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Is It OK to Give Your Child Breast Milk That Is Not Yours?

Would You Feed Your Child Breast Milk That's Not Yours?

Doctors always tell you that breast milk is best, but is someone else's breast milk just as good? My pal recently told me that she just gave a friend, who has a younger baby, all her frozen breast milk, since it was going to go bad before her son could consume it all. Known as liquid gold in some circles, breast milk is a valuable commodity to a nursing mama and could be even more valuable to a mother who is lacking in that department. Salma Hayek nursed a newborn that was not her own, and many mommies donate their frozen breast milk to a milk bank. In both cases, the milk benefits babies in need even if it is unusual.

What if your child was the one in need? Would you feed your babe someone else's breast milk?

Image Source: Getty
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miss-leanne miss-leanne 7 years
Only it if was a dire emergency, for the fact that you can never be sure about what these other women are putting into their bodies and can be passed on to your baby.
macneil macneil 7 years
"macneil: I had the same problem, except that even after trying to express for an hour I could only produce 40mls." That was 100mls a DAY for me, with up to 8 expressings. I have no idea why we couldn't produce milk, I was told pump more, pump more, but I was honestly never off the machine. I didn't bond with my baby because I was wired up to a contraption, then I was washing and sterilising the equipment, mixing up formula to top up, then it was time to go back on the machine. When women think failed breastfeeders didn't try hard enough, they really sometimes have no idea how hard it can be for some women. I feel guilty and sad all the time that neither of my babies got much breastmilk. I was in the same position as you that my baby lost tons of weight in the first couple of weeks, and they were born at just under 6 pounds and just under 5 pounds. With the second, I had been so determined to feed, feed, feed, get the supply up at the beginning, and she was just shrinking away and the doctor told me I had to supplement, and the breastfeeding counsellors told me it was the supplementing that ruined my supply. What do you do?
EvieJ EvieJ 7 years
Mme Hart: that is a such a moving story. Well done to your circle of friends for rallying around in such a thoughtful way. macneil: I had the same problem, except that even after trying to express for an hour I could only produce 40mls. My baby was admitted to hospital when she was 3 days old as she had already lost 12.5% of her bodyweight. I kept trying - under the breastfeeding expert's supervision - to feed and it just wouldn't work for me. My mom and her mother had the same problem. It is such a heartbreaking experience that so few women who can feed believe happens, in my experience. To answer the question: yes, I would have given my daughter another woman's milk had it been offered. I agree with the posters above that say it would have to have been from a source I was sure of, though. I don't know that I could give her a stranger's milk - what if she was a drinker or smoker or worse?
starbucks2 starbucks2 7 years
Mme, that story made me choke up. Luckily I am producing enough to feed my baby and never had to even think about formule so far. I don't know if I would have fed my baby someone else's milk. Why not though? If it's safe and maybe even from someone you know it's a great way of giving the baby the benefits of breastmilk. Reading about this I am thinking about wether there is a milk bank around here. I could easily sqeeze out enough for 1-2 extra feedings!
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 7 years
as long as i felt the source was very safe and, obviously, that the milk was within the appropriate time frame of use. i'd actually love that since i am not a fan of formula, but i also honestly don't really like breast-feeding! or especially weaning! but bottle-feeding must be a lot of work too
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 7 years
Perhaps if it was someone I trusted, but my opinion may change if I was unable to produce milk.
NurseKimberly NurseKimberly 7 years
kmckay kmckay 7 years
I would hope that if I couldn't produce breastmilk, I would have access to donations. Love your story mme! How touching! I understand that a lot can be passed through breast milk, but cow's milk is breast milk too. If you feel comfortable feeding your child another's mammal's milk I guess I just don't see what's wrong with another woman's milk. Just my opinion.
Studio16 Studio16 7 years
Two science teachers and one French teacher I had almost went to med school. All three were mothers of two. When the subject of shared breastmilk came up locally, all three protested. As much as people would like to tell themselves that it's safe, there is a lot that can be passed that people just don't think about. I don't have kids (yet) but I wouldn't give them anyone's breastmilk but my own. Even if I died, they would be getting formula. You just never know.
macneil macneil 7 years
I did. I couldn't breastfeed. Thank you to the amazing mothers who donated and gave my baby 4 days of the best start in the world. We had to switch to formula and a tiny amount of expressed milk after that - I never managed to produce more than 80-100mls a day despite expressing for over an hour at a time 8 times a day. Some women really do have low supplies. I was given donated EBM while we were in hospital, and I will always be so grateful. I always believed I would return to donate when my supply got going, but I didn't have even nearly enough for my own baby, so this never happened. It is an amazing thing when mothers do this - how can it not be better for babies than cow's milk?
jenni5 jenni5 7 years
Unless there were some extreme circumstances I wouldn't! A lot can be passed through breast milk.
snarkypants snarkypants 7 years
that is an amazing story mme hart! what an awesome group of ladies!
kia kia 7 years
Heck ya I would. There is a really good breast milk bank in the community I live in. It is collected, pooled, then distributed. There is a great screening process before you can donate too.
Mme-Hart Mme-Hart 7 years
I admit, I thought this was weird for a while (even though I breastfed my own child). However, a recent event in my life changed all this. A friend died in childbirth and her baby survived. Her husband has been given donations of breastmilk from our mother's group and it made me cry to think of how awesome this is for this baby. Her mother would have breastfed her, she did her other two children so this is an amazingly selfless act the mothers in my group who are still nursing are giving this baby. Amazing!
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