Although it does not sound savory to some people, milk sharing is a growing practice. Whether milk sharing brings about benefits or poses risks depends on who is the sharer and how they share that milk.

Milk banking has been practiced for more than one hundred years. People donate milk to save at-risk babies who are in need of immunity-boosting components presenting in breast milk. If facts, those components can be lifesaving. Milk from milk banks is confirmed safe and gets praises from experts since donors are only qualified if they practice a healthy lifestyle free from smoking and drinking, as well as pass a strict screening process which makes sure they are free from diseases.

Other ways to share milk

The first way is to exchange breast milk. In addition, some moms do the cross-nursing. A nursing mom splits the breastfeeding duty with another nursing mom. They both report enjoying the experience which brings about the flexibility and the four-way bonding as well. Other moms get so interested that they even hire a wet nurse. A wet nurse is a woman who is paid to breastfeed someone’s child. Although this milk sharing is controversial, a lot of moms seem to love the idea. A survey on momconnection.com reveals that 40% of moms gave positive or neutral reactions to when they were asked about milk sharing.

However, the medical community does not share the same idea. In fact, they give warnings against it. Ari Brown, M.D and spokesperson of the American Academy of Pediatric says that experts encourage breastfeeding but if a mother fails to nurse her baby, she should go for breast milk from the milk bank or opt for formula ones. Informal breast milk sharing is not safe for the baby since no one can guarantee about the milk’s quality. Infections like HIV may exist and transmit to the baby. He takes the example of blood transfusion, saying milk is similar to blood and poses a question if any mom is willing to let her baby receive blood with no tests.

Reasons behind informal milk sharing

So, why do women still give their babies that unsafe informally shared milk? The answer is that they believe breast milk is the best. Three-quarters of moms leave the hospital to nurse their babies. Another reason is that to buy milk from the milk bank, parents need a doctor’s prescription which means only babies with medical conditions can have the milk. Moms with low milk production and adoptive families have no way to give their babies the milk they need. Moreover, milk from the bank is not cheap. Approximately, 30ml of breast milk from a milk bank costs 22 MYR. It may be just partially covered in the insurance plan.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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