Breastmilk exchange on Facebook

Sharon - posted on 03/02/2011 ( 55 moms have responded )

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WHOAH dudes. REALLY? These women are openly exchanging bodily fluids from strangers to their incredibly susceptible infants and eeryone is ok with this?

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2011/02/23/br...

http://www.facebook.com/EatsOnFeetsMassa...

BOSTON (CBS) — Jessica Elways believes in the benefits of breast milk for her seven month old daughter Penelope, but keeping a steady supply hasn’t been easy.

“I work 45 to 50 hours a week. My supply started to dip, and since I work in retail I can’t pump as much during the day,” she said.

She needed something other mothers have and turned to the Facebook site “Eats on Feets” to find it.

Mothers like Jocelyn Tremblay who are willing to donate their breast milk.

“I think it’s a valuable thing for people to have who maybe have no supply of their own,” she said. With her newborn son, Adam, she has a surplus of breast milk and just discovered “Eats on Feets” to post her willingness to donate.

“I think a great thing about Facebook is that it’s very fast and very direct,” said Tremblay.

But it is too fast and too risky for some, including The Mothers’ Milk Bank of New England, based in Newton.

“There are times when moms can be transmitting things to babies they don’t even know about,” said Executive Director Naomi Bar-Yam.

The milk bank screens and processes breast milk for distribution to needy babies for $4.25 an ounce.

Unlike a milk bank, “Eats on Feets” is an exchange with no regulations and no fee. Jessica Elways doesn’t mind the risk.

“I think breast milk has the most benefits, they get the antibodies they need,” she said. It’s a mother-to-mother bond that’s based on trust.

“I think trusting you’re feeding your own child as well, and would hope that you’re a healthy and drug-free person to do that,” said Jocelyn Tremblay.

Donors and recipients are responsible for their own delivery arrangements, and are cautioned by “Eats on Feets” of the benefits and risks.

It’s now becoming a global milk-sharing network that has the Food and Drug Administration now considering whether the milk banks should be regulated.

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ok my opinion - SCARY AS HELL. Breastmilk banks are awesome. They are not $4+ an OUNCE awesome. not when formula is a perfectly acceptable option. But this free for all breastmilk freebie scares me.

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Mary - posted on 03/02/2011

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I'm all for breastfeeding, and I fully support breastmilk banks, but I am far too cynical to ever think that unregulated breastmilk from a stranger on FB is safe. I wouldn't have an issue with someone I knew (like my sister or best friend) giving me breastmilk for my child, but not a random stranger from a social networking site.

To me, it would be no different than being told I needed a blood transfusion, and deciding to save a few bucks by avoiding all the costs involved professionals test it first, and finding some blood-sharing site on FB.

[deleted account]

#1 I'm just 'lucky' that my ex was 'man' enough not to cheat on his girlfriend w/ me after they started having sex and that he left me right after their relationship started. I was positive that he would never leave me cuz I believed him when he said he'd love me forever and never leave me. You CAN'T know for sure who you can and can't trust (especially when you are talking about other women who you've never met and THEIR partners). So there is always that risk regardless of how small.



#2 It may be farfetched that a woman who knowingly has HIV would go through the trouble of pumping and intentionally passing on infected milk, but does anyone remember the guy who put HIV infected needles in random seats in movie theaters? There are a lot of sick individuals in this world and just because they are breastfeeding mothers does not automatically make them exempt from that.



Bottom line... if it's not tested.... you'd be a fool to trust it.

Minnie - posted on 03/02/2011

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I would not go knocking shared breastmilk when formula is known to contain enterobacter sakazakii, which can cause death.



The premise is based upon being informed and responsible. Parties work together to come to an agreement- and if testing is requested that can be worked out as well.



Home pasturization is sufficient to kill even the HIV virus and still contains more biologically appropriate nutrition than that found in formula.

Natasha - posted on 03/04/2011

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OK, so I brlong to Eats on Feets, and to thier Human Milk 4 Human Babies groups. I fully support women who want to donate thier milk. I know quite a few moms who have used this site as a way to make sure that even though they have a very low milk supply thier baby is still getting the best that nature has to offer.

I am nt currently sharing milk, but then I am stil pregnant at this time. If I had known about EoF 3 years ago when my son was in the hospital and my supply dried up I would have taken advantage of it. I would request a full blod/tox screen of the woman donating, and would not accept any from someone who was unwilling to provide this.

Where I live, Alberta, there are no milk banks. If you cannot breast feed you have no choice but to either formula feed (which I hated having to do) or go through something like EoF. Milke sharing goes back to the beginning of time. Before you judge too harshly you should read the article that was posted by an EoF mom, http://researchedparenting.blogspot.com/... and see it from the other side. I totally understand that this is a very personal choice, and know that it is up to each mom to make thier own decision. But don't judge those who are trying to do what they think is best for thier baby.

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Barb - posted on 04/11/2012

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I would never do this how do you know if the person takes drugs,on meds that aren't good for you baby, or drinks or what will be in the milk.Don't think I would use a bank either my baby would my breast milk only. The idea just my me uncomfortable.

Vegemite - posted on 03/04/2011

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How incredibly dangerous, just because something's natural doesn't mean it's good for your child. Gold top mushrooms are natural but i sure wouldn't feed them to my kid and I wouldn't feed them someone else's untested breast milk either.

[deleted account]

Studies that are for milk are paid for by the dairy industry and the government. People ignore facts because they dont want to admit they are doing something wrong.

I think formula is very necessary because people dont like sharing the best thing for babies for reasons i cannot understand. It really needs to be changed though, were not suppose to give children artificial sugar until a certian age, yet its the second ingredient in most formulas. It needs to be removed.
More people should share milk, it still needs to be regulated, i wouldnt be investing my trust in something that could put my daughters life at risk.

[deleted account]

Because you can find evidence to prove or disprove just about anything you want and some people don't care about 'evidence' other than their own personal observations.

I'm not arguing FOR formula cuz other than maybe a dozen times I've never used it. I'm just not interested in fighting against it and would trust it (if needed) a lot more than breastmilk from unregulated, unknown women. I wouldn't trust them if I didn't know them cuz there are WAY too many crazies in this world. And I certainly couldn't afford properly regulated breastmilk. Being a donor, I get cuz I trust myself. Being a receipient, I don't cuz I don't trust anyone else.

[deleted account]

Lots of people dont have a problem with giving their children something that is causing health problems, i get that. I just dont understand why people do so and ignore others when they inform them its bad for you. Even when evidence is presented.

[deleted account]

Because a lot of people don't have a problem w/ cow's milk. I get that you do and that works for you, but many people drink and enjoy cow's milk so don't have a problem w/ giving their babies something based from something THEY enjoy as well.

[deleted account]

What i dont understand is people are more likely to give cow milk than a milk specifically for humans. Milk should be shared more readily, it just should be tested first.

Natasha - posted on 03/04/2011

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Also, EoF does not endorse the selling of breast milk. All donations are just that, donations. the only thing that is allowed to be paid for is the shipping costs. It's about being a community.

Stifler's - posted on 03/03/2011

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Do you really think everyone out there is as sane as you?? Or lives as clean a lifestyle as you? There are sick individuals out there and they infest Facebook like a plague.

Johnny - posted on 03/02/2011

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I don't know what I would do. I find it highly inconceivable that a woman who takes the time to pump her milk, find a website to donate it, and so on is a particularly risky person. But I'm not sure I would do it with a stranger. Someone I knew, in a heartbeat. Not being able to make enough milk was very hard for me, and after we were no longer eligible for the milk bank, I was very unhappy and so was my daughter (she did not like formula). But you know, it's hard to really say whether you could really be sure of the safety of a friend, or a relative, or even a milk bank. Thousands of Canadians got HIV and Hep C from contaminated blood from the Red Cross. Who really ever knows? I know I don't trust the formula companies either.

Mrs. - posted on 03/02/2011

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And if they get breast milk from facebook they are more likely to pick up a wicked hangover from some lady's hydrocodone.

Katherine - posted on 03/02/2011

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Interesting......

Even more amazing, even after heating human breast milk properly to kill pathogens, it still retains 50 to 70 percent of IgA antibodies, the protectors that coat the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, ears, eyes, digestive tract, vagina) from outside pathogens. They are key in keeping babies healthy. Because of IgA and other beneficial components of breast milk, the list of breastfeeding's benefits is long and well documented, which makes it worth the effort of many mothers to find donor milk. Breastfed babies are much healthier and less likely to become overweight in adolescence, and they are less prone to develop mental disorders, certain autoimmune diseases, and possibly even ailments like diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease later in life.

http://www.rodale.com/milk-banks?page=0%...

Katherine - posted on 03/02/2011

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I totally agree Theresa. I would NEVER do it if it wasn't tested. That's why it's much safer to do it with a Doner breast milk bank. I just did my research lol.
Even though it costs more the cost outweighs the risk.

Katherine - posted on 03/02/2011

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Wait....milk banks aren't regulated???? I did not know that, call me an idiot.
I was just going to say it's like going to a milk bank only it just needs to be tweaked a bit. I think it's a great idea, but definitely needs some regulations.

Kri - posted on 03/02/2011

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um no. I would not be ok with feeding my baby someone else's breast milk. I don't know that person, what the person may have, etc...

Lady Heather - posted on 03/02/2011

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Yeah, my mum totally "knew" my dad wouldn't cheat on her too. Imagine her surprise when the gyno informed her otherwise.

[deleted account]

Are you going to put that type of faith in a strangers partner too?
Don't get me wrong it is a great idea to share milk. I said numerous times on com breast milk should be more readily available to those who need it. Investing that type of trust in a stranger to do the right thing is not something i would do. Especially when it could potentially put my daughters life at risk.

Nikki - posted on 03/02/2011

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I wouldn't do it, but each to their own I suppose. I think it should be regulated.

Becky - posted on 03/02/2011

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Well, if both of you are in a monogamous relationship with each other and have both been tested, then you aren't at risk - unless you contract it from something other than sex. I know my husband is not going to cheat on me. He knows he'll never have sex with anyone again if he does! :)

[deleted account]

Yea my ex was the only one i slept with for ten years and i trusted him. Didn't stop him from cheating on me.I had no clue until a year after i left him. It doesnt matter if your in a committed relationship, anyone who has sex is at risk...didn't you see the commercials?

[deleted account]

Yea i know people who smoke weed occasionally and breastfeed. They dont see a problem with it. I do. I wouldn't want my baby to be exposed to any drug.

Becky - posted on 03/02/2011

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Well, I know for certain my husband doesn't have it and he's the only one I'm having sex with, so there's no chance I'd be exposed to it. :) I wonder if you could take the milk to your own doctor and have it tested?
Anyways, I'm not saying everyone should use it, if you're uncomfortable, don't. I'm just saying that I don't think it would necessarily have disasterous results, and I would use something like that - maybe not eats on feets, but milk donated from a stranger - in an emergency. I do think you need to be cautious about it and do your homework beforehand though.

Charlie - posted on 03/02/2011

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I think it is wonderful , it really isn't hard to take this tool and find a willing doner and ask for a medical cert to show they are safe .

Pansy - posted on 03/02/2011

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Yeah, this is just weird to me. Nope wouldn't do it. But then again, I didn't breastfeed ... so I can't imagine taking someone else's breast milk.

Mrs. - posted on 03/02/2011

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Well, if you're going to go there, there are a lot of fully functioning pot heads out there who would be very much into the idea of sharing breast milk.

Now, you have no idea if the mother is a chronic pot smoker do you? There has been some research that has shown traces of THC in baby's stool and such after the mom has breastfeed. Not to mention, let's say the mom just had some at a party - just a quick toke - who's to say the weed isn't laced with anything? She might not give it a second thought the next day - no biggie right? Now what if it's laced with cocaine?

I know in my younger days, people passed me joints that had other shit in it and I didn't know until a lot later that there was something special in it.

[deleted account]

If you have sex after the test, its a possibility you could be exposed to it again and contract it. The milk itself should be tested to make sure its safe.

Becky - posted on 03/02/2011

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I was tested for HIV during my routine pregnancy bloodwork, so most women who had just given birth, unless they hadn't had prenatal care, would know it.

[deleted account]

Yea, i wouldn't want milk from a mother who was taking antidepressants, even tylenol for that matter. Its just not safe the way its set up. Plenty of people have aids and dont even know it. Thats how its spread. Anyone, even a lactating mother could have it and be completely unaware they have a disease. no regulations to detect things like this puts every child getting the milk at risk.

Becky - posted on 03/02/2011

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Well, if a woman is going to use milk donated in this way, I'm sure she could take it upon herself to ask the donor if they were on any medication at all, whether hey'd been tested for HIV, Hep, etc, whether they smoked... I know I'd certainly be asking all those questions. Yes, I know someone could lie, but they're not getting any money for the milk, so what would be their motivation to lie?

Mrs. - posted on 03/02/2011

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So, hold up, are you saying that mom's who are on anti-depressants don't have time to donate milk - as opposed to one's that aren't?

Okayee...

With the amount of people out there who are on some sort of pill for, say even, acid reflux - you have no way of knowing if they particular drug made it's way into the breast milk, if that drug has been known to affect certain types of infants. You really have no clue.

I don't think it's paranoid - I think it's being aware.

[deleted account]

Yea, what if a mom was on some medication that the baby who got the milk was allergic to. It could still be free if each mother took it upon themselves to get tested for things that can be transferred via breastfeeding, and provide a list of medications if any they are using.

Becky - posted on 03/02/2011

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I'd probably use it, if I had to. I wouldn't now, with Zach, but he's almost 18 months and I'm just about ready to wean anyway, so if I couldn't breastfeed anymore for whatever reason, it wouldn't be a big deal. But if I had a small infant, especially one who needed breastmilk for a medical reason, and I couldn't provide it, I'd use it in a pinch. I'd go to the people I know personally who are breastfeeding first, but if I had no other options, I'd do something like that.
I mean really, a woman who is using drugs or drinking heavily, is probably not taking the time to pump enough to donate her milk! And I think it's a tad paranoid to think there are women out there who actually want to infect babies with HIV through their breastmilk. I'd be asking a lot of questions and pasteurizing the milk myself anyways.

Mrs. - posted on 03/02/2011

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It's not just about diseases and killing off those disease by home pasterization. There are a lot of women who are on various pharma that their docs may have approved with breast feeding for them and their child (as was my case when I was able to breastfeed for a short time). Now, you never know what pharma is in what mother - she might just think if it's okay for my baby, it's okay for another. Not every baby is okay with some random mother's milk which might have some anti-depressant or pain killer in it. Not every mother is educated about how her meds might affect her breast milk. She might donate not giving it a second thought. That scares me the most about it.

Then I'd wonder if these women ate like crap, smoked, drank and put any number of chemicals in their bodies. Who knows really?

Some kid is gonna get really sick - it's just a matter of time.

Jacquie - posted on 03/02/2011

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I totally agree with Julianne. I have no problem with Eats on Feets if it were a strictly regulated system. Then again, that's probably what makes it free. Disease testing is expensive. Formula wins this round for me

Caitlin - posted on 03/02/2011

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I must admit I have offered my 50 or so ounces of pumped and properly frozen milk for donation on this very same site. I have my latest blood test results if they want to see them and I am very clear to the mother that I occasionally took tylenol for headaches and reactine for allergy issues while pumping. It is up to that mom whether she wants to accept my milk or not. I dont' like the idea of throwing it out, but if it comes to that, it's what i'll do.



That being said, i'm too damn paranoid to accept anyone elses, but don't really have that problem since i've always seemed to have an abundance (except once or twie when it was low for stress reasons).

Stifler's - posted on 03/02/2011

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I'm not against breastfeeding but I wouldn't do it. Who knows what kind of whack job the person was if you didn't know them? They could be a sicko who likes to infect people's babies with HIV. Sounds extreme but seriously. I'd rather just formula feed a few feeds a day if I had low supply.

Lady Heather - posted on 03/02/2011

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Yeah, a friend of mine got wenchy with me because I chose formula over a facebook milk exchange. Sorry that I don't want to take milk from a stranger. If it was my best friend, totally. A trusted relative? For sure. But Tracy from the internet (there was only one in town and that was her name)? Hell to the no.

Sarah - posted on 03/02/2011

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Nope, I wouldn't do it. There's always the possibility that a mother who is donating her breastmilk has a disease that she isn't even aware of. And what IF the milk doesn't get prepared properly? What about medications the donating mother is taking? There's a lot of factors involved & when it comes to receiving milk from a total stranger...I just wouldn't trust it. Eww and gross.

[deleted account]

I am a huge fan of breastfeeding (as I'm sure you're all aware), but if I couldn't have breastfed for any reason... I would've used formula. I know that some babies are deathly allergic to formula in which case shared breastmilk is a WONDERFUL thing, but I'm definitely not in the 'formula is poison for every baby' camp.

This 'Eats on Feets' may be a wonderful thing, but I wouldn't accept breastmilk from a stranger online any more than I would accept medical advice from a stranger online.....

Minnie - posted on 03/02/2011

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And so you believe that mothers receiving milk from another wouldn't prepare the milk properly?



Like I said, home pasteruization is enough to kill HIV and hepatitis, as well.



Women who seek out Eats on Feets aren't going into it lightly- they've made the choice based on assessment of risks. Women who are donating their milk aren't going into it lightly either- they're nursing their own babies as well, remember.

Sharon - posted on 03/02/2011

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I wouldn't knock my OWN breastmilk but that of some stranger who could possibly have ulterior motives.. um hell no.

Some facts..

In the United States, an incidence rate of 1 per 100,000 infants for E. sakazakii infection has been reported. This incidence rate increases to 9.4 per 100,000 in infants of very low birth weight, i.e. less than 1.5 kilograms.

Also bad preparation, lack of hygiene, etc all contribute to the enterobacter sakazakii that can cause death but doesn't necessarily always do so.

Enterobacter sakazakii was also found in ALL age groups - however infants are susceptible due to their low acid stomachs. So stop kissing your babies.

Minnie - posted on 03/02/2011

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I'm not sure how it's pushing it too far- milk has been shared for centuries. If it bothers you, of course, don't use it, but the mothers who do are making an informed choice and feel that milk from another mother (for free) is a better choice than using formula.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/02/2011

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This is just odd to me. I am pro breastfeeding, and am fine about ff also...but I think this is pushing it a bit far. I would prefer my baby on ff than a strangers breastmilk.

Jenny - posted on 03/02/2011

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No, not a good idea. Milk sharing needs some form of regulation to keep the supply safe.

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