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Social media is being used to encourage and facilitate the sharing of breast milk between mothers who wish to donate and those who are unable to breastfeed.
The group, Human Milk 4 Human Babies, has created communities in more than 50 countries, including within Australia.
The milksharing network describes itself as a “virtual village, comprising thousands of people from over fifty countries.”
“We use social media as a platform for local families to make real-life connections and come together as sustainable milksharing communities where women graciously share their breastmilk,” the group’s website states.
“HM4HB is built on the principle of informed choice: we trust, honour, and value the autonomy of families and we assert they are capable of weighing the benefits and risks of milksharing in order to make choices that are best for them.”
However, the practice of informally sharing milk has sparked warnings from health experts who advise against feeding babies breastmilk other than your own unless it has been properly screened.
In an interview with Nine News, Dr Ben Hartmann, who runs a milk bank at the King Edward Memorial Hospital for pre-term babies, described the informal sharing through social media as an uncontrolled process.