Would you sell your breast milk?
This thought never even crossed my mind until I saw a posting on Craigslist from a woman who wanted to unload some of the bottles and bags from her freezer. Talk about a renewable resource, and it's a limited opportunity - there are not too many women out there who are producing enough milk for their own baby plus others.
But - I am.
We have a deep-freeze and a kitchen freezer full of milk, along with a bin in the hospital's freezer, and I will continue pumping to maintain my milk supply for when Baby M comes home. We are starting to run out of space to store the "liquid gold" but I am leery of pumping and dumping - this stuff is truly valuable for babies and modern science can't replicate it.
I checked and it IS legal to sell breast milk in my state. Is it any different from "donating" plasma or eggs? Donors get paid in both of those situations; in the case of eggs, they can get paid quite handsomely. I think what I'm struggling with is that banks for both plasma and eggs are doing the paying; established breast milk banks are truly donation-based and mothers are not compensated financially. If you sell your breast milk you are dealing with an individual who for whatever reason cannot produce enough milk herself, and might be desperate to provide the benefits of human milk to her baby. It feels almost like I would be taking advantage of someone in that case.
Still, if I were to sell my milk, shouldn't I be compensated for supplies (breast pump rental, storage bags or bottles, labels) and time (15-20 minutes eight times a day adds up to several hours, not to mention that I'm losing sleep when pumping every three hours at night)? It is possible to donate it, where it tends to go for preemies whose mothers cannot provide milk for whatever reason, and that's an awfully noble cause, especially given the situation we are in now. But does it make more sense to give away something so valuable, or try to get compensation for it?
This isn't something that I'm seriously considering at this time, but check back when I have to start throwing food away because nothing more will fit in my freezer...