Manitoba moms making breast milk connections online
Manitoba mothers are connecting with each other online to promote the sharing of breast milk—despite a recent warning from Health Canada about potential dangers connected with the practice.
Karen Fisk says breastfeeding her son Shane is the best way to keep him healthy, but she may not always be able to give him her milk.
"I have a really hard time keeping weight on when I'm nursing and I get to a point where I start to get ill," Fisk says.
Fisk is considering taking breast milk from her husband's relative. Candice Fisk has donated her milk in the past and she recently started the Manitoba chapter of Eats on Feets – a global milk-sharing network.
The eatsonfeets.org website directs women to regional Facebook pages, where they can connect with other moms, linking moms who need breast milk with women who have more than enough.
In more than month, the Manitoba chapter's Facebook page has attracted more than 120 members. However, the idea has its share of critics.
Health Canada issued a warning in November advising mothers to avoid obtaining human breast milk for their babies through the Internet or directly from other individuals because of possible health risks.
A concern is that complete medical information about the milk donor is not known and the milk could be contaminated with viruses such as HIV.
While the Eats on Feets site provides information about contamination and pasteurization, some say milk sharing leaves too much to chance.
"People have secrets," says pediatrician Grant MacDougall. "They may be on a particular medication… So maybe your kids are getting breast milk with antidepressant in it."
Still, Karen Fisk says while something may go wrong, the benefits of breast milk over formula outweigh the risks.
Candice Fisk adds that the website merely provides a forum for women to connect with each other. In the end, it's up to the moms to decide what is best for them and their baby.
- with a report from CTV's Karen Rocznik