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Online Breast Milk

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I read a controversial article on a new breastfeeding trend called MilkShare and thought I would find out more about it. MilkShare allows mothers to share their breast milk online; and it is now available on Facebook. I am all for breastfeeding and believe that babies who are breastfed are given a healthy start in life and that it forms a very important bond between mother and child. 

This new trend seems to have taken off in England and America. In a recent poll it was revealed that one in 50 mothers is already sharing their milk on free milk-sharing websites. The author of the article tells of  mothers who have been sharing their milk with other babies for a long time and that it dates back to Roman times when women, called wet nurses, were used to breast feed babies for new mothers who were not able to breastfeed them themselves.

The research also showed that half of Britain’s mothers are keen on the idea and wouldn’t mind sharing the extra milk with other parents. How would you go about sparing some for the mother next door then? Mothers who intend to share their milk have to advertise on Facebook or other community pages and post their location and contact details so that the other mothers can order from them. One thing that is good about MilkShare is that you could end up saving yourself a fortune, the milk is free of charge, so no need to pay for those expensive formulas.

The idea of MilkShare originated in the US and even the celebrities are milk-sharing nowadays. Alicia Silverstone is a Hollywood actress who owns her own MilkShare website called Kind Mama Milk Share and was specifically designed for vegan mothers who are in need of vegan breast milk. Silverstone being a vegan herself was noted to say: “There’s no reason why mothers shouldn’t be able to give their babies the most amazing start in life with clean, mean, glorious breast milk. And because we are a community of beautiful souls who recognize the importance of food as health, I say we help support those mamas and babies who need a hand during one of the most important times in their lives.”

Miss Silverstone also has a blog called The Kind Life where vegan mothers can voice their opinions. The milk from milk banks are screened and pasteurized, but casual breast milk share (like vegan milk-sharing) is not screened or pasteurised. The World Health Organization (WHO) support unpasteurised milk as long as it is disease free, but still considers the milk from milk banks healthier. With casual milk-sharing it is at the mothers own discretion if she wants the milk to be screened and tested before ordering it, because it is not required that donor mothers have the milk they are banking screened.

Even though the sites try their best to reserve the free breast milk for mothers of babies only, there are still groups of people who would try and get their hands on breast milk for other reasons. Therefore always see if you can get to know your customers better; it is easier to protect yourself if you know who lives in your community.

The poll showed that some mothers are in disagreement when it comes to MilkShare. A third said that it should only be given to families who are really in need of breast milk. The poll also revealed that one in 25 mothers in the survey said that they had actually breastfed a baby for a friend or a family member. 

A photo of a 27-year-old woman (a Pennsylvanian mother, Jessica Anne Colletti) feeding her friend’s child and her own child -simultaneously – went viral and made headlines a while ago. The two mothers called the two babies “milk brothers”. But despite the shocking photo the mothers were liked on Facebook over a thousand times by other supportive mothers. The mother said in an interview: “I think people have misinformation and fear. They think its gross bodily fluid that shouldn’t be shared or transferred in any way. And I can understand, if people are receiving donated breast milk, they want to have it tested, but if you know the mother directly and she’s healthy, and you know everything about her, it’s a perfectly healthy relationship to have.”

It seems that some mothers like the idea and others don’t. Dangers to look out for are infected breast milk. HIV, Hepatitis or any other transmittable diseases are present in breast milk. Then there is also the risk smoking and other types of medication carries. It is “your choice” and you have to be careful who you take milk from, but if it is someone you know and trust your baby should be fine.

The internet has really changed the way we approach our world and it has brought many weird and wonderful ideas to our lives, MilkShare being one of them.


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