AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

What Breast Milk Is The Right Breast Milk?

In a developing world filled with baby formulas, breast pumps, certified milk banks and informal milk banks, it is hard to know what choice is the best when it comes to providing for your child.  A recent NY Times article discusses the benefits to breast milk and explores the differences between certified milk banks and informal ones.  The article quotes a gay male couple that use breast milk, from a stranger they found online, to feed their infants. Although the FDA discourages this type of milk market, the couple seems to be very fond of it.  Not only are the high prices and low stocks of the breast milk at certified and established milk banks that screen all their donors a turn off to many parents, but also the fact that these “safe” milk banks pasteurize their milk “because the heating process destroys some of the very substances — some of the milk’s immunoglobulin A, for example — that they are seeking in breast milk.”  The article has no answer as to what the best and safest way to feed an infant is, and no one does, it seems to be a personal decision.  This website, along with the NY times article,  is a good place to weight the pros and cons of formula, personal breast milk, and milk banks.  The Human Milk Banking Association of North America also gives lots of information about their screening and packaging processes of breast milk.


So what do you think the best way to obtain milk for your baby is if you can’t use your own breast milk?


Photographer: Mim Tasters
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  1. jk1234

    Wow! I never thought that there would be so many down sides to a formal milk bank. If you look at this site: it lists all the beneficial proteins, fats, carbs, and vitamins that are in human milk.

  2. dwil

    When I was a kid, I never was able to go to sleep without having my bottle of milk first. While I am no scientist, I don’t see a major issue with using formula instead of the traditional method. While it may seem unnatural and wrong, many parents choose this method. If one is not able to breast feed, forumla is a perfectly fine alternative.

    Here is an article that explains the benefits of using forumla.

  3. leahna

    Whether or not it’s certified or informal milk, there are many benefits of breastfeeding, as mentioned in the article I put above. Unfortunately, the US has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the industrialized world, so the milk banks might be a good thing.

  4. explodingllama342

    It seems illogical to pay so much money for milk that has been pasteurized, because even though that makes it safer, it destroys some of the substances that make breast milk so beneficial. On the other hand, you need to be careful with the safety of the breast milk being fed to the baby. With the high costs and possible risks, maybe it’s better to stick with formula?

    Or….they can do it themselves. Men can get hormone therapy to begin lactating. Men have mammary glands like women, except that women have hormones to activate them whereas men don’t. Introduce these hormones and voila! Lactating dad!

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