk as are many many drugs that someone might be taking.  I don’t know of a single documented case of a child transmitting a disease by breastfeeding (and I did a lit search before writing this statement).


This is a controversial topic.  I have less problem with it in the developing world where it is a matter of survival, but when I was working in rural Idaho, some people opted to use donated milk for their NICU babies, and I had ethical problems with that.  Until I could be assured that the milk was screened as thoroughly as blood bank blood, I wouldn’t allow my patients to use it.  It may be pasteurized, but how do I know what meds the donor is on?  What if they don’t report their medical history accurately?

Please note that this is not medical advice, and I would advise anyone thinking about doing something like this to talk to their medical professional.

Post # 18
115 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I was going to say, Medically Speaking you need to be cautious as you will have anti-bodies that the child may not have yet and you could potentially expose them to diseases/anti-bodies that they are not yet immune to.  Could be dangerous if you ask me.

There are breastmilk “banks” where women can donate their unused milk, however I believe these banks sterilize or pasteurize the milk before giving it out.

Post # 19
2206 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I have no informed opinion on this. But it totally made me think of that scene at the end of the Grapes of Wrath. If you remember high school English, you’ll know what I’m talking about. A baby is one thing, but maybe that literary situation is a bridge too far?

Post # 20
2867 posts
Sugar bee

There are people who donate their breastmilk to women who aren’t producing enough or can’t breastfeed.  There are banks, and even some women do it with friends…although I’m not sure I would unless I knew they were healthy as Mrs. DG indicated that mothers can transmit diseases.

Post # 21
371 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I donate my milk now, my daughter is with me 24/7 so I didn’t really need to pump but I had it in the freezer from when she was first born “emergency stash”. I wouldn’t go out looking to feed other babies lol but if someone I knew had a baby and passed away I wouldn’t mind doing it. My fiance calls me the “Food Truck” lol it use to piss me off at first but whatever..it is what it is lol 

Post # 22
2622 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

I wouldn’t just go up and spread the boobie to every kiddo out there because they were hungry….but, if a child was literally starving and it’s life depended on it and I was the only one who could help out, I don’t think turning down the child would be the right thing to do, even if it would be really weird.

Post # 23
3124 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

DITTO JsDragonfly. It would have to be a real situation – the only option.

Post # 24
5822 posts
Bee Keeper

Knowing that I am a healthy person taking no meds and with zero diseases, I would totally do that.  My husband is COMPLETELY grossed out by the idea.  I told him about Milk Donation Centers and he was like BARF.  I don’t get it!  Babies are helpless and they need food.  If they CANNOT get food, wouldn’t you do it?  (Of course I’m all emotional right now, so that may color my decision…I cried last night while BFing because I was looking at my daughter and wondering “How can people hurt babies??  How do they live with that??  I can’t even let her cry for five minues!!”  Yeah, I’m a sap right now…)  So to make a long answer short: yep, I’d feed a starving child.

Post # 25
1479 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I don’t know, I don’t think it’s really all that wrong when it comes to a situation where you’re helping a child in an impoverished country with no other means of survival.  I read an interview with Salma Hayek recently (Glamour magazine maybe?) where she said she did it without thinking it was that big of a deal, she just thought that the child was hungry and she had the means to help it. 

However, I don’t know if it’s something I would make a practice of.  As Mrs.DG said, there’s a lot of things that can be passed through breastmilk that aren’t so wonderful.

Post # 26
878 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Breast feeding was a hard enough experience for me without having to deal with the idea of feeding someone elses child.  I pumped three times a day to try and get myself to produce more milk and it would take me over an hour to get 20 mls.  My daughter was put onto formula at about 3 months because I just couldnt give her enough.  I mixed fed for about 2 months after that before I gave up breast feeding all together.

There are all different reasons that babies are introduced to forumla.  I think that for me personally, I would introduce formula if stress stopped me from being able to feed.

For me the idea of someone else feeding my child or me feeding someone elses is to “the hand that rocks the cradle” for me.  But then, everyone is different.

Post # 27
256 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

I honestly don’t know how I would feel about it, and I suspect that whether I would or not will change once I have a child. Right now it is difficult to imagine how i would feel, and like Mighty I am super emotional anyway, so I suspect I wouldn’t be able to turn down a child if that was the situation.  But right now I am trying to imagine even feeding my child and hoping all goes well!

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