Have you ever gone to make something and realised you’re out of one key ingredient?
Usually, a quick Google search helps you locate a substitute and you’re on your way.
Or you just pop down to the shops and stock up on the missing ingredient.
What if you’re out of milk… and time?
Is It Okay To Make Breastmilk Brownies For School Cake Stalls?
A mother from the US asked this very question on Facebook – after having done it.
She sparked outrage after admitting she added her own breastmilk to brownies she was making for a school bake, after running out of what we can only assume was regular cow’s milk.
The woman, who remains anonymous, posted on Facebook after another parent discovered the secret ingredient and clearly wasn’t happy about it.
The original post was picked up by the Facebook page Sanctimommy and was reposted, going viral almost immediately.
“Sigh. Let me try for the 3rd time now!! Sigh. Stupid Facebook.
I need some advice. I made brownies for my school bake sale that had breastmilk in them. I didn’t have time to run to the store and didn’t think it was a big deal (some of those kids could use the nutrition, let’s be honest). And it wasn’t even that much.
One of the other moms found out and are blowing it way out of proportion. Idk what to do! Any suggestions? :(”
Then Came The Brownie Backlash…
While it’s debatable if the breastmilk brownies ever existed, there has been little support in favour of the mother’s substitution.
The responses have ranged from disgusted to sarcastically bemused.
“Once she uses her own eggs, then she can brag about nutrition. Amateur.”
“Let us spare a moment of silence for the children of Booby Crocker.”
Many commentators were quick to point out that brownie recipes don’t require milk.
Others were clearly very upset the woman thought including breastmilk was an acceptable idea.
“I would get very violent if I found out my kid ingested somebody elses breastmilk.”
“If you give my kids (or me) anything with your breastmilk in it without my knowledge – you’d better believe there’d be more than “blowing it out of proportion” going on.”
Many commenters showed concern about the safety of eating the breastmilk brownies.
The US Food And Drug Administration (FDA) advise against using unscreened breastmilk obtained through the internet or individuals. The FDA Guidelines for the Use Of Donor Milk state:
“If you are considering feeding a baby with human milk from a source other than the baby’s mother, you should know that there are possible health and safety risks for the baby. Risks for the baby include exposure to infectious diseases, including HIV, to chemical contaminants, such as some illegal drugs, and to a limited number of prescription drugs that might be in the human milk, if the donor has not been adequately screened. In addition, if human milk is not handled and stored properly, it could, like any type of milk, become contaminated and unsafe to drink.”
Renee Kam, IBCLC and BellyBelly breastfeeding expert says, “Provided people are informed about all the ingredients in the brownies, the addition of breastmilk could provide extra sweetness and the bonus of an immune boost.” Renee adds, “I don’t see safety as a significant issue but rather that people deserve to be informed about what they’re consuming.”
Breast Milk Safety Considerations
Peer to peer breastmilk sharing has grown in popularity over the last few years.
Mothers, desperate to avoid formula feeding for their babies, seek out women who have breastmilk to donate.
It is up to each donor and recipient to discuss screening tests, allergies, exposure to chemicals, handling and storage.
There’s a large element of trust and many mothers say they couldn’t have coped without having this option.
Donor milk banks are few in many countries worldwide, and restrictions on who can access this banked milk are strict.
However, even peer to peer donated breastmilk happens with consent. The parent who claimed to put breastmilk into brownies intended for public consumption made an assumption other people would find this acceptable, from an ethical and health perspective.
While we can only hope this anonymous breastmilk bandit doesn’t strike again, it’s an important lesson learned.
In case it needs to be said: if you’re missing an ingredient of a recipe, bodily fluids aren’t a good substitute, especially if you’re not going to be upfront about the ingredients.
Find out more about milk sharing in Donated Human Milk – Why It Should Be The First Alternative For All Babies.