How the Internet has helped millions of mothers find the support they need to raise their children amazes me daily. I’m in awe of how this open network of people has evolved due to the sheer determination of countless individuals and how it continually empowers people in every corner of the planet.
September 24-30th is International Milksharing Week. The concept of sharing breastmilk with a child other than one’s own is not a new one. Wet nurses have had formal and informal relationships to mothers unable to nurse their young since the time of the pyramids. As we’ve lost ties with old ways, grown fearful of germs, and depended more and more on commercialized medicine to dictate what is safe and what isn’t, the idea of milksharing slipped from the mainstream and was frowned upon.
Over the past ten years this has changed dramatically. Groups such as Eats on Feets have sprouted Facebook fan pages so that moms with breasts abundant with milk for can share with infants in need around the world. There are groups in almost every major city you can name and despite stern lectures from the FDA, milksharing is changing the lives of families.
This post from breastfeedingsymbol.org shares a story of a child who enjoyed the milk from over 20 different donors up until the age of 2. Does it get any better than that? Strangers, mothers, working to help change the face of health on our planet.
What I’ve found particularly interesting is that everyday individuals are doing the work of established milk banks to connect nursing mothers and those in need. The world wide web has made it possible for determined people to do the work of large organizations. Information on how to milkshare safely has equipped people with the confidence they need to move forward and create change.
I’m desperately proud of how these mothers; both the ones who donate and ones who accept. While politicians go back and forth about health care reform, we’re busy making true strides to preserve the next generation’s health. We may not have millions of lobbyist’s dollars but we do have influence and that has made all the difference.
Learn more: http://www.worldmilksharingweek.org/