As a staunch, long-time vegan supporter, Alicia Silverstone has decided that vegan raised babies (and their vegan mamas) deserve their own vegan breast milk share program. Silverstone has taken on this challenge with the launch of her Kind Mama Milk Share. There are various breast milk banks in the U.S., such as the National Milk Bank and Human Milk Banking Association of North America, not to mention many breast milk donation sites, but none of these breast milk shares are specifically vegan. Silverstone notes that while a mother in need of breast milk donations may be able to reach out to these services, it would be “Impossible to figure out what kind of lifestyle choices the donors had made.” Meaning, the milk donations may not be vegan, and that mothers dedicated to a vegan diet have the right to feed vegan breast milk to their babies. Silverstone goes on to say, “There’s no reason why [mothers] shouldn’t be able to give their babies the most amazing start in life with clean, mean, glorious breast milk. And because we are a community of beautiful souls who recognize the importance of food as health, I say we help support those mamas and babies who need a hand during one of the most important times in their lives.”
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Silverstone is asking women who are in need of vegan breast milk or who can donate vegan breast milk to comment on her blog, The Kind Life — so thus far the program is casual in nature, which makes for some possible complications. While it makes sense that a vegan mother would prefer vegan breast milk, keep in mind that milk banks screen and pasteurize donated milk, while casual breast milk shares do not. So, if you participate in a vegan breast milk share, you may get vegan breast milk, but you won’t know for sure that the mom who donated the breast milk is 100% disease-free, or if she smokes or drinks. Organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO) support unpasteurized donor milk but clearly point out that they only support it if the donor milk is disease-free — and disease-free is tough to prove within the limited resources of a casual breast milk share. Also consider that the donated non-vegan breast milk you get from a milk bank is still a healthier alternative to baby formula. Breast milk, vegan or not, gives your baby the very best start in life. Still, a vegan breast milk share is a good idea, and we hope that Kind Mama Milk Share will develop into a regulated vegan breast milk bank in its own right.