Facebook groups for breastfeeding mothers are sending out a warning to its users.
Human Milk 4 Human Babies Ohio said it received a large number of complaints from multiple people about a couple from Cleveland, OH requesting breastmilk and then selling it in other places. The page was not set up for selling breastmilk for money. It has banned the couple.
Human Milk 4 Human Babies Kentucky also received similar complaints. Ronna Mariah Rhodes, a mother from Lexington, KY and a member of the group, posted on the page and warned other mothers.
“I am making this post as a public announcement to this community about a local mom getting donated milk from many of you and turning around to sell it…” wrote Rhodes. “Lexie Whittaker has been asking for donations since December because she was ‘returning to college and needed help.’ Now she has 1,500 ounces in her possession that she was caught trying to sell.”
Rhodes had screen shots captured to back up her claim. “As a fellow donor, this is frustrating,” she wrote. “Milk sharing is an amazing thing that helps babies in need. It is disgusting that someone turn it into something so ugly. Please get to know your donor or donee!”
This post upset many other mothers.
“As a donor, this is heart breaking,” responded Jenna Michele, a member of the group who donated milk. “I never considered selling my milk. There are so many people who need to supplement their supply or don’t produce at all. It is an incredible gift to be able to help nourish another human being. I echo others—to reach out to the person who is in need of milk. There are a lot of people who are genuinely in need of milk and are very grateful and appreciative of donors’ gifts.”
“This makes me so mad!” responded Lizz Swift, another member of the group who rely on donor’s milk. “My son can’t gain weight because I don’t produce enough…then there are women like this getting the milk then selling it? This is ridiculous!”
It is understandable that moms rely on online forums to get donated milk, but some dangers need to be considered. The main risk is disease from bacterial infections to HIV. Another risk is the medication that the donating mother may be taking.
Here at San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition, we encourage lactating mothers to become breastmilk donors, but only through Mothers’ Milk Bank.
Currently Mothers’ Milk Bank of San Jose is in need of donated breast milk. Moms interested in donating can fill out the form here to be screened and registered with Mothers’ Milk Bank. Once screening is completed, it’s pretty simple: Milk can be dropped-off at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Newborns or the Milk Bank will arrange for pick-up and shipping.
It’s a beautiful to share and donate your breast milk. And beware, don’t let anyone to take advantage of your generosity and sell your liquid gold!