“Clueless” Star Promotes Milk Sharing
Two weeks ago, Alicia Silverstone, star of the movie “Clueless”, started a milk share on her blog The Kind Life, inviting mums to share or ask for donated breast milk for their babies, also providing a platform for mothers to ask specific questions about the donor mothers diet and lifestyle choices, specifically vegan or organic diets.
Sites such as Eats On Feets also provide mothers a way of connecting with other mothers to share milk, they have “chapters” in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia on their Facebook page.
I do have concerns about the health and safety implications of sharing milk online with strangers. Firstly when communicating with anyone online there is always a risk, however slight, that they may not be who they are claiming to be – if you’re meeting someone from online it’s a good idea to do so in a public place during the day. Also the possibility of communicable diseases, milk contamination from poor handling and hygiene practices, the potential for drugs (including prescription medication) or alcohol to be present in donated breast milk.
That aside, if a donor can be blood tested, screened and a relationship built between parents so that the recipients can trust that the donor mother is providing their baby with safe, clean, fresh, human milk, then that to me makes a lot of sense if it’s something that all parties involved are happy with.
The World Health Organisation suggests in “Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding”
“For those few health situations where infants cannot, or should not, be breastfed, the choice of the best alternative – expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother, breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breast-milk substitute fed with a cup, which is a safer method than a feeding bottle and teat – depends on individual circumstances.”
Though they’ve said “wet nurse” (as in, another mother directly feeding the baby) or a milk bank, which isn’t necessarily the same as sharing expressed breast milk.
You may be able to access human breast milk through a “Mother’s Milk Bank” as an alternative to direct milk sharing.
Either way, it’s a wonderful thing to see so many mothers prepared to help and support other mothers and offering to provide breast milk for their babies.
Have you donated milk or have you used donor milk? If so – how did you go about it?