Breastmilk is a hot commodity! Wired reports that there is a booming black market in breastmilk. People are willing to pay quite a bit to get breastmilk, whether for infants or themselves. In the Bay Area, there are collectives (in the Bay Area, contact bayareabreastmilk.com) for free sharing, and non-profit organizations that sell screened donor milk (San Jose Milk Bank www.sanjosemilkbank.com). Unscreened milk for sale can be found on the new website Only the Breast, or via word of mouth. Screened donor milk can sell for about $4 an ounce, and unscreened milk typically sells for $1-3 an ounce. Many mothers are turning to selling milk to make a little extra money for their family. Some mothers stand to make nearly $20,000 in a year!
If you need shared or informally sold breastmilk, be sure to screen your donors carefully and choose women you trust. Jezebel reports Stanford University researchers examined 1,091 women who applied to donate milk and found 3.3% were rejected for having syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human T-cell lymphotropic virus in their blood.
Breastmilk is best for baby, especially in the first weeks, but sourcing and using donor milk requires careful evaluations of the pros and cons, including expense and risk of disease. I encourage every pregnant mama to consider her options for supplementing her baby and have a plan in place. Even second or third time mamas may find that they need some supplementation for their baby, and it's much easier to obtain the supplement if you already know what you want to feed and where to look for it.