Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Breast Milk on Craigslist?

This news item explores milk sales and milk sharing via the Internet and concerns about safety. It quotes the San Jose milk bank director who says mothers may not be getting enough information from a six-month-old blood test. Prolacta partner Milkin' Mamas is also quoted about testing and safety. There is broad agreement that more awareness of the need for milk donors is needed.
"Breast Milk on Craigslist? Mission Viejo Moms Selling Milk for Profit - Mission Viejo, CA Patch: Breast Milk on Craigslist? Mission Viejo Moms Selling Milk for Profit
Milk banks charge $3-$5 for real mother's milk, and some moms are cutting out the middle man. But is it safe?..."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Women encouraged to breastfeed babies in South Africa this World AIDS Day

This World AIDS Day in South Africa, women are being encouraged to breastfeed their babies. Exclusive breastfeeding to six months combined with antiretroviral medication during pregnancy, delivery and through the breastfeeding period cuts HIV infections in infants by 42 per cent.
Breast feeding can prolong infants’ lives | The New Age Online: Breast feeding can prolong infants’ lives

Ina Skosana

As nature intended – however hackneyed, this phrase rings true when applied to things like getting your recommended daily allowance of vitamins, losing weight and breast feeding.

For those who have not had the pleasure of bringing a life into the world this may seem like a no-brainer. But for new moms, it’s not that simple, especially if they are HIV positive.

With millions of new mothers caught in the grip of the HIV-Aids epidemic and 26000 babies infected through breast milk in 2008, concerns about mother to child transmission are valid. Statistics show that KwaZulu-Natal has the highest number of HIV positive women attending antenatal clinics, representing almost 40% of the national figure.

For this World Aids Day women are encouraged to breast feed their babies.

A recently released Kesho Bora study shows that “giving mothers a combination of ARVs (antiretroviral medication) during pregnancy, delivery and breast feeding, cuts HIV infections in infants by 42%”. The study, led by the WHO’s department of reproductive health, indicates that this is possible if the treatment is given during the late stages of pregnancy until six months into breast feeding....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ultrasonic homogenization more efficient in retaining fat in frozen human milk

Ultrasonic homogenization more efficient than hand-stirring in retaining fat, caloric content of human milk after freezing for 3 months.
Breastfeeding Medicine - 0(0):
: Effect of Freezing Time on Macronutrients and Energy Content of Breastmilk

To cite this article:
Nadia Raquel Garcia-Lara, Diana Escuder-Vieco, Oscar Garcia-Algar, Javier De la Cruz, David Lora, and Carmen Pallas-Alonso. Breastfeeding Medicine. -Not available-, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/bfm.2011.0079.

Donkey milk instead of cow's milk for human babies?

Donkey milk instead of cow's milk? Why not human milk for human babies??!!
Nutritional evaluation of a new human milk fortifier, obtained from donkey milk, in feeding of preterm very low birth weight infants : Naturejobs: Nutritional evaluation of a new human milk fortifier, obtained from donkey milk, in feeding of preterm very low birth weight infants
Universita' degli Studi di Torino

Requisition number:
Science jobs from Universita' degli Studi di Torino: job description

Aim of the project is the evaluation of a human milk fortifier obtained from donkey milk in preterm infants nutrition and its comparison with fortifiers obtained from cow milk (currently available fortifiers). A prospective randomized trial will be performed on sixty preterm infants with birthweight <32 weeks, maternal or donor human milk fed. The enrolled infants will be randomized in two groups according to the type of fortifier used. ...

Gates funds ASU research to grow plants carrying human milk components

Or... we could just feed babies their mother's milk...

ASU receives Grand Challenges Explorations funding | ASU News: Projects that are receiving funding show promise in tackling priority global health issues where solutions do not yet exist. Chen’s research is aimed at improving infant health in developing countries by creating an alternative human milk protein delivery system in edible plants that is sustainable, readily accessible and available and cost effective. Chen is producing a cocktail of human milk proteins that will be engineered into the protein bodies of common plants such as lettuce or rice that can be consumed directly or formulated into baby food.

LLL founders didn't intend to found an international org

Great feature on Marian Tomson, co-founder of La Leche League. The reporter notes, "Tompson told me that the original seven founders initially had no ambitions to start an international organization."

Promoting the health benefits of mother's milk before it was popular - When Marian Tompson had her first three babies in the 1950s, she wanted to breast-feed each, but she had complications. Her first child spit up too much. With the other two, she worried that she wasn't producing enough milk.

Three separate pediatricians discouraged her from breast-feeding for longer than six months and told her to switch to formula.

But with her fourth child, Tompson nursed more freely. She and her husband found a family doctor who supported breast-feeding and whose wife, Mary White, had breast-fed their children. White had given birth in her Franklin Park home and was adamant about bucking the bottle-feeding trend of the day.

Medela course: Improving NICU Outcomes with Human Milk Evidence for Improving Practice - Medela

Medela offers courses like the one below, which provides these credits for health care professionals:
  • Dietitian - 4.0 CPE Credits
  • Nursing - 4.0 Contact Hours
  • ACNM - 0.4 CEUs

Improving NICU Outcomes with Human Milk Evidence for Improving Practice - Medela: Improving NICU Outcomes with Human Milk
Evidence for Improving Practice
Symphony Preemie ™ Select Education Package
View Upcoming Programs
It is proven that human milk helps infants to grow and overcome serious morbidities.

Medela is committed to supporting, promoting and providing the latest breastfeeding research through comprehensive education. Our goal is to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration which research clearly demonstrates will improve outcomes. Medela has partnered with Paula Meier, RN, DNSc, FAAN, to develop education programs that focus on the latest research and evidence using research based technology. This half day program is comprised of three talks detailing the scientific evidence for the use of human milk for vulnerable infants and mechanisms to ensure its delivery.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Surplus breast milk on offer via HM4HB in New Zealand

Feature on HM4HB network in New Zealand; notes the country is without formal milk banks.
Surplus breast milk on offer: Surplus breast milk on offer

November 24, 2011

Just because you can’t breast feed your baby, doesn’t mean your baby can’t have breast milk, an Ashburton mother says.

The new mum, who wants to be known as just Kirsty, has a three week old baby and has been storing surplus breast milk as part of the Human Milk 4 Human Babies network.

About the SPIN Program: Supporting Premature Infant Nutrition at UC San Diego Health System

The UC San Diego Health System is to be applauded for placing its materials for health professional and parents used to support premature infant nutrition. Everything from NICU staff resources such as feeding tables, lactation support letters, donor milk consent forms, to resources used to support parents, are available for modification and use by other facilities.

About the SPIN Program: Supporting Premature Infant Nutrition at UC San Diego Health System: About the SPIN Program

Our Mission
To create a Center of Excellence in neonatal nutrition focused on the provision, analysis, and research of human milk to improve nutritional and neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm babies
Our Resources
We provide resources to both parents and NICU staff, available for downloading and printing from this website. Other hospitals are welcome to use or adapt these materials.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Milk Bank and Milk Donation: Three mamas share their stories

This blogger is featuring thee stories about women who have donated milk, through milk banks or privately. We've seen a huge increase in milksharing and milk donation stories in the last year or two.

Milk Bank and Milk Donation: Three mamas share their stories
Earthmama Angel Blog, November 21, 2011

Milk bank donor also donated privately, says it was safe

This article features a mom who donated to the developing milk bank in Oregon, and who also donated privately to a mother with a baby born at term who wasn't eligible for milk from the mil bank. The mom notes it was safe because she was already tested and approved as a donor by the milk bank.
Northwest Mothers Milk Bank Halfway to its Fundraising Goal | The Lund Report: Northwest Mothers Milk Bank Halfway to its Fundraising Goal

The group needs to purchase lab equipment before it can start processing donations locally
By: Christen McCurdy
November 22, 2011 -- The Northwest Mothers Milk Bank is halfway toward its fundraising goal of $400,000 – the amount the organization needs to open a physical location to process donations.

The bump is thanks to a $125,000 donation from Oregon Health Insurers Partnering for Prevention (OHIPP), a group of health insurers convened by the Oregon Public Health Institute....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stored breast milk in critically short supply at B.C. women's bank

Canada's HMBANA milk bank in Vancouver has joined its US counterparts in a call for breast milk donations, citing a critical shortage due to increased demand.

Stored breast milk in critically short supply at B.C. woPublish Postmen's bank:
Vancouver Sun, Nov 16, 2011
...The supply of frozen breast milk at B.C. Women's Milk Bank is running low, with only 60 bottles available to help feed premature and sick babies, instead of the 400 or more bottles the facility would normally have stock-piled at this time of year.

"In November, to be this low is unusual. It's lower than in previous years," said Frances Jones, program coordinator for Lactation Services and the Milk Bank at B.C. Women's Health Centre.

"We tend to have a crisis around Christmas and summer, when every-one is busy or away. [Right now it] is mainly because the demand is going up, with a greater awareness of the benefit of breast milk and the donor program."

The number of donors has been increasing over the years, she added, "but it's still not enough." Last year 165 donors were screened for donations, compared to 135 the previous year. She said donors are asked to provide a minimum of 100 ounces of breast milk.

Look who has jumped on the breastmilk shortage bandwagon...

One of for-profit Prolacta's collection sites for breastmilk for their NICU fortifier product has positioned itself to take advantage of the not-for-profit donor milk bank association HMBANA's call for donations.

The messaging isn't quite the same - they don't say demand is up, they say donors are down. They point to milksharing as a possible reason. Note, however, Prolacta doesn't believe human milk is a scarce resource. They believe the problem is a lack of awareness and note women dump unused milk "down the drain" This messaging echoes a quote often used by Human Milk 4 Human Babies founder Emma Kwasnica, who says milk is not a scare commodity and points to women having to dump freezers full down the drain.
Supplies Down, Demand Up For Donated Breast Milk - Supplies Down, Demand Up For Donated Breast Milk
Share |

...Donated breast milk for premature babies is running low in Sacramento.

By Steve Milne

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Ruth Cummings is with The Birth Center Milk Bank in Sacramento.

"For the last three or four months our donation rate has been down."

The non-profit collects donated breast milk for Prolacta, a product sold for-profit and prescribed to high-risk babies to help fight against infection....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Medela one of the funders in stem-cell/breastmilk research

How do you expand your market if you are a breast-pump company? One way would be to fund research that sees human milk used as medicine for people who aren't babies. A University of Western Australia researcher has identified human milk as a source of stem cells and this Medela news release asks "could this finally be the answer to ethically and easily obtaining pluripotent stem cells in a non-invasive manner?" There needs to be acknowledgement of the ethical considerations of using human milk as a source for stem cells.

Stem Cells in Breastmilk -- BAAR, Switzerland, Nov. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -
The theory developed in 2007 by scientists at the University of Western Australia (UWA) that breastmilk contains stem cells has been taken to a higher level with the latest discovery by one of the team's newer members. UWA Ph.D. candidate Foteini Hassiotou has proven that stem cells from breastmilk can now be directed to become other body cell types such as bone, fat, liver and brain cells. Could this finally be the answer to ethically and easily obtaining pluripotent stem cells in a non-invasive manner? And what does this mean with regard to the unique power of breastmilk for the growth and development of babies?
Stem Cells in Breastmilk – Theory Becomes Reality

Following Hassiotou's recent win of the 2011 AusBiotech-GSK Student Excellence Award for her research into breastmilk stem cells (Oct.17, 2011), Medela is proud to announce Hassiotou's first presentation of her findings of stem cells in breastmilk inEurope early next year. She will share her findings during Medela's 7th International Breastfeeding and Lactation Symposium to be held in Vienna, Austria from April 20-21, 2012.

This discovery by Hassiotou, who is part of the Human Lactation Research Group under the direction of Professor Peter Hartmann at the University of Western Australia, may well be the answer to ethically and easily obtaining stem cells in a non-invasive manner. The value in harvesting stem cells from breastmilk lies in their incredible potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. They have the ability to act as a type of "internal repair system." With both types of stem cells (embryonic and adult), however, well-documented hurdles exist both from an ethical as well as from a practical harvesting perspective.

Medela has been working with the Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group since the mid-1990s resulting in numerous scientific breakthroughs including overturning a 160-year old anatomical model of the lactating human breast, and a unique insight into the sucking, swallowing and breathing mechanism that babies must master to feed properly. The Group has been working on the subject of stem cells for over five years.

Now that's transparency! Milk donated by moms = "starting material for the products Prolacta sells"

No hiding from how they intend to profit in this job description for a "milk bank coordinator." Donor milk is referred to as "starting material for the products Prolacta sells."

Milk Bank Coordinator - Monrovia, CA - Prolacta Bioscience | StartUpHire /job/milk-bank-coordinator-monrovia-ca-prolacta-bioscience-152349: Prolacta is the pioneer in human milk-based nutritional products for premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Prolacta believes that there is no adequate replacement for human breast milk and, as such, we believe infant nutritional products should be human milk-based. As a privately held, scientifically driven company, committed to improving premature infant nutrition, we are using human milk to change the standard of care in the NICU. Prolacta operates and/or owns milk banks that provide the starting material for the products Prolacta sells.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stem cells in breast milk? Trading one ethical dilemma for another

Well, I'd say if they really are the embryonic-like cells, it'll just be trading one ethical dilemma for another. One reason why the Special Report: "Contemporary Ethical Issues in Human Milk Banking in the United States" is so timely!
Breast-milk stem cells may bypass ethical dilemmas - health - 14 November 2011 - New Scientist: Breast-milk stem cells may bypass ethical dilemmas

14:30 14 November 2011 by Linda Geddes
For similar stories, visit the Stem Cells Topic Guide
Embryonic-like stem cells have been isolated from breast milk in large numbers. The discovery raises the possibility of sourcing stem cells for regenerative medicine, without the need to destroy embryos.

Peter Hartmann at the University of Western Australia in Crawley and his colleagues first announced the discovery of stem cells in breast milk in 2008. Now they have grown them in the lab and shown that they can turn into cells representative of all three embryonic germ layers, called the endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm – a defining property of embryonic stem cells (ESC).

Researchers: time for best practices for solicitation & use of human milk

Just up - both the abstract and the full publication are available in the current online issue of American Academy of Pediatrics Journal. The authors conclude it is time to consider "best practices for the solicitation and distribution" of human milk.

Contemporary Ethical Issues in Human Milk-Banking in the United States
  1. Donna J. Miracle, PhD, MSN, RNa,b,c,
  2. Kinga A. Szucs, MD, IBCLCd,e,f,g,h,i,
  3. Alexia M. Torke, MD, MSc,e,j,k,l,
  4. Paul R. Helft, MDc,e,m,n

Abstract: Donor human milk has been used in the United States for >90 years, but recent advances in human milk science and laboratory techniques have led to increasing use of this resource. Pediatricians began using donor human milk in the 1900s in response to anecdotal observation that premature infants had better health outcomes when receiving their own mothers' milk. Since then, a formalized human milk-banking system developed in the mid-1980s and distributed >1 million ounces of pasteurized donor human milk in 2008. Despite growth in the use of pasteurized donor human milk, there is little discussion in the medical literature regarding the ethical considerations of collection and use of this resource. Key ethical considerations include issues surrounding medical decision-making and informed consent, increasing the limited supply of human milk, how ethically to allocate this scarce resource, and concerns linked to the marketing of a human milk.

Prolacta/Helping Hands milk bank adopt health prevention approach to boost profile

Prolacta is really working to boost its profile - this release from its Helping Hands Milk bank calls for moms to adopt healthy lifestyles to avoid premature birth.

Premature Births: Helping Hands Milk Bank Encourages Healthy Lifestyles � Mom it Forward: Premature Births: Helping Hands Milk Bank Encourages Healthy Lifestyles
my world • giving organizations
by Bethany Morgan on November 13th, 2011 | No Comments �
Healthy moms make the world go round—in more ways than one. In support of Prematurity Awareness Month this November, Helping Hands Milk Bank is encouraging pregnant women to establish healthy lifestyles that reduce the risk of premature birth, and to donate excess breast milk to treat those infants who are born prematurely.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Abbott Nutrition markets Prolacta's human milk products alongside infant formula

Some people don't know that Abbott Nutrition, an infant formula company, markets Prolacta's human milk products alongside their cow's milk-based fortifiers. This is from a website promoting Abbott's pre-term NICU infant products:

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Milksharing happens with or without Facebook

In case anyone thinks that the only milksharing that goes on is through organized Facebook or Internet sites, here's a reminder that it happens all the time, between friends and family, as it has done for for millennia.

Did I Just Ask For Some of Her Breast Milk? Yes, Yes I Did. | Preconception health, anxiety & depression, and childcare. Do Not Faint: Did I Just Ask For Some of Her Breast Milk? Yes, Yes I Did.

On the same day I learned that I won’t be able to safely breast feed while taking benzodiazepines, I also learned that a dear friend is just eight-weeks pregnant with her second child. After thoroughly researching breast milk sharing and thinking about it for a couple days, I decided to ask her. Ok, I asked her via email. But I wanted to give her time to think about.

Calgary Mothers Milk Bank to begin screening moms for donation in December, 2011

CBC Radio interview with Calgary Mothers Milk Bank head Jannette Festival

CBC Radio recently interviewed Jannette Festival, executive director of the soon-to-open Calgary Mothers Milk Bank, which plans to begin screening moms December 1st. They hope to have their pasteurizer up and running in January. Calgary hasn't had a milk bank since the early '80s.

Festival says project was spurred by the updated statement from the Canadian Paediatric Society in the fall of 2010 calling for a network of milk banks to be opened across the country to provide pasteurized donor milk is the impetus for the project. She says they have a financial donor who has provided funding for the first year of operation for the mik bank.

Festival says her ultimate goal is to see breastfeeding rates increase because people are more aware of the value of human milk - the bank will validate how important human milk is. For year one they are hoping to collect and process 40,000 ounces. She refers to milk as "a scare commodity...if we get 40,000 we'll need 80,000 if we get 80,000 we'll need 120,000...we want to supply it to all babies who need it across the province." Festival is sure the demand will be there, citing the shortage of human milk in the US noting the Austin milk bank pasteurized 300,000 ounces last year and is short, and the San Jose milk bank produced 500,000 ounces and "they just don't have enough."

Smart phone tech to improve donor human milk donation safety - Gates Foundation funds South African research

How cool is this? A grant to explore smart phone technology that will monitor and validate the temperature of human milk during flash-heating in order to ensure its safety. The money comes from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the work is being done by a multidisciplinary team including the Computer Science and Engineering department at the University of Washington and the Human Milk Banking Association of South Africa.

Health News - Boosting infant nutrition through cell phone technology: Boosting infant nutrition through cell phone technology
08/11/2011 03:22:00

PATH will lead a new research project to develop a low-cost, cell phone–based system for human milk banks to monitor the safety of donated breast milk, supported by a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations initiative.

The system combines the power of cell phone technology with the simplicity of a low-tech flash-heating pasteurization process to ensure that breast milk donated to feed vulnerable infants is free of bacteria and viruses, including HIV, while retaining its nutritional value.

Developing a prototype monitoring system
The 12-month grant was made to a multidisciplinary team that includes PATH and two partner organizations—the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington and the Human Milk Banking Association of South Africa.

The team will develop and field-test a networked temperature sensing system using FoneAstra, a cell phone technology, to accurately monitor and validate temperatures during flash-heating. It will provide real-time, audiovisual feedback to users, allow automated supervisor monitoring, and archive results for review and audit....

March of Dimes, Susan G. Komen and now Make-A-Wish affiliate with Prolacta

" - Prolacta Bioscience Becomes Sponsor of Make-A-Wish Foundation: Prolacta Bioscience Becomes Sponsor of Make-A-Wish Foundation

November 8, 2011 9:22 AM EST
MONROVIA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Prolacta Bioscience has announced that it has become a sponsor of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Prolacta is the first and only company to offer human milk fortifier (HMF) made from 100% human breast milk for critically ill, premature infants...."

Mom turns from donating her milk to Prolacta to making her own profit

Here's a news item about a mom who started out donating to Prolacta and then decided to sell her milk through OnlyTheBreast, which is a US-based for-profit website with a UK division that coordinates forums where buyers an sellers of milk can connect.

Breast Milk For Sale: What's All The Hype? | Fox News: ...Mosbarger had an oversupply—often filling quart-sized bags and filling up three freezers worth of milk. She decided to become certified by the National Milk Bank and Prolacta Bioscience and donated about 1,000 ounces of milk. She then realized that she could cover her pumping costs, continue to help other babies, and make some extra cash if she sold her milk too. So using her certification as a marketing tool, she put an ad on and set her prices—$2 an ounce for frozen and $5 an ounce for fresh.

She had inquiries within a week and now has ongoing relationships with two moms she sends milk to on a monthly basis—a total of about 300-400 ounces. In about one month, Mosbarger estimates her profit to be approximately $1,500, after she’s covered her costs for pumping and storing....

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

What is the WHO-Code?

Bettina Forbes has written a compelling and comprehensive overview of the WHO Code and why a lack of adherence to the Code is harming - and even killing - babies. Worth a look even if you just take in the horrific picture of the wee babe with necrotizing enterocolitis, a sometimes fatal disease that strikes premature babies in the NICU who are fed infant formula.

What is the WHO-CODE? | Best for Babes: What is the WHO-CODE?
By Bettina Forbes, CLC | Posted on November 8, 2011 | 9 Comments
The primary purpose of the “WHO-CODE” is to protect mothers and babies from the highly effective, aggressive and predatory marketing of substitutes for breastfeeding (i.e. infant formula, bottles, artificial nipples) at the most vulnerable period of their lives, the birth of a new baby.

Natural disasters - are we doing enough to protect infants?

Slave Lake Town Hall and
Government Centre
burns during 2011 wildfires

Roseau River, Manitoba residents
after flood evacuation, 2011

Flooding in St. Jean sur Richelieu,
May, 2011
After a year of flooding and wildfires here in Alberta and around the world, a new report released today calls for emergency planners to do a better job of ensuring infant safety in emergencies in the developed world. 

The report comes on the heels of the devastating wildfires and flooding in Australia, earthquakes and tsunami in New Zealand and Japan and the US's recent problems coping with the aftermath of events like Hurricane Katrina.

Quebec authorities evacuate 2,000
in advance of forest fires near
Mauricie, Québec, May 2010.
The authors are emergency infant feeding experts Karleen Gribble and Nina Berry, both from Australia. Gribble provides advice to organizations like UNICEF and the Emergency Nutrition Network on infant feeding in emergencies, and Berry has coordinating breastfeeding support and artificial feeding programs for Save the Children UK.

Infant feeding experts have been warning for at least a decade, and certainly since Hurricane Katrina, that emergency planners in the developed world are not adequately prepared to protect infants in the face of disaster. Gribble and Berry have taken what they have  learned about infant feeding during emergencies in the developing world, and have created recommendations relevant for emergency planners in developed countries:
"As far as the authors are aware, no emergency preparedness authority in a developed country* mentions breastfeeding continuance as an emergency preparedness activity, nor details the requirements for formula feeding in an emergency. There is a need to improve emergency preparedness and the delivery of aid to the caregivers of infants in emergencies" *(The United States has since done some work in this area.)
The report notes most emergency preparedness guidelines lack specific advice for caring for and feeding infants during an emergency. It outlines in detail the emergency kits caregivers should have on hand when essential services such as water, power, and gas are unavailable - right down to the surprising amount of water needed to support a powdered-formula-fed infant - 24 litres of water per day to ensure safe preparation and cleaning. (Yes, 24 litres! After the flooding and fires in Australia an evacuation centre sought advice on how to clean baby bottles and nipples. They had little drinking water, not enough to clean bottles. Suggestions included cleaning bottles with sand or reusing cloths kept in the sun to try to kill bacteria.)

There seems to be no clear understanding that it is the formula-fed baby and not the breastfeed baby who is in an insecure food situation. Emergency workers often don't know how important it is to exclusively breastfeed and may assume that a woman's milk supply is diminished during an emergency situation.  The reports cite instances right here in North America. During the 2007 wildfires in San Diego evacuation authorities told women to stop breastfeeding and start feeding infant formula.

Babies born on the eve of disaster are routinely discharged from hospital on formula. Even as Hurricane Katrina approached, New Orleans area hospitals were discharging formula feeding mothers without adequate preparation or supplies or an explanation of how important it was to breastfeed at least through the duration of the emergency. One newborn died after being stranded on a roof for five days with his mother who did not have formula. He was alive when rescued but later died in hospital and a medical assessment of the mother revealed she had breasts engorged with milk.

The cost of pulling together an emergency kit for a week's worth of supplies for an infant fed formula is substantial - estimated $500 in this report, which says the cost for a breastfed baby is one tenth that amount. The report also recommends advice to mothers living in areas prone to seasonal emergencies such as flooding or wildfire to continue breastfeed through the duration of the emergency season. (This isn't new advice, I remember reading a parenting guide from 100 years ago that gave weaning advice not on the basis of how old the child was, but when its birth fell on the calendar year - mothers who were considering weaning as fall approached were advised to hold off until spring so babies could continue to receive immunity from the mother during cold and flu season.)

How do we stack up here in Canada? Badly. In Public Safety Canada's official emergency guide there is simply a reference to infant formula as something one might think to have on hand.

Emergency planners in Canada can look to this report for good, practical recommendations:

- specific lists of supplies needed for breastfed infants and for infants fed powered and liquid formula

- what to do with formula-fed infants when no formula is available

- use the expertise of mother-to-mother support organizations to assist breastfeeding mothers and to help those wishing to avoid infant formula to re-establish or increase breastfeeding 

- simple public messaging about infant feeding prior to and during emergencies: such as “mothers considering ceasing breastfeeding should consider waiting until after the [bushfire/wildfire/cyclone/hurricane/typhoon/flooding/snowstorm] season.” 

- messaging to the general public to discourage collection drives for infant formula (large quantities of unneeded donated goods create storage and delivery logistics problems, and formula often winds up distributed inappropriately.)

Slave Lake donations wind up in landfill.

A quick look at the Alberta emergency plan reveals more information for the care and feeding of livestock than infants. 

Wildfire Evacuation Pamphlet, Government of Alberta
Disasters happen and we in Canada are not immune.

It wouldn't take much for Canada to improve planning for appropriate infant nutrition during emergencies. Health Canada is currently reviewing infant feeding guidelines and should include as section on infant feeding in emergencies. Provincial and municipal emergency preparedness agencies should look to their own policies, procedures, and public messaging to ensure they are aligned. Our emergency plans should be updated and public advice on preparing emergency kits should include detailed supplies needed for safe infant feeding. 

Monday, November 07, 2011

Prolacta's Utah campaign nets 50 applications in two months

The Utah Valley University student newspaper sheds more light on Prolacta's targeting of mothers in the state of Utah for milk donations.

"Helping Hands has been campaigning in Utah since September and has already received over 50 applications from mothers wanting to donate their extra breast milk. Kosmont says that Helping Hands was interested in coming to Utah because “Utah is fundamentally a very service-oriented state.”"

Friday, November 04, 2011

'Unsafe medically and dangerous legally" - HMBANA on #milksharing

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) is again calling on every healthy, breastfeeding moms to offer to donate. Requests from hospitals are up and now make up 75 per cent of their orders, up from 60 per cent just last year. Milk banks distributed 1.8 million ounces last year, less than a quarter of the 8 million needed according to HMBANA.

HMBANA president Kim Updegrove says,
"All babies should receive human milk. But because it's a scarce resource, we prioritize it for preterm infants in neonatal intensive care who weigh three pounds or less," said Updegrove. "These babies respond the best in terms of decreased infection rates and shorter hospital stays."
This ABC news item says while the cost to donate is covered by milk banks, costs are passed on to recipients. ABC says this leaves families turning to informal sharing, a practice HMBANA's head calls "unsafe medically and dangerous legally."

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Milksharing experiences with HM4HB in Tennessee

This article explores reasons why moms reach out for donor milk, and also notes one donor mom who experienced difficulty getting information from milk banks on how to donate and found it easier to connect directly with moms online. The article also notes Facebook is making it easy for recipients to discover "online communities of nursing mothers willing to share their abundant supply."

Online communities allow Memphis-area nursing women to share milk supply - The Commercial Appeal: "The midwives said it was the biggest baby they'd delivered at home," said mom Emmalee Slimski, a 32-year-old child care provider in Bartlett.

So it was a punch in her maternal gut when at her daughter's 7-month checkup, she was told her baby was failing to thrive.

One of her breasts had stopped lactating and the other couldn't produce enough milk to keep her baby's weight up.

"I felt defeated and I really didn't want to go to formula," Slimski said.

Filled with anxiety, she reached out to a group of like-minded breast-feeding moms on Facebook, called Alternamamas of Memphis.

Moments after posting her story, a friend offered to drop off a stockpile of her own breast milk....

Prolacta secures funding for 2nd facility and larger sales force

Prolacta secures funding for second processing facility and larger sales force:
Prolacta Bioscience(R) Secures Series D Funding from Health Evolution Partners - MarketWatch: Prolacta Bioscience(R) Secures Series D Funding from Health Evolution Partners
-- New Members Added to Prolacta Board of Directors --
MONROVIA, Calif., Nov 03, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Prolacta Bioscience, the first and only company to offer human milk fortifier (HMF) made from 100% human breast milk for critically ill, premature infants, has announced that they have secured Series D funding from Health Evolution Partners (HEP). HEP invests in rapidly growing companies that are commercial leaders in the healthcare industry. The funding will be used primarily to fund a second facility and to support growth of Prolacta's sales organization....

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Back to Blogger

After a couple of years of using Google Reader's shared items feature to pass on news about human milk, I'm back to Blogger. Over the years you will have noticed the focus has narrowed - I used to share news about all things breastfeeding, how I share news about all things human milk. What's the difference? It allows me to focus on milk banking, milksharing, and research using human milk.