HM4HB

I’ve been struggling to keep up with Keira’s bottles that I have to take to daycare. She eats about four ounces every time she eats and usually goes through 16-20 ounces a day at daycare. I only pump about 14 ounces a day. 😦 I sent a bottle of formula with her to daycare just to see how she would handle it. It was Enfamil Premium and I used a single serve packet that I was sent from Enfamil as a sample.

It was pretty easy to do – pour in water (I used bottled water), add the powder from the packet and shake. I labeled it as such (formula) and told her day care teacher Mrs. Teresa about it and asked her to write down how she took it. I wondered about it all day and didn’t have time to call and check. I was relieved when I went to pick Keira up that she took it without any fussing and it didn’t cause her to have gas or any spit ups.

I was happy but at the same time sad because I fear that soon I will have to start supplementing her bottles everyday during the week. A friend from church offered a few cans of unopened formula a while back and I no, I may rethink my answer. I also checked out something else I heard about on my birth board from Baby Center. HM4HB or better known as “Human Milk 4 Human Babies”.

HM4HB has a Facebook page for global networking. Yes – GLOBAL. How had I never heard about this? Once on their page you can go to the left and click on the link that says “Community Pages”. There you will find local pages for areas in Africa, Canada, The US, Middle East and lots of other places.

The point of HM4HB is milk sharing. Buying breast milk is illegal (so I’ve heard) but sharing freely is perfectly fine. Women pump their excess milk and freeze it and give it to moms who connect with them through these local pages who either have medical issues and can’t breastfeed, whose supply is low or for any other reason you can imagine.

So – I went a looking. I clicked on the Georgia page under the US in the community pages section. It’s amazing to see that so many women are willing to share their over-supply of breast milk! I was so excited to find this page and think that I could still get breast milk for Keira if I continue to not make enough. I was leery at first – thinking about some other woman giving my child some thing I can’t. I then thought – giving her breast milk period would be better than giving her formula at least.

I started to look at who was donating and where they lived and thinking about telling Jeremy about it when the germaphobe in me came out. I looked on their facts page and got a few of my answers but I Googled this question “What diseases can be transmitted through breast milk?” Ugh – the following is from the CDC (I trust these people).

What can happen if someone else’s breast milk is given to another child?
HIV and other serious infectious diseases can be transmitted through breast milk. However, the risk of infection from a single bottle of breast milk, even if the mother is HIV positive, is extremely small. For women who do not have HIV or other serious infectious diseases, there is little risk to the child who receives her breast milk.

HIV and other serious infectious diseases. Um….

IF you use HM4HB and find a donor you can ask them to take a blood test to check for any infectious diseases. I wonder if you could check the breast milk though without asking the person to take a blood test? So – I Googled that too. I found this article on a science blog about sharing milk. Which lead me to this website: Human Milk Banking Association Of North America. I learned something else new! 🙂

At the milk banking website I learned that there isn’t one close to here. I also learned that they mostly donate to hospitals for preemie babies and babies who for one reason or another can’t get their own mother’s milk. All donors are screened (just like when you give blood) and then are put into the system. It also says you can order human donor milk but you need a prescription. (Wouldn’t that be selling?)

They also process the milk – just like cow’s milk – by pasteurizing. They also check for bacterial growth and throw out milk that is contaminated. Milk can be frozen and shipped overnight to hospitals and women at home (if you have that prescription).

Anyway – I find that it’s neat for women who want to donate milk to have places too and that women who need milk can find it. My germaphobe self doesn’t see me posting to the HM4HB page any time soon but if I could get a prescription for the milk bank I’d jump on that! Only because it’s pasteurized and tested for bacteria and such. I wonder if that prescription would come from the pediatrician or my OB. Hmmm…

I found all of this really interesting and I hope you did too!! Let me know if you have ever used a milk bank or a HM4HB community page to donate or receive breast milk for your little one!

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