Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Breastmilk Sharing

I have been thinking for a couple days on what to say about this story. I had an overproduction of breast milk and would have loved to donate it to a baby who needed it. I thought about using a milk bank, but there isn't one in town and it was kind of pain to send it out. I still have milk in the freezer I need to throw out. That being said, I don't know if I would accept donor milk for my baby from a random stranger I met on Facebook. I hope the FDA figures out a better way for women who overproduce to share their milk. It seems crazy to waste it when there are so many babies who need it.

FROM NBC: Even though the practice of feeding babies with another woman's breast milk has been around for centuries... the modern day "wet nurse" is a bit taboo. But breast milk sharing is slowly growing in popularity again -- thanks to a very new way of networking: Facebook. Elisabeth Singh was physically unable to nurse her daughter Sara, but was adamant her infant get what many experts say is the very best nutrition for babies: breast milk.

"The immunities were so important to me..." Using banks with privately donated breast milk was one option -- the donors there are screened for diseases and drug use, but it can be expensive and often reserved for very sick or premature babies.
Elisabeth turned to an organization called "Eats on Feets. It links moms with an overflowing supply of milk to mothers like Elisabeth via Facebook.

Elisabeth Singh - uses donated breast milk :"I actually like it on Facebook because then you can say, 'hey can I look at your profile?' I can kind of get an idea of what these people are like."
That's where she found her donor. "This main donor -- she actually over produces 24 ounces a day..." Elisabeth drove 5 hours to meet her donor mom and screened her with an interview and her own gut feeling. Elisabeth Singh - uses donated breast milk : "I put a little bit of faith in these people that they're not out to intentionally harm another mother's child." But that faith has some experts concerned.

Dr. Ellen Rome - Cleveland Clinic: "That's a little bit scary to me because what if that mom had been drinking the night before she pumped or had used any drugs."
HIV and other viruses can also be transmitted through breast milk. And many HIV positive women may not be aware they have the virus.

Dr. Ellen Rome - Cleveland Clinic: "There's good in the concept. We just need to fine tune the safety aspects." For moms like Elisabeth -- mother's milk is best -- even if it comes from another woman. At least one study found flash-heating breast milk can destroy HIV and bacteria, but some doctors say more research is needed. Experts with the Food and Drug Administration held a public meeting on the issue of sharing breast milk today (monday) and will release their findings at a later date. The FDA does not regulate breast milk banks or breast milk sharing.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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