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Human Milk for Human Babies

Human Milk for Human Babies is a global and commerce free initiative. Pregnant in Dubai had not heard about this group and initiative before HM4HB UAE wrote on our Facebook wall. We had heard about donating breast milk to preemies at hospitals, but never sharing of breast milk in the way that HM4HB encourage. We contacted Brooke, which is active in the group, to learn more. Here are her answers.

Can you tell us about HM4HB and the UAE group?
HM4HB is a network of online community pages facilitating access to human milk for human babies and children. The pages provide a space where women can share their milk in a safe, ethical manner and where families can make informed choices.
By informed choices we mean a choice made by competent individuals, free from coercion that takes into account sufficient information to make a decision. This information should include the benefits and risks of a course of action, as well as taking into account what alternatives are available, and an individuals’ intuitive feelings on the subject.

HM4HB is a commerce free space so we do not support the sale of human milk.

The UAE page on Facebook started in March and has gone from strength to strength. We now have over 120 people who follow the page and we have requests and donations starting to roll in. The UAE page covers all of the UAE and all types of donation including wet nursing, on off donations and ongoing requests, for example. We also focus on all things breastfeeding so we include links to workshops in the UAE, local groups, online articles and new information.

How does it work?
It is pretty simple. You go to the HM4HB UAE page and look through the discussions tab. It is there that you’ll find all offers and donations. You can also post on the wall and start discussions with other mothers. If you want to remain anonymous you can send us an e-mail us at HM4HBUAE@GMAIL.com and we can post your offer or request for you.

If you see someone who is a potential match you contact them yourselves and organize the collection or drop off between each other.
Expectations of your milk sharing experience will vary depending on the family shared with and the donor. You can work out the details together until you are satisfied. Openness and honesty is expected, as well as full disclosure, on the part of all parties involved. The principles of informed choice are of utmost importance in the context of peer-to-peer milk sharing.

Do you work together with hospitals and/or clinics?
We have been in touch with local breastfeeding supporters and would love to one day be in contact with hospitals and clinics, but right now since we are only just starting out we haven’t had the opportunity to develop those relationships yet.

Is it mainly donating milk to preemies and newborns?
A baby or child of any age can receive or donate milk. The offers and requests are totally parent and baby led.

Having or wanting breast milk, the way to approach?
The best way to start the process of receiving or donating milk is to visit our page. Once there you can find offers or requests and then speak to the family directly. You can also ask questions or look at the information on our page regarding breast milk donation.

Is it safe to give my baby someone else’s breast milk? How can I be sure?
Full disclosure reduces risk. Suggested points of discussion can include medications, alcohol and drug use. In many countries, testing for infectious diseases is done during routine prenatal/antenatal care.

You may be able to consult a health care provider to obtain further testing if desired. Some diseases to consider are HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, HTLV, as well as cytomegalovirus (CMV) and tuberculosis. You can ask for copies of those test results. If you cannot get a complete picture of the health of your donor, one option is to look into at-home pasteurization. There is information on our site regarding the safety of breast milk and home pasteurization.

What about milk sharing in Islam?
We realize that providing another mother’s milk to your infant will have implications in terms of Islamic milk relations. While most Muslim mothers donating to or receiving milk for babies in need are not doing this specifically with the intention of fosterage, it is important to know the legal implications of milk sharing. The most noteworthy being that milk siblings are not permitted to marry one another.

HM4HB does not get involved in these matters as we serve only to provide a forum for donor and recipients of breast milk to meet.
It is up to each family to research and assess the Islamic laws in this matter. HM4HB administrators encourage you to do your own research when questions of legality arise, if you require more information, to consult with local religious authorities on matters of milk sharing.

If you want to know more about HM4HB UAE please visit their web page or contact them on HM4HBUAE@GMAIL.com.

Other useful articles from Pregnant in Dubai

  • Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding, by Dr Parviz Rashvand, Synergy Integrated Medical Centre click here
  • Breastfeeding Friends: a Non-Profit Voluntary Breastfeeding Support Group Based in Sharjah click here
  • Breastfeeding Q&A Dubai: a Support Group for Breastfeeding Mums click here

Article courtesy of Pregnant in Dubai.




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