After not thinking about breastfeeding for years, I am suddenly inundated with news stories about it, specifically about sharing breast milk. Why is this even a controversy? If I need breast milk and you are willing to give it to me, that is really not anybody else’s concern. Wet nurses have been around since, I don’t know, about the beginning of time, right? I don’t want to perpetuate a stereotype here, but I will anyway because I find it useful (so there), but, if you need some kind of nurturing, who do you call? Your mom, sister, best friend: in other words, usually a woman. So why is it surprising that moms would share their breast milk?
What about diseases, or the possibility that the donor mom has ingested drugs, legal or otherwise? Anybody who doesn’t realize that these things are a possibility and screen for their likelihood is probably about 3,000% more likely to formula feed anyway. I see no need for government regulation on this issue. By the time a conference held to contemplate forming a committee made a formal decision and released the paper detailing the guidelines, we’d probably be growing babies in sterile steel tanks.
One of my children stopped breastfeeding when he was about eighteen months old. He drank cow’s milk for a while, but never really liked it and eventually stopped. When he was five, he told me that he would be willing to drink milk if I could produce my own again. He was so sweet and sincere that I wished I could accommodate him without taking hormones. At least, I think that’s what one does to stimulate milk production.
In an interesting and, I think, extremely European, twist on the dual trends of breast milk and organic, a London ice cream shop is selling ice cream made with human milk. Cool! But before I bought any I would ask if the moms were compensated fairly for their work, and if the milk was locally produced.