Breast Milk Sharing Becoming Popular Choice For Moms

CHICAGO (CBS) — Many women are bypassing traditional breast milk banks for a cheaper, easier alternative: breast milk sharing.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez explains that it’s a potentially risky option for your baby unless you know the right questions to ask.

Laura Barna has a stockpile of breast milk, pumped, bagged and ready to go inside her freezer, but it’s not even for her baby.

Instead she’ll load it into a cooler for another mom, Kallie Mashare.

“The benefits of breast-feeding are just phenomenal compared to regular formula, and I didn’t want to pass it up,” Mashare said.

The working mom breastfeeds her 9-month old daughter, Briley, every chance she gets. But pumping at the office just didn’t work out, so she turned to the Internet and a Facebook group called “Eats on Feets.”

“I wanted milk no matter what. I think I would have bought it if that was my only option,” Mashare said.

Breast milk for sale isn’t hard to find. Many women sell breast milk online and you’ll find several Chicago-area women all willing to sell their excess breast milk for $1 to $3 per ounce.

But Barna was giving hers away. What does she get out of it?

“Not a whole lot, just the benefits of knowing Briley’s able to get breast milk,” Barna said.

Barna and Mashare became fast friends, as did their daughters Lily and Briley.

Barna said her husband was shocked when he told her she was going to donate breast milk.

Mashare’s family was especially concerned about her taking breast milk from a stranger.

She acknowledged she was concerned about the dangers of her baby catching a disease.

In fact, the Illinois Department of Public Health has a warning that viruses, drugs and bacteria can be transmitted through breast milk to an infant.

After seeing Barna’s prenatal lab tests and interviewing her at length, Mashare felt assured.

Mashare said she was impressed by “How (Barna) eats, she’s not on any medication, she doesn’t smoke, she doesn’t drink alcohol; everything that I was looking for.”

Milk banks also offer screened and pasteurized breast milk, but it will cost you. That’s one more reason women are turning to each other.

“Not only is she getting my antibodies but now she’s also getting Laura’s. Double the benefits, so it’s wonderful,” Mashare said. “She’ll always have a special place in Briley’s life. She’ll always be her milk momma.”

Tellez spoke with some of the women trying to sell their extra breast milk. One said that she wouldn’t buy from a stranger, but said she’s selling instead of donating to a milk bank because she doesn’t have to get tested.

Some breast milk banks charge between $3.75 and $5 an ounce.

  • Evanne

    Thats just gross, i bet la leche’ loves the idea.

    • Laura

      La Leche has actually warned mothers with statements similar to the CDC’s. But, as cow milk is designed for calfs so is human milk designed for babies. And most people, adults drink another mammals milk, so what makes a child drinking another mamas milk so gross? I’m just saying that with precautions it’s better than formula.

    • amy

      you are ignorant. would you rather babies get cyanide-laced formula? i would milkshare any day.

    • Sheryl

      I milk share and it’s wonderful. Formula is “gross!”

    • Stephanie Cassandra Sutton

      Le Leche League is not in support of Milk Sharing because of the potential health risks.

      • Stephanie Cassandra Sutton

        Sorry, meant to add, I am an accredited LLL leader. And LLLI as an organization is not in support of milk sharing. Supporting Mother’s decisions with education and information is what is most important for La Leche League. However babies get human milk safely is great in my personal (non-LLL leader) opinion.

      • Jodine Chase

        LLL Great Britain has issued an informed statement on milk sharing

  • Breast Milk Sharing Becoming Popular Choice For Moms « CBS Chicago » Private kitchens | Wellness Recipes | Beauty Recipes | Breast Recipes|food gourmet:food network

    […] more: Breast Milk Sharing Becoming Popular Choice For Moms « CBS Chicago Posted by admin at 11:12 pm Tagged with: breast, easier-alternative, know-the-right, […]

  • Melanie

    I once had a friend who’s baby was premature and her milk had not come in yet. I had a newborn and an abundance of milk. We knew each other, so why not share? Sure, I would be leery of taking milk from a complete stranger, butbwe not share the best food a baby can have? It is super healthily and free to produce.

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