CBC's Windsor, Ontario outlet has a feature interview and web article today on families who donate or receive milk through the Human Milk 4 Human Babies Southwest Ontario Facebook page.
|CBC Windsor website, March 15, 2013|
CBC reports Health Canada has reiterated its years-old alert which was originally issued to warn Canadians about the dangers of purchasing human milk from strangers on Craigslist.
Families are increasingly ignoring Health Canada's warning, and similar warnings from the US, France, and other authorities about the possible risks of milksharing. HM4HB networks across Canada are facilitating thousands of what they call "milky matches" between families in need and mothers with excess. When breastfeeding advocates started to move away from simply echoing infant formula company's "breast is best" messaging, and started to talk instead about the risks of infant formula, they provided the fuel for families to think hard about to donor milk as a possibly less risky option when breastfeeding fails.
Offers and asks, HM4HB Vancouver
If Health Canada is to recommend anything to Canadian women about the practice of sharing milk, which is a food, please recommend evidence-based procedures for them to follow for the safe sharing of human milk.
A growing number of people talking about the need for guidance for milksharing families, not warnings. Australia's Dr. Karleen Gribble wants health authorities to move away from proscription. Gribble says it's unethical for health authorities to provide warnings instead of guidance, and I agree (see my blog post of January 2012.) During World Milksharing Week 2012 several lactation consultants and peer counsellors also wrote about the need for guidance and advice.
In addition to the explosion in milksharing, more of Canada's sick, hospitalized babies are also finally receiving donor human through milk banks in Calgary and Toronto. And the availability of milk for the sickest premature babies in hospital is causing families to ask why this need isn't also being met in the community. At the same time, milk banks are concerned the practice of milksharing may be eroding their donor supply.
From the CBC interview:
“Women are just trying to help each other out,” said Margaret Deneau, who owns Sweetheart Baby Boutique in Windsor. “I think it’s wonderful that there is a place for you to get milk for your baby if you can’t produce it yourself.