A Facebook group encouraging mothers to share breast milk with other mothers who are in need has sparked controversy, with health officials warning about the risk of infection if proper precautions are not taken..
The Canadian group, Eats On Feets, has seen a quick increase in membership since it began its presence on the social networking site just a few weeks ago. The organisation has branches across Canada and aims to raise awareness of the problems faced by some mothers after birth, and the lack of milk banks in Canda.
Health officials have warned against sharing milk without precautions, citing risks such as unknown infection with a range of diseases including HIV and Hepatitis B and C. One doctor noted that milk should be screened and pasteurised before it is passed on to another mother, similarly to when donating through milk banks.
Mothers using the online space have expressed disappointment with the health officials’ criticisms, maintaining that all participant mothers are urged to have their blood screened before donating any breast milk. The group also encourages mothers to disclose whether they are taking prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter medicine.
The Alberta-based chapter has already matched eight pairs of mothers, with a spokeswoman saying, “It is usually a very personal connection that’s made.”