Mother's Milk Industry Skyrockets in Hospitals, on Facebook

| by Michael Allen

Mother's milk banks were struggling to get the word out last year, but this year they are struggling to keep up with orders from hospitals, which are using the donor milk for pre-term infants.

The donor milk reportedly goes to mothers with delayed lactation. The donor milk tides them over until they can star breastfeeding in their own, according to USA Today.

Outside of the hospitals, moms are sharing each other's breast milk as well, via Facebook groups.

However, that donor milk does not undergo the same safety measures as the hospitals, so moms are cautioned if they don't know the donor moms. 

USA Today reports:

About 2.18 million ounces of breast milk were distributed through the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) in 2011... that's up from 1.5 million ounces in 2009..

Getting milk from a milk bank requires a prescription from a doctor. A pediatric ICU unit will order the milk, and it's sent overnight by mail, arriving frozen, Sakamoto said. Donor milk is screened for bacteria and viruses and then pasteurized.

That medical scrutiny is the reason that the milk from banks is not free.

Milk banks charge $3 to $5 per ounce, and that pricing is based on blood testing of donor moms, screening of the donated milk for bacteria and milk pasteurization...

350 women are overseeing more than 120 individual Facebook (milk bank) pages for every U.S. state and 52 countries.