When you hear about informal milk sharing, how do you feel? If you have any background in transmission of infectious diseases through human milk, you probably cringe and feel repelled by the idea. If your child has ever needed human milk and you were unable to provide it yourself or get it from an established, regulated human milk bank, perhaps you feel almost euphoric that some woman was willing to take to the time and effort to express milk for your child. Maybe you’re vaguely aware that there are formally-established, strictly-regulated milk banks, and a loosely connected bunch of women who participate in milk sharing, but you feel confused by how the two models differ from one another. Maybe you’ve never heard of milk sharing, and you feel completely clueless.
I asked Emma Kwasnica to come on the show and talk about milk sharing because it’s a hot topic for supporters and skeptics. Some listeners will feel that her establishment of Human Milk for Human Babies Global Network makes Emma a villain; other will feel she is a hero. Some will come away feeling conflicted about the not-so-clear risk-benefit ratio. But no one will come away without feeling something.