Feeding Your Child a Strangers Breast Milk – It’s No Big Deal

I’m not sure if you watched This Morning yesterday, but they were discussing feeding your baby with a strangers breast milk.

If you want to watch the video before reading this post then you can do so now:

What Irritated Me About This

The thing that immediately irritated me slightly about this was that bottle-feeding got brought up pretty early on. I have no idea why Ruth even made the comment “there’ll be mothers who’ll say their babies are thriving on formula.” 

I’ll admit that this comment did come after one mother said that they’re both thriving. But either way, I don’t know what formula feeding has to do with this topic?

There’s no real need to bring it up. I understand that babies can thrive and be perfectly fine on formula milk. But that’s not why these two mothers are here. They’re here to talk about the concept of providing a baby with a strangers breastmilk. There’s no debate about whether bottles are fine, whether breast is best, or anything like that. They clearly want their babies to have breastmilk, which is completely their choice, and this is how they’ve chosen to do it.

And then there’s the comment section on This Morning’s Facebook page. Which was essentially a lot of people saying they were shaming bottle feeding mothers. Which is ludicrous. This is another case of something being turned into a breast vs bottle debate for absolutely no reason.

Is There Anything Wrong With Feeding a Baby a Strangers Breast Milk?

No. Basically. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeding your baby via a strangers breast milk. At least in my opinion.

We already drink milk from a cow, among other animals, so having it from a fellow human should be fine. I dare say if I made a cake using Rachel’s milk, people wouldn’t want to eat it. On the other hand, had I used cow’s milk, it’s suddenly fine. It is a little bit weird when you really think about it.

I’d have no problem with Isabelle feeding directly off another woman via her breast. So by that logic I’d have no problem with feeding her the milk that’s been bagged either. But my main issue has nothing to do with whether it’s weird, or if there’s anything wrong with the idea, it’s about the safety.

The Main Issue Should Be Safety

My main issue with this whole topic is the safety behind it. I’m not 100% sure I’d be up for doing this purely down to the fact that I couldn’t say for sure if the milk was stored correctly. I’m not there when they do it, I don’t see how they do it, I’m just putting my trust in a stranger. I dare say if they’re local you could pay them a visit and see how it’s done. But you’re still trusting a lot in that person.

They did have Dr. Sarah Steele on the show to talk about the potential risks to giving a baby a strangers breast milk. And of course, she’s absolutely right that bacterial and toxicity risks should be looked at. There’s the ultimate risk of death, at least in extreme cases, but then there’s just the risk of them getting sick in general. I think she did scaremonger slightly, but then she’s a doctor.

There are ways around that. You could find a milk bank via UKAMB website. This of course is done safely, and you should be able to guarantee that the milk is safe for the babies consumption. You can even donate breast milk yourself if you feel like supporting mothers who still want to give their babies breastmilk.

But Is It Really Worth All the Effort?

The last part should be pretty simple. Is it really worth all the effort of obtaining a strangers breast milk when you can just formula feed? Don’t get me wrong, I’ll admit that I’m a big supporter of breastfeeding. I think all mothers should at least try it, unless medically unable, and more support should be out there to help mothers through it.

But at the end of the day, formula feeding is a fine alternative if you feel like you want to do it. It might not be quite as beneficial. At least not in the short term, the long term is up for debate. But I don’t think I would personally go seeking a strangers breast milk had Rachel not wanted to do it herself. Of course we might have tried using regulated banks, at least until she was able to do it herself.

However, I don’t really see that as something I’d want to do long term. It just seems like way too much hassle.

Rachel on the other hand, would much prefer to use breastmilk than formula. So this is something she’d very much want to do. Luckily though, we’re not in that position as she’s able and willing to breastfeed herself.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one. Would you be up for feeding your baby via a strangers breast milk? Or would you just go with formula milk?

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Ross

I’m a 26 year old married father of one. I started blogging after suffering postnatal depression when Isabelle was born. These days I talk about much more than just that.

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4 Comments

  1. 13th April 2018 / 4:12 pm

    I think the bottle feeding comment on the show was simply because it’s usually the alternative to breast feeding like why didn’t you bottle feed instead, many babies thrive on formula.

    I think the discussion was great because I don’t think many parents know that there is a third option. Breast/Formula/Donor. Also, it’s important parents considering a donor know the risks and how to do it safely. Exactly, how with formula there are instructions on how to prepare it safely. This enables parents to make informed choices and decisions for their baby.

    I am all for breast feeding and had no trouble at first feeding my son. One night, he stopped feeding and I had to switch to formula to feed him. I am hoping to breast feed again.

    I see no problem with using another woman’s milk. It’s more natural than using another animals (cow/goat) but you need to be sure it is safe for use. The milk banks sound like a good idea as they regulate and test the milk.

    Years ago, the wealthy had a wet nurse to feed their children – a woman paid to breastfeed. I’m not sure I’d like another woman breast feeding my baby because it was very intimate and I’d be jealous of their bonding. However, if it was the only way to nourish my child (like during a zombie apocoliypse) then I would welcome the help.

    • Ross Hunt
      Author
      13th April 2018 / 6:35 pm

      Yeah, I gathered that it was said because of that. I just didn’t like the way she jumped in with it. I guess that’s just me though. But it does sometimes feel that when breastfeeding is talked about, you almost have to mention bottles to try not to offend anyone who bottle-fed who is watching.

      I think I was mostly irritated by the comment section on This Morning’s Facebook, that was lots of breast vs bottle arguments. Which was silly.

      I think it was nice to see it presented as a legitimate alternative for those who can’t, or don’t want, to breast feed.

      Thanks for commenting!

      • 13th April 2018 / 8:22 pm

        You’re welcome. I think a lot of mums that do bottle feed feel defensive because there is such much pro-breast and nothing pro-bottle except that it’s better that not feeding your baby. I remember feeling rejected when Noah no longer wanted my milk and worried about others judging me. Luckily I live in a very friendly and supportive community and it wasn’t an issue. I had the same fears about breast feeding in public but it was fine too. As long as a baby is cared and loved, that’s an amazing parent x

      • 25th April 2018 / 4:49 am

        True. there’s nothing wrong in using alternative ways if you don’t want to breastfeed. A mother just have to make sure that the milk she’s going to give her baby can provide the appropriate nourishment they need. If you are looking for an alternative, try Qiara. Check my website for more details. https://www.qiara.com.au/.

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