November 2nd, 2013

planet

is donated breastmilk tainted with bacteria?

The story:
Breast Milk Donated or Sold Online Is Often Tainted, Study Says

Basically, doctors bought breastmilk from people who offered it online. Many of the women they contacted opted out, no one knew it was for a study, they tested the milk and found it wasn't clean.

As a milk donor I found the whole study to be totally weird, and I'm not the only one. My first concern: if pumped milk has bacteria, why are you cautioning people about donating it, shouldn't you start with the vast majority of us who feed it to our own babies? Yes I wash my hands before I pump, and wash all the parts that come into contact with milk after I'm done pumping, is there more to it than that? Because the milk I donated was literally exactly the same as the milk I was feeding my own baby at home.

Then the more I read about the study the more I realized how different their milk was from what I donated... they asked moms to ship milk, no questions asked, no refrigeration required [DrJackNewman]. It's no surprise that most of the moms abandoned the idea. When I donated, I talked to the families, knew who they were and why they needed the milk, they showed up with a cooler, the milk went straight from my freezer to a cooler to their freezer. From what I've heard, this method is vastly more common for donating milk.

Breastfeeding advocates are saying that publicity about this study is more about "this perception people have of women and their dirty feminine fluids that need to be kept under control" [the verge] and I couldn't agree more.

it just makes me want to repeat what I've already said about breastfeeding: How important is it? Is it important enough that we should find low-cost ways to get more human milk to more babies? Then how about we find some supportive suggestions for milk donors, instead of testing milk of the crazy people who you can talk out of common sense?