Australian mothers are sharing and stocking up on donated breastmilk, as part of a global movement promoting human milk for human babies – but it’s prompted a warning that sharing unpasteurised breastmilk can pose health risks.
Facebook group Human Milk 4 Human Babies is being used to assist mums to connect with willing breastmilk donors in Victoria. Mums like Kim Pennell are even stocking up ahead of their babies’ births, to ensure they have a ready supply of breastmilk when their bub arrives. That includes screening potential donors, inlcuding blood tests.
“You go to the mum’s house, meet her, have a coffee and a good chat. They meet your baby, you meet their baby. If something doesn’t feel right, there’s no obligation to take the milk,” Kim tells the Herald Sun.
The group’s Facebook page states that its mission is, “to promote the nourishment of babies and children around the world with human milk”.
Kim explains that she’d had difficulty breastfeeding, and has concerns that formula caused one of her four children’s cows’ milk protein intolerance.
Breastmilk donor Natalie McGrath from Ballarat says she simply had too much milk for her youngest child, so decided to donate the excess.
“It’s mums helping mums. It’s a very supportive community out there,” she says.
However, a spokesperson for the Health and Human Services Department says mums should make themselves aware of the potential risks associated with these types of breastmilk donations.
“The milk can be affected by a range of factors,” Tim Vainoras explains, “including lifestyle habits, such as drinking alcohol and smoking, personal hygiene, as well as correct storage and transportation.”
Mercy Health has set up a breastmilk bank for sick and premmie babies, which provides pasteurised breastmilk to reduce the risk of infection.
(via Herald Sun)