Lurking in a corner of the World Wide Web, there lives a rough-hewn site where lactating women post ads with alluring titles like “Producing Like a Holstein—Have Plenty $1/oz” or “Athletic, Young Mom with Excess Creamy Breastmilk!! $2/oz” or “Fresh Supply from My Breast to Your Lips! Price: $60.” The site, Only the Breast, looks a lot like Craigslist, except it sells just one thing: breast milk. There’s a surprising variety of the stuff, though, including vegan, of a particular vintage (i.e., when the donor’s baby is 3 months old, 6 months old or 9 months old—mothers buying donor milk like to match their baby’s age with the baby of the donor mom), milk-on-clearance or even milk targeted to male bodybuilders and men with fetishes.
Only the Breast, with 45 million ounces of milk coursing through its classifieds at any given time, has become a virtual bazaar connecting mothers who are unable to breast-feed with mothers who have excess human milk. This free-market model has wedged itself between traditional nonprofit human milk banks, neighborhood milk-swapping sites and the newest bio-science companies looking to make a killing from baby’s first meal.
Julia, a 22-year-old mother of a 2-year-old and 7-month-old in Fort Worth, Texas, says the site has been a financial blessing. “I’m a stay-at-home mom,” she says. “The extra money lets me feed my family an organic diet and sign my daughter up for dance classes.” As “Organic-Dairy-Soy-Gluten Free Mommy,” she sells her excess milk for $3 an ounce. (Julia and the other lactating mothersNewsweek spoke to asked that their last names not be used because they did not want to be judged by some friends and family members.)
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