Monday, December 6th, 2010
As previously reported in this post, casual milk sharing between mothers unable to produce enough breast milk and those willing to donate their extra supply has become an extremely popular practice—especially with the help of the Internet. Sites like Facebook, which hosts the popular milk sharing network Eats on Feets, have been instrumental in connecting mothers and facilitating the process. Today, the FDA meets to discuss the implications of this non-standard milk sharing.
Last week, they issued this warning announcing the “FDA recommends against feeding your baby breast milk acquired directly from individuals or through the Internet. When human milk is obtained directly from individuals or through the Internet, the donor is unlikely to have been adequately screened for infectious disease or contamination risk.”
The statement goes on to say the ”FDA recommends that if, after consultation with a healthcare provider, you decide to feed a baby with human milk from a source other than the baby’s mother, you should only use milk from a source that has screened its milk donors and taken other precautions to ensure the safety of its milk.”
The FDA will share the findings from todays’ meeting in a report later this week.
How do you feel about milk sharing? Would the FDA’s stance deter you from participating in the practice?
Monday, November 22nd, 2010
While milk sharing is an age-old practice dating back to the days of “wet nurses,” it’s recently been given a very modernized twist, thanks to social media. Specifically, a popular new Facebook network established just a few weeks ago by a group of determined breastfeeding mothers looking to take milk matters into their own hands.
It all started with Shell Walker, an Arizona mid-wife who realized her social media account could provide an incredible and immediate resource for matching mothers unable to produce enough breast milk to those willing to donate their extra supply. Currently, it’s extremely difficult for families to access breast milk from milk banks unless a child is premature or very ill, and on top of that, it can cost upwards of $100 per day. Walker’s Eats On Feets page provided a creative work-around to these roadblocks.
According to a recent article on Time.com, “In just a few weeks the network has grown to 98 local groups, spanning all 50 states in the U.S. and 22 countries. More than 70 matches have been reported so far, with milk coming not only in bags and jars, but also sometimes directly from the source.” While informal milk sharing is a highly debated topic given present day stigmas and concerns regarding HIV, the Time article does report that “the World Health Organization recommends ‘raw’ donor milk if a mother’s own supply won’t suffice.”
This is an interesting example of how social media can lift restraints and provide a choice. What do you think about the Eats On Feets program? Would you consider getting involved in something like this?