If you are a vegan mom who has low milk supply but doesn’t want to give up on breastfeeding, Alicia Silverstone may be able to help. She’s started a breast milk share on her blog, The Kind Life, aimed at helping vegan mothers who have difficulty producing milk. She has labeled the effort, Kind Mama Milk Share.
The idea of an “informal” breast milk share with no screening involved seems a little dangerous to me. I also probably would never employ her whole “Mama Bird” feeding technique. I prefer my kids chew their own food and drink milk from my breast only. Clearly, we have two very different parenting styles.
Women comment on the blog with their location and whether they are in need of milk or have some to donate. Mothers respond to each other with email and other contact information. I’m guessing Silverstone is probably working on a more organized way to run this all, but for now it’s just a bunch of moms reaching out to each other on the Internet with comments like these:
I am in upstate NY and in desperate need of milk for my 6 month old. He has allergies, and I cannot produce milk. We are relying on donor milk right now, but need to find a vegan mama with extra.
Kind Mamas! I’m in Sacramento, CA and I have milk to share. I have an 18 month old son and I’d love to meet other vegan families in the area!
Hi mamas, I’m in Brooklyn and am in need of milk for my one-month-old Levi. I had a breast reduction and am only pumping enough for a bottle every three days. Every little bit will help! Thanks in advance!
Hi! I have a freezer overflowing with milk and would love to help you out! I live in Greenwich Vilalge[sic], Manhattan. Feel free to email me.
The New York Times reports that there have been more and more informal, free resources for moms looking for donated breast milk popping up online. These informal sources are convenient and free. Breast milk banks can charge up to $5.50 an ounce. But these sources also lack the screening that milk banks provide:
Breast milk confers enormous health benefits… But it is also a bodily fluid that can harbor harmful bacteria and viruses, including H.I.V., and H.I.V.-positive mothers can transmit the virus to their babies through their milk. Established human milk banks carefully screen donors, test them for diseases and pasteurize the breast milk they provide.
Obviously the moms who use her site seem to feel this is a great resource. I just don’t think I would be comfortable accepting milk from someone who wasn’t screened for health issues. To each her own, though. Moms get to decide what they feel is best for their baby.