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HomeHealth NewsDo healthy infants really need breast milk?

Do healthy infants really need breast milk?

When their own supply of breast milk runs out, some mothers who have healthy babies look for donated breast milk. Some experts claim that using another person’s breast milk can be dangerous.

Josephine Scoville had only met Courtney Donaldson a handful of times in person before Donaldson gave Scoville a present: 30 ounces of breastmilk.

Both women had become friends through blogging. They both wrote about their infertility issues.

They stayed in contact and met at blogging conferences, as well as when they traveled through each other’s towns.

In September 2014, Donaldson and her husband were traveling through Telluride, Colorado. While in town, they met Scoville and her partner.

Scoville joked when Donaldson said she felt guilty for pumping and dumping her milk away from her child, saying that she would gladly take the milk off of her hands.

Donaldson returned to his home a few days later and dropped off the milky donations.

Scoville has used breast milk donated by others and even donated it herself. Donaldson gave an even bigger gift after she complained on Facebook that her supply was diminishing following the Colorado meeting.

She sent Scoville almost 200 ounces (or more) of breast milk that she thought her son, who was only a few months younger, would never finish.

Scoville told Healthline, “I was so thankful I cried.” Before having my children, using donated breast milk was not on my radar. But when it came down to it, I really appreciated the help of my breastfeeding village.

In 2013, NPR reported on the “booming” demand for donated milk. Today, this demand is visible across buy-and-sell websites, Facebook groups that connect donors and recipients, as well as pleas from desperate mothers on social media.

Is it necessary to be desperate?

What are the benefits of healthy babies?

The benefits of donor breast milk for premature babies have been documented. Trusted Source. The World Health Organisation Trusted Source recognises the reduction in the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) as the biggest advantage.

This risk is low in healthy, full-term infants. In most other areas, formula and donor milk are compared by the WHO report. The WHO finds that there is either no difference or a difference-favoring formula. Infants who are fed formula show greater increases in head circumference and weight over a short period of time than those receiving donor milk.

Donor milk literally saves lives in neonatal intensive care units, but the question as to whether it is especially beneficial for healthy, full-term babies has not been studied or answered.

Healthline never received a response from La Leche League, an international nonprofit breastfeeding advocacy organization, about this story. One member who asked to remain anonymous told Healthline that the organization does not have a position on donor breast milk for healthy babies.

Healthline asked Pauline Sakamoto of the Mothers’ Milk Bank if mothers with healthy full-term babies should seek out donor breast milk for their own infants if they are having trouble with supply.

Her response was passionate but complex.

Sakamoto’s organization works primarily with families who have children in NICUs, where breast milk is vital to their child’s survival.

Healthline quotes her as saying, “We service all infants.” ” Premies. Prematurity is a term used to describe babies who are at the upper end of the spectrum but are not responding well to formula. Children who have just returned home from surgery to treat necrotizing enterocolitis We will serve you as long as the prescription indicates that it is medically necessary.

The “equity issue”

Sakamoto wants to make donor breast milk accessible to all families. She is concerned about the lack of regulation in the online breast milk trade. She wishes that more women would donate to charities first so those in greatest need can get their breast milk.

She told Healthline that “if you look at sharing sites,” they think they’re doing a great service because they don’t ask people to pay. They are essentially a blackboard that matches people with milk to those who need milk. The system doesn’t determine which babies need the most milk. Families with babies who are 4 to 6 months old on average receive the milk. They can’t guarantee that the milk is safe.”

She continued, “We ask questions.” “We ask questions,” she continued. Donors are tested for blood. Heat-treat milk. We test for bacteria in the milk. We do everything we can to ensure that the milk is safe. It’s difficult. What really worries me is that there is not enough milk to feed preterm babies because the rest of the milk is being sold on these sharing sites. “There is a grave issue of equity.”

This equity issue becomes even more important when money is involved. Healthline published an article late December on the growing controversy about whether donors should receive compensation for their milk—a practice in which nonprofit milk banks do not participate but for-profit milk banks do.

Sakamoto acknowledged that she understood why some mothers may hesitate to donate milk through a non-profit milk bank. It is more complicated than just shipping milk online to a buyer.

She asked. “Good job. Congratulations on your success. It’s wonderful to send your milk to a child whose development you can see or hear often. On the other hand, we also have very premature babies who are in great need. Our process is multi-faceted with all of the screening because the population we serve is different from the one you drive your milk towards. I want to share groups to know that I sometimes need help.” I’m out of supplies and may not be able to provide the recommended supply for a child in true need.”

She reiterated the fact that non-profit milk banks do not make money. They don’t collect as much milk as they can to make money and then sell it. They’re genuinely trying to save babies’ lives.

To her, therefore, the stakes were higher. In her ideal world, she would like to see all mothers who donate milk to sharing sites donate it to non-profit banks. These banks could then distribute the milk according to need.

Cleaning up is a problem.

Jody Segrave Daly, of The Fed’s Best Foundation, has concerns about the donation of breast milk to healthy full-term babies.

She told Healthline that “breastmilk does have many desirable benefits, but they are grossly overstated in the breastfeeding community.” The breast milk myth is unfortunate, as it makes mothers seek out donor breast milk that has not been tested and give it to their babies, putting themselves at risk. The American Academy of Paediatrics doesn’t support mothers who use untested donor breast milk because formula prepared safely poses fewer risks to a full-term child.

Donaldson also expressed concern about the cleanliness and safety of milk collection.

Peer-to-peer donation can be great, provided it’s done responsibly; but I wouldn’t accept milk donations from certain close acquaintances.”

Joan Meek, a pediatrician with the American Academy of Paediatrics, spoke to Healthline on this topic.

She told Healthline that peer-to-peer sites pose a risk. If you are sure that the person is someone you trust, then it should be safe to use his or her milk. You don’t know the full health history of a person. There’s also the question of storing the milk. Does the donor maintain her pump? Cleaning the parts properly? Are the containers she uses clean? “Is she storing milk properly?”

Shopping from strangers online carries additional risks.” She further noted evidence to indicate some milk donated online had not been stored correctly. When they test that milk, some of the proteins aren’t from human milk; cow’s may have been added. It’s a risky situation, and I urge families to avoid buying milk from unknown sources, especially online.

The question is also how much value is lost in the process of donation. Healthline spoke with several sources who all agreed that the best milk to use is that produced by the mother. choice. Donor milk is second to what it cannot provide.

Segrave Daly, a Healthline contributor, explained that in a milk bank situation, the milk is gathered together and the baby receives passive antibodies from multiple donors. “However, frozen breast milk has been pasteurized using flash pasteurization to make it safe for infants. There is a breakdown of micronutrients and fats as well as lactoferrin and immune properties.”

Sakamoto confirmed this statement. “During processing, around 20% of your immune properties can be lost.

Even though peer-to-peer donation may seem like an advantage over milk banks, the immune properties could be lost, especially if both the donor and the recipient do not come from the same region.

Sakamoto, a Healthline contributor, said: “The new research on genetics and epigenetics is fascinating.” Some bio-geneticists say that it doesn’t really matter what the composition of milk is. It really does matter where the mother lives. It’s the mother’s location that has the biggest impact on her milk and its benefits for her child. If you live in Sacramento and you have a friend who lives in New York that you trust and know and who is willing to donate breast milk, some biokineticists say it’s better to find someone from your own neighborhood. Even if they don’t know you, their milk will have immunity against the flu that is circulating in your area, and your baby could be exposed to that.


The stigmata of the formula

It is difficult to obtain a sufficient supply of donor breast milk for an infant who is healthy and full-term. For some, the task can be arduous. Many people still do it, despite the lack of evidence that donor milk is better than formula for infants.

Why do so many mothers put themselves through this?

Segrave Daly stated, “I think the reasons informal milk sharing is so popular are for reasons that most of us do not consider.” A parent who feeds their baby formula faces a lot of shame and criticism because formula is portrayed as poison in breastfeeding classes, WIC offices, and many mommy-oriented online groups. Breast milk is also overemphasized for healthy, full-term babies. As a result, mothers will do whatever it takes, including using donor milk that has not been screened or tested, to avoid formula. Many mothers told me that they use donor milk, which is unscreened and untested, because it’s completely free. They use donor milk because formula is expensive and they need to feed their babies.

At times when their babies need assistance nursing their need for milk supplementation is denied; she found herself on call to assist these mothers from hospital rooms. When mothers return home from the hospital, they ask me for advice on how to safely feed their starving babies. Their milk has been delayed. My main objective is to teach parents how to prevent infants from starving due to a lack of colostrum consumption or transfer before full milk supply.

Segrave-Daly warns mothers about the dangers of feeding their babies untested donor breast milk.

I have seen babies in the NICU who became sick after using contaminated breast milk that had not been tested. She said that one baby was affected by contamination from a breast pump.

When she hears that mothers have extra milk they want to give away, she encourages and helps them donate it to a milk bank instead of doing so informally. I tell them that milk donations will save premature babies who do not have access to human breast milk.

The demand for donor milk is still high, however, among mothers who have healthy full-term babies. Meek says it is worth it for mothers who are comfortable finding sources of donor breast milk.

I really believe that science shows there are enough benefits to pursue it. She said that in an ideal world, we would be able to get enough milk to meet our needs.

Donaldson and Scoville both agree.

Scoville stated, “Even though I never intended to use breast milk donated by others,” “I am firmly convinced that it was one of the parenting decisions I will never regret.”

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America’s (HMBANA) website provides more information for women who want to donate breastmilk to non-profit dairy banks.

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