Advanced search

to wonder why my breast milk is good enough for my baby but not for anyone else's?

(111 Posts)
entropygirl Sat 20-Aug-11 16:22:21

I wanted to donate breast milk but found out I would be disqualified due to having a blood transfusion after labour. Noone ever suggested to me that I should not breast feed because of the transfusion, so it seems my milk is safe for my baby but not safe for anyone else's baby. This seems outrageous to me! If breast milk is such an asset, particularly for prem babies, then why disqualify people based on the stupidly tiny chance of blood transfusion generated vCJD when there is not even any evidence the disease can be transmitted through milk?

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Sat 20-Aug-11 16:23:26


SauvignonBlanche Sat 20-Aug-11 16:33:40


Ryma Sat 20-Aug-11 16:34:52

so you bf you baby, but cant donate to others??

HarrietJones Sat 20-Aug-11 16:37:44

I cant donate either due to blood transfusion. I didnt think of it in this context, just they are vv careful what they give other peoples babies

entropygirl Sat 20-Aug-11 16:42:12

Ryma - yes that's right. I just can't wrap my head around a risk that is sufficiently bad that there is no option when it comes to other babies but so insignificant it wasn't worth mentioning when it came to mine....
I'd pretend Im worried for my DD but in reality I just wanted to do something to cheer myself up and help the local hospital after all the help they gave me and was upset to have the rug pulled from under my fantasy.

Ryma Sat 20-Aug-11 16:44:42

is that official? who told you? than your baby not supposed to have as well.

southmum Sat 20-Aug-11 17:05:40


Its up to you if you bf your baby after a transfusion (even though there is prob no risk whatsoever) but tbh I wouldnt want your bf milk just incase so can understand why you cant donate

unfitmother Sat 20-Aug-11 17:09:09

Hardly "outrageous", why not contact the milk bank and ask them to explain it to you?

SardineQueen Sat 20-Aug-11 17:09:54

I can see your point that it is a bit odd. That if they think there is a risk of consuming your breast milk, that they would offer you tests before you fed it to your own baby, or counsel you as to the risks and what they were before you decided whether to give BM or formula ie make an informed decision.

Did they counsel you or offer you tests?

RitaMorgan Sat 20-Aug-11 17:10:30

YANBU to think that if it is a risk, then they should have told you about it!

And if it isn't a risk to your baby, why is it a risk to anyone elses confused

entropygirl Sat 20-Aug-11 17:12:57

unfitmother - no need to ask, its in their faq

'There are no known cases of vCJD being transmitted via breastmilk or breastfeeding including donor breastmilk.'

What better reason could there be to disqualify people from donating....

unfitmother Sat 20-Aug-11 17:16:31

The fact that is not proven to be impossible?

SardineQueen Sat 20-Aug-11 17:18:35

Well the key is whether the OP was offered tests before BF her own baby, or talked to about the transfusion and the risks it presented in BF her own child, so that she could decide whether to BF or not.

OP did that happen?

stickylittlefingers Sat 20-Aug-11 17:19:00

was your baby premature? I wonder if it's because the babies they'd be giving the milk to might be particularly vulnerable, whereas your own was not?

SauvignonBlanche Sat 20-Aug-11 17:19:06

It is a little understood condition so hence the extreme caution - it's nothing personal so don't let it upset you, I'm sure you can help in other ways.

Casmama Sat 20-Aug-11 17:24:30

My guess is because if a child was to contract a disease as a result of drinking donated milk then the parents could presumably sue the hospital whereas it would, I imagine, more difficult to sue them if you passed on a disease to your child. I don't actually know but guess it is more about financial liability than anything else.

SummerRain Sat 20-Aug-11 17:24:38

Actually there is some evidence that vCJD can be transmitted through milk (it has potentially occurred in sheep and cattle with BSE which is the prion disease from which vCJD originated)).

There are also the risks of other transmitted diseases which were not picked up by the screening process.

Donated breast milk has enough ethical issues surrounding preventing many people from accepting/donating, the damage that would be done by a tiny prem baby contracting an illness because of donated milk would irreparably damage the entire system.

You also can't donate blood, by your reasoning that means they're saying the blood was good enough for you but isn't good enough for another person who needs it. In fact what is being done is ensuring that if a contagion were to enter the blood bank it could only be passed to one person, not multiple third parties.

That blood saved your life.... be grateful for that instead of picking holes in a system that has been designed to ensure the utmost safety of people like you who receive donated blood/milk/tissue.

SardineQueen Sat 20-Aug-11 17:26:51

"You also can't donate blood, by your reasoning that means they're saying the blood was good enough for you but isn't good enough for another person who needs it."

But if there is something in your blood, then you have it.

If there is something in the OPs milk, then her baby could catch it ie a different person who would not otherwise have it.

So that is not a good analogy.

I want to know if the OP was talked to about the risks of BF her own baby after the transfusion, so that she could make an informed choice whether to do so or not. That is key as to whether OP is BU or not.

SardineQueen Sat 20-Aug-11 17:28:27

Because if they didn't say anything to OP about risks for her own baby and just let her go ahead and BF without a word, and then told her that her milk may be contaminated and was therefore not suitable for donation, then she is most definitely not being U.

SardineQueen Sat 20-Aug-11 17:30:08

Oh in fact it's in the OP:

"Noone ever suggested to me that I should not breast feed because of the transfusion"

So OP is most definitely not being U. They should have discussed these risks with her before allowing her to BF her own baby, not let her feed her baby and tell her later that her BM may transmit a fatal disease.

StrikeUpTheBand Sat 20-Aug-11 17:32:14

I understand what you are saying. The irony was not lost on me that I wasn't allowed to donate blood. The reason that I wasn't allowed was because I received blood products myself! From the same people I was wanting to donate to!

entropygirl Sat 20-Aug-11 17:32:42

To clarify - noone mentioned the risk to me wrt my own baby (who was full term). I reject the idea that prem babies are more at risk from vCJD than full term babies as it kills adults as easily as children. As for being cautious, obviously if they have nice 'clean' milk (or milk only contaminated with one of a million things they don't check for) coming out of their ears then obviously don't take it from transfusion patients, but this doesnt seem to be the case. So the real question is whether given a choice of no breast milk for your baby or breast milk from someone with a microscopically increased chance of vCJD over the (unscreened) general public, which would you choose? Or more importantly should you get the choice which is currently unavailable.

duchesse Sat 20-Aug-11 17:35:38

I guess they are on the whole giving donated milk to very very tiny and sick babies, and if you have ever hung out in a NICU you would have seen them treat feeds for these babies like medicine- double-checking quantities and provenance with a colleague before feeding (usually through a naso-gastric tube). Because these babies are so very tiny and sick they cannot take any chances with it and your transfusion was quite recent. I know it seems perverse but they cannot take any chances.

SardineQueen Sat 20-Aug-11 17:39:56

But OP is allowed to take chances with her own baby, to the point that no-one even bothers telling her there may be a risk?

That is illogical and wrong IMO.

Either the milk is potentially contaminated or not. If it is, they should have talked to her about the risk and allowed her to make an informed choice whether or not to BF her own baby.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: