Sharing and Buying Breast Milk

Breast is best, we hear it everywhere these days. The formula companies try to convince us that their concoction is just as good, but any doctor will tell you otherwise. As a breastfeeding mother who struggled with milk supply, latching issues, thrush, clogged ducts, etc, it killed me to throw away the supply of frozen milk I had saved up in the freezer.

The other day, while on an online parenting forum, which shall remain nameless, I read a very disturbing post. It was from a new mother, that was not able to breastfeed her own baby. She was posting on the forum asking for other neighborhood moms to donate their extra milk to her. Now, I remember how hormonal I was the first few weeks after my son was born, so I was not about to lecture her on the dangers of sharing breast milk. My heart really went out to her. Here was a mother that wanted the best for her child, and could not provide the best due to an illness.

I started doing a bit of research, to see what alternatives are out there for this new mom, that wouldn’t put her baby at risk for a disease such as AIDS or hepatitis. I came across the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. All their donors are pre-screened, and the milk is pasteurized. The down side to buying breast milk is the price. The average cost is $3 per ounce. Another safe option would be to have the person you want to give you breast milk screened by your doctor to make sure they are a safe donor.

Using unscreened milk from friends or from people over the internet is just too risky. Disease is not the only rick. Alcohol, illegal drugs and legal drugs can be passed through breast milk.