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Mums turn to internet to find breast milk

Australian mothers are turning to the internet to find breast milk for their babies as part of an international move back to wet nursing.


Human breast milk contains antibodies that help prevent illness and may boost intelligence and resistance to allergies.

But mothers using unscreened breast milk risk passing on illnesses including HIV and hepatitis, the newspapers said.

One woman who was unable to feed naturally used the internet to buy frozen breast milk, said other mothers abused her despite her insistence the milk was medically checked.

“I got lots of mothers telling me it was disgusting, (asking) how could I give another woman’s milk to my baby,” she said.

“Knowing she was sick when she was born, you just want to give them the best.” she said.

Breast milk banks

Marea Ryan, who runs the Gold Coast’s Mothers Milk Bank, one of only two recognised breast milk banks in Australia, said new mothers were forced underground to get breast milk because her bank and the other, in WA, offered only local supply.

“They (interstate mums) have to have a donor as a private arrangement; another mother who is happy to give them milk,” she said.

Breastfeeding Australia national spokeswoman Carey Wood said the association did not condone private milk-sharing arrangements and asked a Senate inquiry for a national network of breast milk banks in 2007.

“We’d recommend that people do not go through unauthorised breast milk donors,” Ms Wood said.

In the US, breast milk has sold online for up to $1.90 for 20ml.