Eats on Feets believes that:
- Breastfeeding is essential for both infant and global health.
- Breastmilk can be shared in a safe, ethical manner and families are capable of making informed choices.
- Sharing healthy breastmilk is a vital option, when necessary, in order to maintain exclusive breastfeeding.1
- There is enough breastmilk for all the babies who need it.
- Informed use of healthy donor milk is superior to artificial substitutes.
- Wet-nursing is an important part of milk sharing.
- Hand expressing (while maintaining clean technique) of milk does not involve the cleaning of parts and may thus be cleaner and safer than using a mechanical pumping system.
- Breastmilk from a healthy donor that is raw and fresh (not frozen) is closest to its natural state and therefore most beneficial.2
- Detailed health history and blood work can be discussed between donor and recipients in order to come to a mutual agreement for both long- and short-term sharing.
- Proper health screening can be done to reduce the risk of exposure to pathogens (gems).
- When full screening is not available, donor health status is unknown, or to reduce the potential risks of exposure to HIV and other pathogens, breastmilk can be pasteurized.3
- Individual rights should be respected in all decision making and milk sharing interactions. Those who participate in the sharing of breastmilk should be aware of their options so that they can make the informed choices that are best suited to their unique situation.
- Individuals and communities are in a key position to help meet the breastmilk needs of babies.
- In this document Eats On Feets™ utilizes the WHO definition of exclusive breastfeeding which includes milk from another breastfeeding parent (see ‘WHO guidelines for exercising feeding options’). In support of exclusive breastfeeding, in circumstances where wet-nursing is not feasible, informed milk sharing can be a viable option for families. Milk sharing can be seen as an extension of wet-nursing, and as a safe alternative for infant feeding and successful exclusive breastfeeding. EOF recognizes the benefits that direct breastfeeding from the breast bestows as well as the value of the milk itself. We may therefore use the words breastfeeding and breastmilk interchangeably. [↩]
- Please see ‘Why breastmilk’ for more information on the properties of breastmilk. [↩]
- See ‘How can breastmilk be pasteurized at home?’ for more information. [↩]