Post # 1
I recently saw an article about sharing breastmilk (http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20714006,00.html). Apparently Alicia Silverstone has set up a company to match mothers who can’t lactate with mothers (with good lifestyles, supposedly?) who can lactate (matched through a message board). I know this isn’t a new idea and some people actually get paid for their breastmilk (onlythebreast.com, etc). Serious diseases like HIV and bacteria can be passed through breastmilk if the milk isn’t stored properly, but the benefits of breastmilk are undeniable.
So, my question is: would you share breastmilk with a mom who can’t lactate? Would you ever give your baby breastmilk from another mother?
Post # 3
Donated breastmilk is listed as the #3 source to feed infants by WHO with first being nursing & 2nd being expressed breastmilk from the mother.
Breastmilk saved premie babies & other infants alike everyday & SHOULD BE shared by those who can produce enough for themselves & have extra… it’s a vital life source & nothing can even remotely compare to it.
Breastmilk has also been used for burn victims & chemo patients so donated breastmilk helps those who aren’t just infants as well!
I would never “buy” breastmilk from a random mom though, that to me damages the intergrity of the milk… a mom shouldn’t be trying to make a buck on helping others with something so imperative to have.
ETA: I would most definitely donate milk AND except milk that would’ve been suitable for my daughter (she had protein intolerances so it would have to be from a mother on a strict elimination diet)
Post # 4
Our breastmilk banks do screening on the moms before accepting donations. I would donate/use- whatever was appropriate.
Post # 6
I am not a mother but I am so pro-breast feeding, if it was not possible for me to do I would totally accept breast milk from someone else, BUT I would prefer/want it to be from someone I knew and vice versa, if I knew of someone who needed it, I would totally donate but I start to feel a little uncomfortable about it if it starts to become a ‘faceless’ kind of thing, and certainly where money is exchanging hands its a no no for me
Post # 7
The only way I’d want to have anything to do with babies being fed other women’s breast milk is if it was through a bank that screened it. It’s still a bodily fluid.
Post # 8
Milk banks (as far as I know) screen donors for communicable diseases. I’m not sure I would accept milk from a stranger, but since I can and do pump my own milk for my child, I guess I can’t really say what I would or wouldn’t do unless faced with that situation.
I actually offered some of my surplus milk to my cousin who exclusively nurses and had trouble building enough of a supply to leave with her daycare center when she went back to work. I told her she could have a few frozen portions of mine to leave with them as an emergency back-up.
I looked into a co-op I heard about, called Mother’s Milk, and they are a very ‘grass roots’ type of organization. Some women can receive money for their milk, others can donate it, and they have a tab for those who need milk. I am considering donating any excess to them if the situtation arises. I currently pump only, so my baby gets my milk but only in the bottle. I am able to freeze a bit of excess, but I want to have a comfortable supply in the freezer before I go giving it away to anyone.
Post # 9
I’m a long ways from this but since I’ve had a breast reduction and my breastfeeding capabilities are unknown, I would consider doing this. I would prefer if it was someone I knew was very healthy and follows the diet/lifestyle that I do.
Post # 10
I definitely agree that breastmilk has incredible benefits and should be given to the baby if at all possible. I was lucky to be able to bf my daughter and it was an incredible experience for both her and I. Thank you for your response!
Are you in the U.S.? In my research I’ve come across some milk banks that screen very thoroughly (blood tests, lifestyle tests, and DNA swabs) and some “breastmilk swaps” that don’t screen at all. I’m interested to see what regulations the FDA comes up with if these continue to gain in popularity!
I agree that it would be much easier knowing the mom that the breastmilk came from. I feel like if I got it from a bank I would be worried about so many outside factors. If I did need to get breastmilk, I think I would have to go with one with really stringent testing procedures.
I completely agree! A lot of diseases can be passed through breastmilk!
That was awesome of you to share with your cousin. I remember trying to stockpile before going back to school and it was so stressful. That milk became like gold trying to get every valuable drop out so there’d be enough for kiddo! I think the ones that don’t test may go under the name “swaps” now that I’m looking more into it. Those seem to be kind of a Craigslist of breastmilk. Sketchy!
Post # 11
This isn’t anything new. Back in the day mothers used to hire women who were lactating to feed their children, they were called Wet nurses. Now people pump & dump at milk banks.
If my child needed it, I’d go to a milk bank. I am not opposed to formula feeding, so it would come down to prices & availability for me.
Post # 12
I very (very) highly doubt I’ll ever be in a situation IRL to consider this, but hypothetically yes to both donating and accepting (assuming donors are screened).
I wonder where all the “no” voters are, there aren’t any “no” posts and I’m curious as to what that point of view is.
Post # 13
i didnt use others breastmilk, i breastfed for 10months until i finally gave LO regular milk.
But my best friend was breastfeeding and had to have surgery done she was on medication so couldnt bf and i had frozen milk that i gave her.
Post # 14
@newlynesting: This idea is well established in the healthcare world. Many children’s hospitals have excellent milk banks, including the one at which I completed my pediatric clinical rotation. I was at the largest children’s hospital in the world, so their milk bank was top notch. Donor milk is properly checked for diseases, etc. and stored as carefully as any other donor items like blood. Many neonatal ICU patients would not be able to receive the health benefits associated with breast milk without milk banks. Sometimes the mothers of these sick babies stop lactating quickly due to their ill baby being unable to feed often enough. The body stops producing milk due to infrequent feedings. Also, some women that have viruses like HIV or take certain medications are advised not to breast feed, because they could pass their illness or meds to their newborn through their breast milk. Milk banks allow their infants to receive the health benefits associated with being breast fed.
I would not personally recommend getting milk from a stranger met online, but rather from a reputable milk bank. It is very important that donated breast milk be properly tested and stored. Also, lactating women wishing to help other moms might do more good by donating to a reputable milk bank, rather than through online matching. Milk banks always need donors.
Post # 15
I picked the paid option but I would probably be fine with sharing breastmilk. I don’t have a good reason for it… I just don’t care. And like to get paid.