Mums turn to Facebook for breast milk donations instead of formula


This article is from The Sun and has been republished with permission. By Hayley Richardson.

Would you feed your child with a stranger’s breast milk?

That’s what scores of mums from all over the world are doing – and they’re using Facebook to source donations.

Many mothers who are unable to feed their children naturally, whether it’s because they have difficulty breastfeeding or are perhaps going through chemotherapy treatment, would rather not give them artificial formula.

So thousands of them are now turning to social media to get hold of breast milk donated by strangers to feed their newborns.

Sharing milk is on the rise

The Human Milk 4 Human Babies community, started up in October 2010, has more than 74,500 followers of its global network and more within its smaller, area-based groups.

According to its Facebook page, its mission is “to promote the nourishment of babies and children around the world with human milk”.

It reads: “We are dedicated to fostering community between local families who have chosen to share breast milk.’

One of the women to use the service is Kim Pennell, a mum-of-four from Cranbourne in outer-southeast Melbourne, Australia.

She has a dedicated deep freezer stocked with donated milk for her four-week-old daughter Lucy, the Herald Sun reported.

12748072_10156632562390360_2040160595889067186_oSource: Human Milk 4 Human Babies Facebook

A community-building process

The newborn is surviving on milk sent over from some of the 1,450 members of a Facebook group based in Victoria, Australia – just one of the many Human Milk 4 Human Babies communities across the world.

Speaking about the process involved, Kim told the Herald Sun: “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.”

She admitted she has fed her little girl with milk offered up by six different women, but added it is possible to ask for a blood test to make sure the mum is healthy.

The pros and cons

One of those who donated her milk – Natalie McGrath from Ballarat, Australia – explained she decided to give it away as she was producing too much of it for her six-month-old son Thomas.

But a Department of Health and Human Services spokesman told Herald Sun that donating breast milk carries potential health risks.

They said milk is affected by lifestyle habits, storage and transportation and pointed out that viruses and bacteria can easily be transmitted from a donor.