Human milk banks--why not???

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Human milk banks--why not???
30
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 8:23am
OK, I have to ask something here, of the people who say they'd *never* use milk from a human milk bank.

How is it that you can be so seemingly blindly trusting of a product that is made in mass quantities in a large factory, a product that has had MAJOR recalls in the past (in general), including ones that are life-threatening, when you wouldn't trust human milk which has never had a recall and I can't say I've ever heard of a human milk bank having had a batch of recalled milk either (I'm sure it'd be ALL OVER THE NEWS if it had happened, unfortunately!)?

How can you be so accepting of a substance made with the milk of another species, that is not screened, that could very well have BSE in it, when you wouldn't trust that human milk donors are thoroughly screened before donating? Heck, we have to pass blood tests and can't even donate if we've got the common cold, and yet the milk is pasteurized before it gets redistributed to any babies!

How can you accept something with cheap oils as fat substance when you don't seem to trust that human milk has all the good PUFA long chain fats that are necessary for proper brain development?

How can you undermine all these, when milk from a milk bank is pasteurized, which kills off any bad "bugs" anyhow (though admittedly, it also kills off most,if not all, the antibodies too...)? I mean, a lot of people here drink bovine milk on a regular basis and it too is "just pasteurized" and the cows it comes from are hardly screened in the same way we milk donors are. Who knows what kinds of things you're submitting your body to on a regular basis with pasteurized milk from cows... ;-)

As far as I can see, the risk factor would be if the human milk bank were to screw up and send out a batch of unpasteurized milk. Like I say, I've never seen/heard of such a recall before. I think that such a mistake is much less likely in a small operation such as a milk bank than in a large factory setting IMHO. If they DID manage to screw things up that badly, the risk would be that MAYBE some milk that was conataminated with some virus or bacteria could be fed to your child. Major MAYBE here... But assuming the child died from such a thing...how different is that from the child dying from milk in a recalled can that was recalled for some life-threatening reason such as Enterobactor satzkii (sp?) in it? How is it really ANY different at all? A death is a death, but as far as I can see, it would be much LESS likely with milk from a milk bank...given the recall list on artificial infant milk.

I just find it mind-boggling is all, and I'd like for someone to explain it to me. I don't want to hear "I've done the research and I trust it"...I want to know WHY you trust it (more than donated pasteurized milk)? Tell me something I don't know...open my eyes here, OK? ;-)

Fio.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 8:50am
Mostly because the cost is prohibitive. Also, it would probably spoil easier than cans of formula. Probably wouldn't travel as well as milk straight from the breast or formula. The process of paturization probably WOULD kill off the antibodies which is the main reason I'd even consider milk from a milk bank. If however, i had a premature baby or a baby with serious health probablems and I couldn't breastfeed, i'd find some way to be able to afford milk from a milk bank.

To me though the point is moot. I really believe that there are very few women out there who can't breastfeed, they just choose not to. So, if they are choosing not to breastfeed themselves why would they choose to go to a breastmilk bank?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 8:56am
It's not that I wouldn't trust it, it's just not available to the general public. Where I live, you needed a doc's prescription and it was basically only available to premies. Also, the cost was prohibitive.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 9:02am
good point here:

"To me though the point is moot. I really believe that there are very few women out there who can't breastfeed, they just choose not to. So, if they are choosing not to breastfeed themselves why would they choose to go to a breastmilk bank? "

i can see how this is true...

fio.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 9:04am
ok. thanks for the answer!

i hope some of the ^people who said theyt wouldn't trust it will speak up...

fio nak

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 9:13am
Okay, here's my reasoning:

Years ago, blood banks gave out lots of HIV infected blood simply because they had no idea that it was something that they should test for. I realize that the milk is tested, etc., but how am I to be certain that there are not other *human* diseases (not referring to outside contaminants) transferrable through BM that are just now or will soon be newly emergent??? If it is not yet known about, it is not something they can test for, and they can't be certain that the pasteurization process would destroy it.

When not absolutely necessary for the sustenance of life, I do not wish for me or my family to receive human secretions from others.

In addition, since the pasteurization process destroys many of the beneficial aspects of BM, the benefits do not outweigh the risks for me. Also, a mother's milk self-regulates and adjusts for the particular needs of her growing baby, so there's another benefit out the window when using donated milk.

The only way I would use milk from a bank is if my baby had a condition that made her unable to thrive on formula (which is rare) and I was unable to BF myself.

-Deb

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 9:48am
I can see your POV but had to comment:

"Years ago, blood banks gave out lots of HIV infected blood simply because they had no idea that it was something that they should test for. I realize that the milk is tested, etc., but how am I to be certain that there are not other *human* diseases (not referring to outside contaminants) transferrable through BM that are just now or will soon be newly emergent???"

This is true...but in the same vein, how can you be sure there aren't other BOVINE diseases that could be transferred to humans (other than BSE...and in all honesty, I don't even think we know for sure how BSE is transferred, and *if* it could be transferred via milk or not!)? If one illness has crossed the species barrier, why couldn't another as well?

That is, unless you'd use soy formula...in which case I guess the point would be moot...SO FAR (again, who knows what the future could hold...).

"When not absolutely necessary for the sustenance of life, I do not wish for me or my family to receive human secretions from others."

So, do you think for you it comes down more to a "squick" factor than a safety concern...honestly, I am interested...?

"In addition, since the pasteurization process destroys many of the beneficial aspects of BM, the benefits do not outweigh the risks for me."

I guess this is another of those YMMV. ;-) Having the right fats and proteins for my baby would still make it more worthwhile for me. :-)

" Also, a mother's milk self-regulates and adjusts for the particular needs of her growing baby, so there's another benefit out the window when using donated milk."

That is true...but formula doesn't self-regulate and adjust in any way whatsoever...so here I have to say I see this as one of those "human milk doesn't have advantages...but pasteurized human milk and formula end up at a disadvantage comparatively". ;-)

"The only way I would use milk from a bank is if my baby had a condition that made her unable to thrive on formula (which is rare) and I was unable to BF myself. "

I see. Thanks for the input...I can certainly see this POV in some ways...though I think it could be debatable (good thing we're on a debate board, LOL). ;-)

Fio.

Avatar for mommytojoshua
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 10:03am
Fio,

I went through a very hard time when I was starting to breastfeed. My DH was very supportive, and we managed to struggle through it. One of the things that helped us to stick with breastfeeding, ironically, was the free formula that we received by the case in the mail. When I was really down the first few weeks, my DH would pull out a can and we'd read the ingredients. Many had coconut and palm oil in them, which you correctly note are the cheapest fats available. Also, there were formula recalls during our earlier weeks that helped us to stick with it.

Now I'm so glad that my little boy has recieved the best possible nourishment that I could give him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 10:09am
Wow! I must say, that's the first time I ever heard someone say the free formula helped them stick with it by NOT using it! :-) LOL...

Kudos to you!

Fio.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 10:16am
To answer your questions:

I can't be sure there aren't bovine diseases that may jump the species barrier, but with human milk, there is no species barrier to jump. If it infects humans, it infects humans - no debate there. I'll take the maybe over the certainty of communicability of unknown diseases (if they are present, of course). I wouldn't use soy formula unless medically indicated as my research has indicated it is not a good option in most cases.

Also, I don't know what a "squick" factor is (LOL), but I assume you meant that it would "gross me out" - no that's not it at all. It's a safety issue - I don't want to expose myself or my family to unknown diseases that could be present in human secretions. These could be present due to incomplete testing, or just the fact that we don't know to test for such a thing. If I was able, I would donate my own blood to be stored for surgery, etc. in the event I needed a transfusion. Unfortunately, last time I had surgery I was unable to do this and very unhappy about it (it was sort of emergency surgery and I was pregnant).

As for this: "That is true...but formula doesn't self-regulate and adjust in any way whatsoever...so here I have to say I see this as one of those "human milk doesn't have advantages...but pasteurized human milk and formula end up at a disadvantage comparatively"

Well, I'm not going to get too much into the semantics game there - but I do agree with the gist of what you are saying, I think. I would just word it differently to say that the fact that BM self-regulates and adjusts, etc. is an excellent advantage of BM.

-Deb

 

Avatar for mahogny
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 10:52am
"I do not wish for me or my family to receive human secretions from others. "

I don't know why, but this phrase made me ROFLOL!!! I think it was the term "secretions". Technically, bm is a secretion, but when I hear the term I always think of nasal secretions or vaginal secretions.


Here, want a bottle of mucus from a mucus bank?


ROFLMAO!!!


sorry...


Sarah

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