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The International Breast Milk Project in the News Again

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Orange County Register is running a story this week about the International Breast Milk Project.

From the article:

April Brown strives to make a difference — even as a stay-at-home nursing mom.

Brown, who breast feeds her one-year-old daughter Bailey Mae, opened the organization's California chapter.

"It doesn't cost anything (to start a chapter) and it's a great cause to help," she said.

Brown has a personal connection to the nonprofit. Her mom, Elena Medo — the CEO and founder of Prolacta Bioscience — partnered with the International Breast Milk Project through her company to fortify human breast milk, needed for preterm babies to grow.

Unfortunately, while the article does include information on the donation process, there is no mention of the fact that Prolacta and the IMBP ship just 25% of collected milk to Africa. (You may recall that the IMBP announced this policy after I questioned their practices here on the Lactivist this past May.)

I wrote a letter to the journalist who wrote the article and left my own comments on the OC Register site, but I will say that it disappoints me (though it doesn't surprise me) to see a news story failing to disclose the actual amount of milk being shipped to Africa.


  1. Blogger Jonathan & Kaethe | 9:11 AM |  

    What's with the introduction..."strives to make a difference, EVEN AS a stay-at-home mom"? (Emphasis mine) Regardless of the International Breast Milk Project, wouldn't she be making a difference by raising (and breastfeeding) her own child? Another attempt by the media to downplay parenting and ignite "mommy wars".

  2. Anonymous rachel | 1:25 PM |  

    I didn't read it like the other commenter. I felt it was saying that she's volunteering on top of her busy schedule being a SAH nursing mom.

    I understand your promotion of the HMBNA and why you prefer to encourage people to donate to HMBNA over the other milk banks. I was late discovering milk banking and when I contacted a HMBNA bank I received no response whereas I received a response from the national milk bank right away.
    I ended up not donating, but it would have been far better for me to donate and for 25% of the milk to go to Africa than for the old milk to go down my kitchen drain.

  3. Blogger The Lactivist | 2:40 PM |  

    Rachel, I completely agree! I have no problem with moms donating to Prolacta or the International Breast Milk Project if they choose to do so.

    Not everyone is close enough or otherwise able to donate to a HMBANA bank. Donating it SOMEWHERE is better than donating it nowhere, though there are also options like MilkShare.

    I simply want to make sure they are aware of how their milk is being used.

    Hope that makes sense?

  4. Blogger Lauredhel | 1:03 AM |  

    Multiple comments on that OC article have been removed, though none were offensive, obscene or libelous. I can't get a comment through at all - attempting to do so brings up an alert saying "Some of the information you have entered may be considered offensive. Please review your comment." I've removed the word "breast", and all disallowed punctuation (parentheses, percent sign), and I still can't get a comment through.

    "Read the BMP s own webpage to learn that 75 per cent of the milk donated to them is diverted and sold for profit by Prolacta, the CEO of which is the mother of April Brown. Read Prolacta s own information and information available elsewhere on the web to find that milk they obtain for one dollar an ounce is sold for something between forty and one hundred and eighty dollars an ounce to hospitals. Donors remain completely unpaid. Read Prolacta s own sign-up agreement and their press releases to find that their core business is pharmaceutical research and patenting, off the backs of the milk donated by mothers who donate for altruistic reasons.

    None of this information is against the tos of this site."

    I've pulled out a pile of other possible keywords and am still unable to get a comment through.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous | 6:01 AM |  

    I think there is alot of misunderstanding about what Prolacta does- they do not wish to replace HMBANA milk and its use- They simply make a different product- and the doctors are more willing to use it because of the extra testing and nutritional label.they do not sell milk to parents- They sell it to NICUs and hospitals for very immature babies. As a NICU nurse I can tell you that if these babies get fortifier made from cows milk
    ( which has been the norm) they often have bowel problems that include bleeding which leads to surgery) Prolacta makes Fortifier from human milk- NO one else in the world does this. HMBANA should welcome this product as it saves lives early so these babies can transition to just their mom's milk . All this negative talk will discourage mom's from donating- without this special fortifer- many babies will die or suffer life long problems with nutritional issues. Who can put a price on a life. Fortifier is used like a medication- we have no problem paying thoushnds for medication that we often don't even know will work - we KNOW this does!
    - Annie

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