I have made my voice clear about my feelings toward milk sharing. Not only by voicing my opinion through Facebook and commenting on blogs/articles, but by being a donor milk recipient. Every human baby deserves human milk. Say it with me. EVERY HUMAN BABY DESERVES HUMAN MILK.
I look at it like this:
- A Mama who chooses to donate her time and her precious milk to a baby is not likely to give you contaminated milk. It takes special woman to donate milk. Most of these women were also recently pregnant, and are usually breastfeeding their own little ones. A lot of them have undergone testing and are willing to show recipients a clean bill of health. You can also pay to have a donor tested for disease, if no recent testing has been done.
- Donors have always been, in my experience, very open and honest. Women do not just go around donating contaminated milk to make babies sick. If I ever came across a Mama who wasn’t open or I felt like I couldn’t trust her or even if she just gave me a weird vibe, her milk would not be consumed by my baby.
- It’s less risky, in my opinion, to feed a baby donor milk than to feed a baby highly processed formula. Non-soy formula is made up of cow’s milk (which we are all told a child is not supposed to have until the age of 1) which is full of hormones and antibiotics, chemicals and sweeteners and the cheapest synthetic vitamins available. The formula has been made in an only slightly regulated factory, and exposed to multiple machines and workers. The following is an excerpt from the Baby Center website, reviewed by their medical board regarding babies and milk consumption:
“There are several reasons to delay the introduction of cow’s milk until your baby reaches his first birthday. Most important, a baby’s digestive system can’t digest cow’s milk proteins. Cow’s milk also has too much sodium, potassium, and chloride, which can tax your baby’s kidneys.
Even if his system could handle it, cow’s milk doesn’t have all the vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin E, zinc, and iron) that he needs for growth and development in his first year. Giving a baby cow’s milk could even cause iron deficiency and internal bleeding. And it can increase his risk of an allergic reaction.” 1
- Soy formula has most of the same risks and negatives except instead of cow’s milk, the base for the formula is one of the most genetically modified foods available. Soy crops are somewhere around 91% GMO in the US and growing. 2 To read about the dangers associated with GMO foods, and how the only true testing being done is on the people who are consuming these foods, click here and here.
- You know who is making your baby’s breast milk. You have the option to meet your donor face to face, look her in the eyes and ask her as many questions as you would like. Then, you get to decide if you want her milk for your baby.
Breast milk is treated by society like it’s contaminated. We pasteurize cows milk to shield humans from ‘dirty cows’ so we should pasteurize human milk to shield our human babies from ‘dirty mamas’, right? Well, lets think about that- what happens when you heat liquid to a high temp? You kill bacteria, viruses… but most importantly, you kill nutrients. 3
I’ve come across the question “So what about milk banks? Aren’t those safer?” My answer is this: I hardly see a point in feeding your baby milk that has been stripped of its nutritional value. There aren’t many milk banks available and if you can find a milk bank, their milk is usually reserved for the sickest/premature babies. Even if your baby did qualify for milk, get ready to pay out the wazoo- the cost is around $3 an ounce. So for a 10 lb. baby, that’s somewhere near $100 a day, which is more than a good amount of people make at a full time job.
I believe the benefits of milk sharing outweigh the risks and I feel like a lot of the risks can be handled in such a way that really make them no risk at all. I also believe that every Parent has a right to choose what they feel is best for their baby and that may include formula. How do you feel?
1. Baby Center Medical Advisory Board. “Cow’s Milk: When and how to Introduce it.” BabyCenter. November 2005. Web. 1 Dec. 2010. <http://www.babycenter.com/0_cows-milk-when-and-how-to-introduce-it_1334703.bc>
2. Dr. Gregory Damato, Ph.D. “GM-Soy: Destroy the Earth and Humans for Profit.” NaturalNews. 27 May 2009. Web. 1 Dec. 2010. <http://www.naturalnews.com/026334_soy_Roundup_GMO.html>
3. Robert Irons, PhD. “Pasteurization Does Harm Real Milk.” RealMilk. Web. 1 Dec. 2010. <http://www.realmilk.com/pasteurization-harms-milk.html>