Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Feature blog post on B.C. Women's milk bank refers to "provincial milk bank program" is carrying a guest blog post from James Carruthers, Director of Development, BC Women's Hospital on the donor human milk bank at B.C. Women's Hospital. Note the change in terminology - the milk bank program is now being referred to as the "Provincial Milk BAnk Program." This would be in keeping with informal remarks made at the 2012 HMBANA conference suggesting B.C. intends to expand its milk bank program province-wide.

Human Milk Banks Save Premature Babies' Lives | Care2 Causes: Human Milk Banks Save Premature Babies’ Lives
by Emily L.May 16, 20124:30 pm
NOTE: This is a guest blog post from James Carruthers, Director of Development, BC Women’s Hospital; Health Centre Foundation.
When Alison went into labor two months early, she worried about her tiny baby girl’s very survival. Adding to her worries, Alison was unable to breastfeed her daughter in the first few days of her life.
Preemies like Alison’s daughter must be fed real breast milk, donated by new moms with enough to share. Human breast milk contains the life-saving nutrition premature babies desperately need to grow strong and get better.
The Provincial Milk Bank Program at BC Women’s Hospital was a lifeline for Alison and her daughter: “My daughter was 31 weeks gestation when she was born and received donor milk in the first few days in the Newborn ICU before my milk came in. I was grateful to the women who donated and made it possible for her to get breast milk in the first few days of her life when she was so tiny and vulnerable.”... more

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hospital milk bank racism smacked down by politicians - Taipei Times

Wow, that's a new one. I hope it isn't happening elsewhere.

Hospital may accept foreigners’ milk - Taipei Times: Hospital may accept foreigners’ milk
DONOR DISCRIMINATION:DPP councilors called for a repeal of the ban on foreign milk donors at the Taipei City Hospital’s milk bank, which admitted the rule was flawed 
By Mo Yan-chih Staff reporter 
Taipei City Hospital yesterday acknowledged flaws in the regulations of its human milk bank after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors lashed out at the hospital for rejecting the donation of breast milk from a woman from Cambodia. The hospital promised to consider revoking restrictions on donor nationality.... more

Monday, May 28, 2012

Texas now has 40 donor human milk depots!

Texas now has 40 donor human milk depots - go Texas!

State gets more breast milk depots | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: State gets more breast milk depots
The pasteurized breast milk dispensed by the banks is specifically processed to meet the needs of fragile and sick babies.
Posted: May 27, 2012 - 10:11pm: Updated: May 28, 2012 - 12:18am
As more doctors prescribe donor human milk to feed premature and ill infants, 10 regional hospitals and clinics across Texas are helping meet the growing demand by opening milk depots in lactation centers and neonatal intensive care units....

Friday, May 11, 2012

HuffPo: Trevor MacDonald: Thank You, Facebook, For Feeding My Baby

A must read! Transgender parenting, the relative risk of feeding infant formula vs milksharing, conflict about Facebook's capacity to do good, community bonds that result in women seeking donor milk from two men with a freezer full...
Trevor MacDonald: Thank You, Facebook, For Feeding My Baby  
Huffington Post  Posted: 05/11/2012 2:00 am 
...A few years ago, before the existence of HM4HB on Facebook, our baby would have been primarily formula-fed. Ironically, for many months the social networking site has also been removing comparatively modest breastfeeding photos from members' walls due to supposed indecency. I can only say that I am left with a love-hate relationship with the Facebook empire -- it is the frame that both supports and attempts to limit our human milk sharing engine....

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Human milk and the Handmaid's Tale

More from Australia on the discovery of stem cells in human milk. And again, as I noted in November 2011, the discovery, funded in part by breast pump maker Medela*, is framed as "a solution to the ethical dilemma of using human embryonic stem cells..." The article says the only way to obtain embryonic stem cells is to harvest them from a six-day-old human embryo, destroying a potential human life in the process. Researcher Foteini Hassiotou says:
"Whereas breast milk can be accessed non-invasively, there's plenty of it, you don't have to do any surgery."
Striking illustrations by Anna and Elena Balbusso
accompany a new Folio edition of Atwood's
The Handmaid's Tale - see the full series in
The Guardian, Jan 23, 2012 
This discovery is not a solution to an ethical dilemma - it offers an ethical tradeoff - replace the harvesting of stem cells from embryos with a harvest from mothers. Human milk is said to be a scarce resource as milk banks struggle to meet the increased demand for preemies, some of whom will die if they do not receive donor human milk. Where does stem cell research fit in the question of who should receive milk first when there isn't enough to meet the need?

Milksharing advocates dispute that human milk is a scarce resource, saying instead it is a renewable, sustainable resource. They say mothers were dumping milk down the drain before milksharing started to thrive thanks to social networking. But will human milk remain abundantly available for babies if mothers are offered financial incentives to donate for stem cell harvesting?

Why does Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale keep flitting through my mind as I think about the ethics of harvesting breast milk from Twenty-Something moms in order to treat heart disease and diabetes - preventable, lifestyle illnesses that are about to swamp our healthcare system as the Baby Boomers age?
Sourcing stem cells from breast milk - Foteini Hassiotou › Meet a Scientist (ABC Science):
Stem cells discovered in human milk can turn into any kind of tissue, explains Dr Foteini Hassiotou.
By Abbie Thomas
Dr Foteini Hassiotou (University of Western Australia)

A solution to the ethical dilemma of using human embryonic stem cells to treat human diseases could be staring us in the face.
Five years ago, Dr Foteini Hassiotou was part of a research team, the Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group at the University of Western Australia, which discovered that human breast milk contains what appear to be stem cells. These cells can potentially turn into many different types of cells, and offer staggering potential for treating a huge range of human diseases....
*Note: This post builds on a blog post written in November 2011 about Medela's funding of this breastmilk/stem cell research, and was edited in November 2012 to make explicit Medela's involvement in funding this research.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Second donor human milk distribution site opens in New York State

New York State now has a second distribution site for donor human milk. Phelps Memorial receives and distributes pasteurized milk shipped from the WakeMed Mothers' Milk Bank in Raleigh, North Carolina, which is the only HMBANA milk bank licensed in New York State. The storage facility at Phelps in Sleepy Hollow was made possible by a donation from the Westchester/Putman/Rockland Consortium. The Phelps Memorial facility joins the  community-based Hudson Valley Milk Bank which also receives milk from WakeMed, although it is not listed as a developing milk bank on HMBANA's website.

At a cost of $5 an ounce, human milk is now available for newborns at the hospital.
May 4, 2012
The following is an announcement from Phelps Memorial Hospital Center:
Phelps Memorial Hospital Center has recently been licensed by the New York State Department of Health to receive, store and issue donor human milk.. 
... Phelps will obtain milk from one of two facilities, WakeMed, located in Raleigh, North Carolina, that processes the milk, or Hudson Valley Milk Bank in Irvington, that also obtains milk from WakeMed. The milk is pasteurized at WakeMed and shipped to Phelps in a frozen state....
Westchester Putnam Rockland Lactation Consortium donated money to purchase the freezer, temperature probe and an initial supply of milk. Phelps plans to apply for a grant and will assume any additional costs to continue the program.... more