World Breastfeeding Week 2012!

So, World Breastfeeding Week begins tomorrow, August 1st. I’m hoping to continue sharing anything of interest here, throughout the week. Would love to hear from you if you have any info you think other families might find interesting- particularly as related to breastmilk sharing. I’m always curious to hear what others are coming across about this topic. It doesn’t seem to get talked about much, at least not in the public sphere.

Anyway, in case you’re wondering what all this brouhaha is about, read a broad overview of the history of this week here and see the Innocenti Declaration which prompted this whole week here. Can you believe it was written in 1990?

If there’s interest, we’d love to get together with you at the end of the week, or over the weekend… just to connect with other families that are donating or receiving breastmilk. Let us know in the comments below or via email. If we have something, we’ll announce it here as well as our other media channels. Ha!

 

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What the FDA & WHO have to say about breastfeeding and breastmilk sharing.

I often talk about FDA and WHO recomendations about breastmilk and breastmilk sharing and thought it might be helpful to share where you can see them for yourselves.

The FDA seems essentially supportive but way more concerned with informing you of the inherent risks and suggesting pasteurized donor milk might be best-

Consider the possible safety risks

If you are considering feeding a baby with human milk from a source other than the baby’s mother, you should know that there are possible health and safety risks for the baby.  Risks for the baby include exposure to infectious diseases, including HIV, to chemical contaminants, such as some illegal drugs, and to a limited number of prescription drugs that might be in the human milk, if the donor has not been adequately screened.  In addition, if human milk is not handled and stored properly, it could, like any type of milk, become contaminated and unsafe to drink.

Read the rest here.

Meanwhile, WHO is super clear about how they feel about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.

They’re a little less clear (on their website at least) on how they feel about breastmilk sharing but, according to this 2007 study on ‘formula vs donor breastmilk for premature or low birth weight infants’ it’s pretty clear that breastmilk is what babies are meant to eat. If they have no access to their mother’s breastmilk, the next best nourishment is donor breastmilk and if that is not available, then formula is acceptable nourishment.

I was surprised at the main results of the study:

Eight trials fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Only one trial used nutrient-fortified donor breast milk. Enteral feeding with formula milk compared with donor breast milk resulted in higher rates of growth in the short term. There was no evidence of an effect on long-term growth rates or neurodevelopmental outcomes. Meta-analysis of data from five trials demonstrated a statistically significantly higher incidence of necrotising enterocolitis in the formula fed group: typical relative risk 2.5 (95% confidence interval 1.2, 5.1); typical risk difference: 0.03 (95% confidence interval 0.01, 0.06; number needed to harm: 33 (95% confidence interval 17, 100).

Then I reminded myself that no evidence in this trial doesn’t mean there is no effect, and that the ‘statistically significantly higher incidence of necrotising enterocolitis in the formula fed group’ is sufficient data to support WHO’s recommendation of breastfeed from birth mother first, donor milk second and formula third.

And I still completely support each family’s choice about what they feed their baby and why. I want you to make an informed decision about what is best for you and yours. And I want to be sure that breastmilk, if you want it, is accessible to you.

Hope that helps. And as always, I invite you to share any pertinent links on this subject in the comments below.

Community breastmilk sharing

One of the best bonuses of creating a cooperative like this one has been the amazing families that we’ve met, both donors and recipients. Frankly, we think the recipients are brave for taking a stand for what their babies need, and the donors are incredibly generous. It’s remarkable that something as simple as helping another baby be fed can be construed as anything other than natural.

Thankfully, there is a growing community of folks around the world who are intent on reviving this age old solution to an age problem- proving donor breastmilk for a baby whose mother is unable or unavailable to provide it.

Our objective here is to connect families to facilitate milksharing. We want to provide you with as much information as possible so you can be empowered to make the best choice possible for your family. Whatever you choose, we respect it. Just wanted to put that out there.

Here are some other sites that do what we do, here and in other places around the country and world. We are not connected with them in any way and simply share this information after meeting mums who’ve used these sites to connect with other families to share breastmilk. And we want you to know what resources are out there for you.

So, check them out. See what resonates with you and go with that. As always we encourage you to do whatever research you need before accepting a breastmilk donation.

Eats on Feets

Human Milk for Human Babies

Modern Milksharing

Only the breast

Please donate breastmilk

If you’re uncomfortable donating breastmilk directly to a recipient, please consider donating to a milk bank like the Mothers’ Milk Bank in San Jose. According to their website, they have been-

a licensed tissue bank that has been providing milk banking services for over 30 years. Since 1974, over 4000 donors have provided over 1.5 million ounces to help babies survice and thrive.

They are a non-profit milk bank but do charge a $3 per ounce processing fee to recipients. (And herein lies our biggest issue with milk banks since $3 per ounce for a growing baby adds up quickly to become unaffordable for many families.) Most insurance companies will cover the cost of banked milk if it is deemed medically necessary- so definitely worth a discussion with your physician and your provider.

One consideration about milk banks is that they do screen and pasteurize the breastmilk donations. They have stringent donor screening, including blood tests, and therefore this may be preferable for an at-risk baby.

Either way, please consider donating breastmilk that your baby doesn’t need. Another baby would certainly be better off with it, whether you donate it directly to another baby or to a milk bank.

breastmilk sharing… on TV’s Pregnant in Heels

I have only ever seen clips of this show here and there. Love the sound of a pregnancy concierge, although I imagine I would quickly make my family bankrupt if I had access to such. And anyone, isn’t the non-pregnant person of the couple making this new life the pregnancy concierge by default? Just saying. 😀
Anyway! From the impressions I gleaned through the few clips I’ve seen, I was very surprised to see this clip where the concierge has been hired by a mum to find a wet nurse!

What do you think? Would you use a wet nurse? And would you hire a pregnancy concierge?

Cancer didn’t stop this mama from giving her baby breastmilk – It’s Cancer, Baby episode 4

I hadn’t heard of this mini-documentary webseries before coming across this piece on Cafe Mom‘s – The Stir.

Joanna is a new mom who is also battling cancer, and realises that she won’t be able to breastfeed for very long due to the drugs she has to take for chemotherapy. So she finds a donor who enables Joanna’s baby to continue receiving breastmilk for the first three months of her life. More in the video below.

 

Watching this made me so grateful to be a part of this amazing community where there’s a space for families to ask for or offer breastmilk donations. We’re doing a good thing here, people. Thanks for being in this with us.

Breast milk seems to kill HIV

Super excited to read this on newscientist.com:

Previous research had hinted that breast milk might have antiviral properties, but it was unclear if it would prevent HIV transmission. “We have shown that milk has an intrinsic innate ability to kill HIV,” says J. Victor Garcia, who supervised the work.

Read the whole article here.

 

Ever wondered what was in breastmilk?

I am always surprised to discover that there hasn’t been done all that much research into breastmilk, it’s components and the impact it has on health. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of information out there and I’m grateful for it. But there isn’t as much as I’d expect, particularly considering how vital it is for the health of both babies and their mothers.

Anyway, good news! I recently read an amazing piece on NativeMothering.com which goes into much detail about the known components of breastmilk and the roles of said components. Amazing read. I was particularly intrigued by the presence and function of non-nutritive elements which essentially support the newborn’s health and boost their immature immune systems.

Please click over there and have a read… we’d love to know what you think and please share links to any other fascinating pieces you’ve seen around the interwebs about the glory of what breastmilk is made of.

xoxo!

p.s. please follow us on facebook and/or twitter to hear about the most recent requests for or offers of breastmilk. Thanks!

Trying this again

Our old website is kaput. Simply put, we couldn’t afford to keep paying for all expenses associated with the cooperative on our own. And we clearly hadn’t put in enough time soliciting your donations. So that site is down and we’re starting again over here. This time we’re trying to go with totally free options and hoping that eventually folks will donate and we’ll be able to create something more custom at a later stage.

Hope that makes sense. Looking forward to hearing from you. Hoping our old host will let us migrate our data here.