If you’re a mother, and you breastfed your babies, and then maybe decided to have a few drinks on the town, it’s possible that you ‘pumped and dumped’ –as it’s known in the biz.
Or perhaps you had too much stock in the freezer, and eventually you thawed out the packets and poured milk you couldn’t use down the sink.
If this is you, perhaps take a seat, because we’re here to tell you that you actually might have – literally – poured hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars worth of liquid gold down the toilet.
Tonight on The Feed on SBS 2 at 7.30, they look into this booming industry and why grown ups are partaking too.
Breast milk sharing/banking is no new concept. There are Facebook groups set up to help facilitate sharing and requesting between mothers for their children with thousands of women involved, buuuut what about selling it, say, to GROWN UPS?
Deep breath, let’s say it again… GROWNUPS ARE BUYING AND DRINKING BREAST MILK.
Just take a second to let that settle.
The fact is there’s a market and the market pays very good money for breast milk – like $100 a litre good, according to Australia's foremost breast milk economist Julie Veccio.
And if you think about it objectively, it kind of makes sense. We drink other animal’s milk like it ain’t no thang; cows’ milk, goats’ milk, sheeps’ milk, human milk – what’s the difference?
Plus, there are plenty of benefits of breastmilk for babies – perfect vitamin composition, easily digested, organic – so why not for adults?
The black market buyers claim it’s an elixir that can help sports performance, general wellbeing and ward off disease.
But there are a few issues – first up, the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine has published a paper that’s debunked a lot of the hype by identifying the minimal amount of protein in human milk, as opposed to cows’ milk.
Plus, there’s the all-important issue of quality control. On the black market, there’s no way to ensure sufficient sanitisation, refrigeration and transportation, which means contamination with the same bacteria that causes foodborne illness.
Then there’s the issue of pathogens, including hepatitis, syphilis and HIV, which can all be present in breast milk.
But the internet is the internet and where there’s a will there’s a way.
All we advise is if you absolutely must be a grown up drinking boob juice, be careful out there. And maybe don’t offer it at dinner parties.