Breast milk banks and milk sharing have been around for years, but actress Alicia Silverstone may be the first to start a program for sharing vegan breast milk.
Silverstone, the mother of 2-year-old son Bear Blue, has been a vegan since 1998 and started the milk sharing program, Kind Mama Milk Share, to help vegan mothers who don’t produce enough milk or who want to share.
Alicia Silverstone was inspired to start the vegan breast milk sharing group, according to her blog The Kind Life
, after a friend who had had breast reduction surgery was unable to produce enough milk for her baby. The friend reached out to the community for help, but became concerned about her lack of knowledge of potential donors’ lifestyles.
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“A lot of women unfortunately have a similar struggle, and there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to give their babies the most amazing start in life with clean, mean, glorious breast milk,” Silverstone said on the blog. “And because we are a community of beautiful souls who recognize the importance of food as health, I say we help support those mamas and babies who need a hand during one of the most important times in their lives.”
While many studies have shown that breast milk is a healthier choice than formula, milk sharing is somewhat controversial. It’s a growing practice that can carry benefits but also risks for babies if proper screening isn’t done, according to Parenting.com
"We support breastfeeding, but if you can't nurse, we recommend breast milk from a milk bank, or that you use formula," Ari Brown, M.D., told Parenting. Brown is a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics and author of Baby 411. "Even if you have a good friend who wants to donate milk, you can't guarantee that it's free of infections, like HIV,” Brown said. “Breast milk is a bodily fluid, just like blood. Would you be willing to give your baby a blood transfusion without first having it tested?”
Some Twitterers aren’t sure about Silverstone’s program, either:
But readers of Silverstone’s blog shared stories of their troubles to find suitable breast milk for their babies and thanked her for her help.
“I love this idea!” JRDavis777 commented on the blog. “My milk ran dry at 3 months, and we had to take up formula. It was hard enough already, but then it turned out our baby has major food allergies and couldn't tolerate the formulas. Now she's on an absurdly overpriced formula that hasn't done as much for her as I would like. Every day I wish I could find a healthy, vegan momma with an extra supply that she's willing to share. Maybe this service will help me do that!”
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