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March 2nd, 2011
08:13 AM ET

Is sharing breast milk a good idea?

Mothers are taking to the internet to share breast milk. Those who have a surplus are connecting with women who can't breast-feed on sites like "Eats on Feets" and "Only the Breast". But, the government is saying sharing breast milk in this fashion might not be such a great idea.

Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter is a Professor of Pediatrics at Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey and discusses the trend with American Morning's Kiran Chetry.

(Earlier, this post said breast milk was for purchase on the websites mentioned above. In actuality, Eats on Feets "facilitates woman-to-woman milk sharing", according to their Facebook page. Only the Breast is a "breast milk classified service" that provides a community for moms to buy and sell their breast milk, according to their website)

Filed under: Health • Parenting
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. AlexandraMomof2

    Over and over again we are seeing newscasts interviewing doctors and milk banks, with out interviewing the moms donating or selling the milk on line. To have a fair piece they should interview a mom that has purchased their breast milk online. Ask her why she made that choice. The obvious result of a more balanced news piece would be a much brighter perspective towards these breast milk communities. They are supporting those moms needing another option other than the expensive milk banks and their goals are the same, to help needy babies get breast milk...

    I'm quite happy that eastonfeets and onlythebreast have stood up for moms and babies and we should and stand up for them. Who knows how many premature babies lives have been saved or improved just because moms are able to get affordable breast milk found on these online communities.

    March 3, 2011 at 3:07 am |
  2. DONATING Mama

    In addition – I am a donating mama. If I had serious issues, there is no way I would donate my milk, and I'm willing to undergo screening for mommies who want it. The fact is, I feed my OWN child with the milk I also donate, so why would I willingly give her contaminated milk?

    Milk banks "prioritize" who should get breast milk in their opinion. Healthy, full-term babies who would ALSO benefit from BM are told "too bad" by those banks, who also happen to take milk from donors, for free, and then turn around and SELL that same milk to recipients. Why aren't we condemning them for that behavior? Instead people are busy condemning women for DONATING their milk. For shame.

    March 2, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  3. LeslieW

    A few more points I need to address:

    1) What is so wrong with getting to know someone from online (many people find spouses you have issues with that?), getting to know them, seeing that the baby they're feeding with the breastmilk you're pumping and giving to them is healthy, and accepting said milk for FREE? The moms themselves don't pasteurize their own breastmilk and they are free to screen the moms as thoroughly as they'd like, even as far as asking for blood testing to make sure the donor mom is free of diseases.

    2) For the record, I AM a screened donor for my local milk bank, BUT....once Eats On Feets went global in 2010, I couldn't in good conscience continue to donate my milk to a bank where they are charging an arm and a leg for the milk that I DONATE! Instead, I chose (informed choice is a beautiful thing, by the way) to donate my milk, free of charge, to local moms who had full-term babies and weren't eligible for milk bank milk. They are left high and dry without any other options besides formula if they have problems producing milk on their own.

    So, please, Dr. Feldman-Winter, don't sit there and say that these donors aren't screened (some in fact are) and that milk is no good because it's not screened or pasteurized. Anyone who has done their research also knows that pasteurizing human milk not only kills bacteria and some viruses, but it also kills off some of the great antibodies in the milk that make it so good for babies!!!

    March 2, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  4. LeslieW

    WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!! Eats on Feets should NEVER be associated with the words 'bought' or 'sold', because that DOES NOT happen on that network. Have you even checked out an Eats On Feets page? I will direct you to the FAQ tab of your local chapter which should read clearly....

    "Eats On Feets GLOBAL is a network of online regional chapters facilitating access to human milk for human babies and children. The chapters provide a commerce-free space where women can share their milk in a safe, ethical manner and where families can make informed choices. "

    Please do your research more carefully and practice responsible journalism. I am VERY disappointed to see this from CNN.

    March 2, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  5. Renee

    Please do some fact checking before you post lies. Eats on Frets is expressly against selling of breastmilk. The organization is for the sole purpose of connecting nursing donor mothers with recipients. It does not partake in the actual donation and yes they are donations. Eats on Feets prohibits the sale of breastmilk.

    March 2, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  6. Amanda

    While "Only the Breast" may very well charge for breastmilk, Eats on Feets does NOT. Eats on Feets Global is merely a meeting place to put in touch families that need milk with families that have milk. Eats on Feets is a "commerce-free space" and does not condone the selling/buying of breastmilk.

    March 2, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  7. Erin

    SELLING? No! Donating – YES!

    I can't breastfeed my son. I applied to milk banks. My son is healthy, and we simply did not qualify. I have been blessed to receive donated breast milk through women I met online. They had blood tests and screenings done, and I pasteurized the milk. I know them *personally*, have met them, have held their babies. The milk is safe, safer than the BUGS I fed my son in his SIMILAC.

    I have never paid a penny for milk. My son's donors are magnificent, wonderful women who have literally given of themselves to help us.

    This article needs a SERIOUS redo!!!

    March 2, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  8. Monique

    There is absolutely NO selling of breastmilk on Eats on Feets. It is given, free of charge, to the families who need it, directly by the donating mothers. Eats on Feets does NOT ALLOW the commercialization (selling) of breastmilk. You should do more fact-checking before putting together a story like this.

    March 2, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  9. Katie H

    Eats On Feets does NOT facilitate the sale of breastmilk. This is INCORRECT information. EOF only facilitates the DONATION of breastmilk.

    March 2, 2011 at 8:58 am |
  10. DONATING Mama

    Only problem with this is that EoF does not have women who SELL breast milk, they DONATE. Shoddy, lazy reporting run amok!!!

    March 2, 2011 at 8:53 am |