Thinking of Milksharing? 4 Things to Consider & 1 Not To…

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Thinking of Milksharing? 4 Things to Consider & 1 Not To…

Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally. For moms with low breastmilk supply, the struggle is real. Some turn to milksharing, a practice as old as breastfeeding itself, and as controversial (in some circles), too.

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Image provided by real mom, Katie Leonard, of www.adutchlife.com

If you’re considering milksharing here’s the shortlist of what you might want to consider (or not.)

What to consider: 

Safety

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns there could be some risk in practicing milk sharing, as human milk can carry diseases and there’s no FDA approved system in place for safely testing donated/shared milk. But, organizations like Eats on Feets report they have NEVER had a reported safety issue- meaning donors and recipients are doing every thing they can to keep milk safe for babies- even without FDA regulates processes. 

The bottom line: To be safe, make sure your milk donor is someone you trust who’s willing to share their health history, and know that though rare, there is some risk associated with milksharing. 

Time/Convenience

Motherhood isn’t easy. So why make it any harder than it has to be. In the case of mom, Alyssa Tibbet, milksharing required shipping milk across state lines. It took time that not every mom has and a lot of dedication. But, in the end it was worth it! And though it was labor intensive, both recipient and donor got the system down pat within a few shipments. If you can, find a set up that’s as convenient as possible for you and your donor, so you can ensure the system can last as long as possible. 

Allergies/Intolerances

If you know or even suspect your baby has food intolerances or allergies, it may be best to share that with your donor. Finding a donor who is willing to eliminate offending foods from her diet is an important factor in baby’s health.

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What NOT to consider:

Other people’s opinions

You may have noticed everyone’s a critic…milksharing is still considered taboo in some circles- but we’re all adults here…you don’t have to make decisions based on peer pressure or public opinion and in fact, you shouldn’t. What people think of how you care for baby is not your concern…or at least it doesn’t have  to be. Yes, it’s good to get your pediatrician or partner’s perspective. But, unwanted advice from well meaning friends or strangers can go in one ear and out the other! Find a community of friends and family who support you and your decision to milkshare. You know what’s best for your baby! 

Want to learn more about one mom’s journey with milksharing? Check out our new podcast, momrepublic. This week we speak with Alyssa Tibbet, a real mom who was both a breastmilk recipient and donor. Plus, we talk with Shell Luttrell,  founder of Eats on Feets, a milksharing community organization.

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This post was written by Diana Cherry: wife and mother of 4, breastfeeding advocate, Milkmakers content editor, and blogger over at The Front Yard Frontier,