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Parents Magazine slams breast milk donation & says to formula feed instead

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
A friend posted this elsewhere and I felt it important to post on MDC.

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This month's Parents magazine includes a Q&A section that basically slams breast milk donation, deeming it dangerous, even when the milk is from a known donor! I want to encourage everyone who disagrees to call, write, or e-mail Parents magazine. You can e-mail your thoughts/comments to support@parents.com

I have several arguments against their answer in the Q&A section. They recommend formula as a better alternative than donated breast milk. Why is this? Seems a little suspicious that formula manufacturers make up a large chunk of Parenting magazines' advertisement revenue: $$$. Also, they argue that even breast milk from screened donors may contain "harmful bacteria and viruses." Instead of offering up the idea of home pasteurization for milk recipients concerned about this, Parents magazine skips ahead to...recommend formula, of course. (No mention of the recent studies of dangerous contaminants being found in baby formula...)

I am disappointed that they didn't suggest 1.) having one's milk donor screened for communicable diseases, 2.) home pasteurization as an option for those worried about it, 3.) milk donation and wet/cross nursing as a healthy and beneficial practice. While not mainstream in the American culture, wet nursing and cross nursing have historical roots and are still practiced today - in other countries, as well as America.

Anyway, Parents mag will be getting a nice steamed-up letter from me, and I'm debating on canceling my subscription to prove my point. (At the very least, I won't be renewing it!)

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Here is the excerpt:

The question: "Is it safe to borrow pumped breast milk from my sister if I'm having trouble producing it?"

And, their answer:

Quote:
"Although you have seen the video of Salma Hayek breastfeeding a hungry baby in Africa (and we give her high marks for good intentions), the truth is that the risks of sharing human breast milk outweigh the possible benefits for healthy babies. Breast milk can carry diseases such a hepatitis B, HIV, and tuberculosis. (Milk from milk banks - used mostly for preemies- is pasteurized.) Even if you know that your sister is perfectly healthy, her milk could contain bacteria and viruses that are harmless to her baby because he shares her immunity, but are not as safe for yours. Your child wouldn't necessarily have the antibodies to protect her against those illnesses, and preterm babies are especially vulnerable, explains Parents adviser Jane Morton, MD., a clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Your best bet is to see a lactation consultant about ways to increase your supply, or you might try supplementing your milk with infant formula."
post #2 of 24
Harmful bacteria huh? What about formula with melamine in it?

Babies getting sick from disease-carrying breastmilk is only bad for babies receiving donations of breastmilk from other people? What about the woman's biological child who consumes the same woman's breastmilk?

I was just reading some articles on Parents' website the other day and thought to myself, "I'm glad I don't subscribe to this magazine". Now I'm REALLY glad!!!
post #3 of 24
I don't think their statement is all that far out there- even LLL officially discourages cross-nursing and milk sharing. Their official policy statement reads: "A Leader shall not ever suggest an informal milk-donation arrangement, including wet-nursing or cross-nursing. If a mother wishes to discuss these options, the Leader’s role is to provide information about the risks and benefits so that the mother can make her own informed decision based on her situation."

http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVJulAug95p53.html

That article from Leaven addresses many issues with wet nursing and cross nursing, including infection, but also milk composition and bonding isues.

None of this has kept me from donating milk privately and nursing babies who needed it whether or not they were mine, but it's not as reflective of the formula company's influence as you might think.
post #4 of 24
But don't the antibodies come from the breastmilk? Isn't that how "her baby" shares "her" immunity?

Apparently this woman has never read the WHO guidelines that breastmilk from another mother is recommended instead of infant formula.
post #5 of 24
Lame. Lame lame lame.
post #6 of 24
I personally think cross-nursing and wet nursing is normal for humans. I don't get the alarm bells ringing over it.
post #7 of 24
Just another symptom of boob-phobia.
post #8 of 24
I have never heard of that WHO recommendation. Do you have a link?
post #9 of 24
This is the commonly used quote:

According to the World Health Organization, artificial formula is considered the fourth choice for infant feeding. First choice is a mother breastfeeding her own baby, next is expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother, then breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank. Last is a breast milk substitute.

Here is the best I could find from WHO directly:

http://www.who.int/nutrition/publica.../en/index.html

"18. The vast majority of mothers can and should breastfeed, just as the vast majority of infants can
and should be breastfed. Only under exceptional circumstances can a mother’s milk be considered
unsuitable for her infant. For those few health situations where infants cannot, or should not, be
breastfed, the choice of the best alternative – expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother,
breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breast-milk substitute fed with a cup,
which is a safer method than a feeding bottle and teat – depends on individual circumstances."
post #10 of 24
Oh Lordy I bet stock up on formula then because I am almost 24 weeks pregnant with triplets and I plan to nurse AND let my sister supplement me with her breastmilk (I am still nursing my youngest who is 2 and I don't want to get a milk shortage once my next three arrive) Golly gee, which formula to buy? Maybe I should get the one with the most ads in Parents (just kidding by the way!)
post #11 of 24
.
post #12 of 24
My SIL just read this article to me over the phone. She's supposedly very pro-bf'ing but because of this article has changed her mind about wet nurses and all that. Totally frustrating. I stopped getting Parenting magazine because of their advice and articles. I got to the point where I was yelling at the magazine .
post #13 of 24
I just sent my letter with my experience of my friend's donation of her recently deceased son's pumped breastmilk to my own preemie baby before my delayed milk supply came in.
post #14 of 24
I hate Parenting Magazine. I throw it away whenever I see it in a stack of magazines.

Many years ago, I nursed a five-day-old foster baby who was with us for only 10 days.
post #15 of 24
I believe the OP said it was in Parents magazine, not Parenting. (Parenting is the one that has Dr. Sears on staff, isn't it?)
post #16 of 24
I saw this, and it made me : . Thankfully my subscription was a FREE one that I got when I purchased a Boppy. I do not plan on renewing once it's up, but I figured there would be an *occasional* useful article in there. Plus, I use magazines for scrapbooking.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanveann View Post
I believe the OP said it was in Parents magazine, not Parenting. (Parenting is the one that has Dr. Sears on staff, isn't it?)
I like Dr. Sears, didn't know he was related to Parenting. I still think Mothering is the best magazine in the world (and now I like American Girl - which I first hear about here years ago!). I have been known to buy a year's worth of old Mothering magazines and give them to family members when they have a new baby.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth View Post
Many years ago, I nursed a five-day-old foster baby who was with us for only 10 days.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanveann View Post
I believe the OP said it was in Parents magazine, not Parenting. (Parenting is the one that has Dr. Sears on staff, isn't it?)
That would be a shame if true. Parenting is worthless too.
post #20 of 24
Did you catch the little Q&A on how to breastfeed in public (A: as discreetly as humanly possible) in the same issue?
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