Got Mother’s Milk? [PHIL-OSOPHY]
There's a growing breast milk market out there. Go online and you'll find sites like Only The Breast and Eats on Feets. Facebook has chat rooms dedicated to breastfeeding mothers.
Two weeks ago, Celeste and I became grandparents of beautiful little Niko, Athena and Manny DeBrito's newest child. In a conversation with Athena, it dawned on me that breastfeeding can be a complicated meal, especially for moms who can't produce enough to satisfy the baby's daily requirements, as I've read from different sources.
Enter the breast milk buy, sell and giveaway marketplace. Of course, wet nursing isn't anything new. It's been going on for thousands of years, but now we're stepping into the internet's version of wet nursing.
Some sites charge an arm and a leg for an ounce of breast milk because it is highly screened and pasteurized. It could cost upwards of $40 a day. That can get prohibitive, unless if you're wealthy. Diseases like syphilis and HIV can be transmitted through mother's milk that is not purified. And while most of the sites I've seen don't purify and screen it, a blood test sheet with information about the mother who donated the milk is readily available.
And this gets to the crux of this piece: would you trust someone else's breast milk for your baby? I know the American Academy of Pediatrics is not a fan of this new milk store. But some mothers feel guilty that they can't produce enough of their own milk, so they turn to these internet sites. To some, it's a godsend and to others, a place to socialize with other mothers.
There's no doubt whatsoever that breast is best. It helps the baby fight off infections and gives them a boost in every aspect of development. But it must be difficult getting over the fact that another person's milk is going into your baby. Is the risk worth it? Not only because of possible diseases, but bacteria can form from improper storage or shipping in coolers.
Still, many mothers feel as though, all things considered, it's still the better choice. And as the saying goes, mother knows breast, I mean best, and I'm supporting the "it takes a village" approach here.
Phil Paleologos is the host of the Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.