Breast Milk Sharing

Goddess Huntress | Breast Milk Sharing

Many of you may be aware of Alicia Silverstone’s recent launch of her Kind Life breast milk sharing program, where moms who are not producing any or enough milk can find a vegan nursing milk donor who is willing to share their breast milk with moms who are underproducing.

While the intent and purpose is beautiful and comes from a good place (especially for those that can’t afford formula), I have one big problem with it.

A milk donor with a vegan/organic lifestyle and is disease-free is not enough for me.

My biggest concern with breast milk sharing is of course the sharing of toxins from the environment the donor lives in.  What is her tap water quality? Does she use plastic, Teflon, and canned goods in the kitchen? What cleaning products does she use (including laundry)? Does she wear or is exposed to synthetic fragrances regularly? What are her mercury levels? Does she have implants (absorbing off-gases from casing)? What toxins has she been exposed to at work?  Will she find out later that she is living on or close to toxic waste? Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I think it is fair to know the answers to these questions (and more), if you are considering using a donor. The only problem is that those answers may not be easy to come by…

In 2005, author Florence Williams had her breast milk tested for fire retardants for an article in the New York Times, an eye-opening piece on the toxins that American breast milk contains. Florence, also author of  Los Angeles Times book prize winner for science and technology  Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, lived a very conscious, organic eating, toxin-avoiding lifestyle when she found out her breast milk contained pesticides, dioxin, and high levels of flame retardants. Scary. (It was her NYT article that got me so upset that this restaurant in NY defended their serving of breast milk cheese in 2010…luckily, the Health Dept. agreed with me too.)

What is very concerting is studies have found breast milk to inhibit some toxins in such a way that babies metabolize some toxins with no problem.  Our bodies are incredible geniuses.

Then there is formula, which has its own slew of  ingredient toxicity controversies and recalls, not to mention the really unfortunate condescending looks formula-using moms receive from some breast-feeding moms… elitism is never a good look. Do select your formula with a fine-toothed comb and do your due diligence with research (non-GMO, BPA-free, DHA, etc.).

At the end of the day, you really have to pick your poison if you are unable to produce any/enough milk or  are supplementing formula with breastfeeding.

When it comes down to it, everyone’s breast milk will test positive for toxins.  I just wouldn’t want my donor’s milk to be more toxic than mine.

What is your take?

Comments

  1. Breast milk is better than formula, pretty much no matter what.