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Friday, January 27, 2006Yesterday I wrote about the CNN article that talked about mother's sharing, selling or buying breast milk via the Internet. Today, I found a clip of the news story that ran on Paul Zahn with more information about the milk sharing movement.
The interesting thing was that they portrayed it in a very positive light. While they did include a statement from a Dr. in the AAP who stated that sharing breast milk could be dangerous due to issues of HIV transmission and such, the overall tone of the story was that women were banding together via the Internet to create extended families and to provide breast milk for babies. It was strange because the whole time I was watching it, it was making me uncomfortable (mostly because of the idea of strangers) but also sort of brought a tear to my eye.
Partly because it was so heart-warming to see women working together to provide breast milk for a baby, but also because it made me sad to see just how badly some women wanted their babies to have breast milk. Part of it made me say "well you know, formula was made for a reason" but then the other part says that I totally understand how they feel. After all, it was tough work to pump for a full year, but I toughed it out because it meant that much to me.
One of the women featured had had a double masectomy due to breast cancer a year before her son was born. She desperately wanted to be able to give him breast milk, so she set up a web site to collect donations of both breast milk and money. The money goes to pay for things like shipping and handling of the donated milk along with a pasteurizer that they purchased for their home use. I hadn't run across this site before, but it's an interesting one to consider in this whole debate on shared milk.
If you were in this mother's position, would you have formula fed, or would you have done whatever you could to get breast milk? This mother started off buying the milk from a local milk bank, but now that she has a pasteurizer, she's been able to process much of the privately donated milk herself.
If you've got a ready supply of donors, the cost of a pasteurizer and paying for their blood tests probably costs less than formula would...
I continue to be perplexed by this issue. Donating my milk? No problem! But taking donated milk from strangers? I just don't know... I understand it, I'm just not sure I could do it.