Moms Sharing Breast Milk

For moms, breastfeeding is a very personal and sometimes emotional thing. Some moms who want to, can't. And some moms produce milk in abundance.

From that need or abundance was born an exchange of donor human breast milk.

"Human Milk For Human Babies" is an online community where moms exchange milk.

The mom's we talked to say they've heard their share of skepticism on the topic of donor breast milk.

Tammy Micheals says, "It's a little weird for some people because it's a bodily fluid. They don't know your background."

While Micheals donates milk, Ellyette Kleppen uses it for her baby. She says, "She was born at 36 weeks and she had Gastroschisis which is like, your intestines are on the outside. "They had to do a surgery and she was in the NICU for two weeks. She wouldn't latch before she left the hospital, so we had to go home and continue to try. I was just pumping and I wasn't producing enough to keep up with her, so I didn't want to give her formula because her stomach would be confused anyways. So I looked onto Human Milk For Human Babies."

Doctor Edward Newton, a founding member of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, says he's all for babies on breast milk. But he's urging moms proceed with caution, especially with sold or donated milk found online. Newton says, "I think you have to ask yourself do you really know that person? A lot of the infectious diseases that can present in breast milk, like HIV, are very sensitive issues when you talk about sex. What is proper testing? That means screening it for infectious disease. That's probably the biggest risk."

Both moms we talked to agree- you have to know who you are dealing with if you are accepting a donation.

While Dr. Newton prefers people go through an established milk bank or even institution that can do the proper testing on milk, the doctor and these moms agree on the value of breast milk. Dr. Newton says, "I consider breastfeeding and breast milk to be the best primary prevention, intervention that we have as human beings."

On the point of buying breast milk and having it shipped, Dr. Newton warns bacteria in the breast milk starts rising about 10 hours after it's been pumped. It has to be kept cold or freezing to still be safe.

Both moms we talked to say they'd never consider selling or buying human breast milk.