If I had a preemie and couldn't pump enough milk, I would absolutely take donated milk from a milk bank, OR if I knew a friend (very well) and she had extra milk and was willing to donate it to me, I would likely take it. I think I would actually feel better taking it from a really good friend, then a milk bank.
As for adults - there are adults who have cancer (and I think there may be other diseases too) where breast milk actually makes a HUGE difference in the outcome of their disease, SERIOUSLY!! There is absolutely some amazing stuff in breast milk, and honestly, "science" has found some of the benefits, but there are clearly so many that I don't think "science" has come close to finding all of them yet. So, while it may be a fetish for some, I have seem ads where people are begging for someone to sell them some milk for their sick parent or spouse with cancer.
Mary: I have a pretty cheap pump too and was able to get twice as much pumping when my DS was a baby than with my first. I figure I just made a ton more for him as he's a big eater. But I'd totally get a nice pump if my insurance paid for it (not that I pump that much).
Adriana: I don't think I could do it either. Being a baby myself who never had breast milk once I guess I just have an easy time personally with the decision to use formula if BF'ing didn't work out for some reason. The only exception I would consider would be a preemie but hopefully I'd be able to pump my own!
Laurie: ITA that I'd feel more comfortable using someone's milk I knew but I still just don't know. I had no idea about the cancer patients - interesting!
The pump I had already been used through three kids (my sister and SIL) I am pretty sure the motor wasn't up to what it could have been... lol
I work in a pediatric icu and have had patients that received BM from a bank. I know at the bank they pasteurize the milk just like they do cows milk so that you can't catch anything communicable from the milk. But you do loose some of the nutrients doing that. I know they also do test the mother and the milk for stuff too. I would much rather use a credible bank than someone on CL. That's just strange.
Heather: I am already in that group haha
Mary: yes, if they were babysitting her and I was not present. It would calm and nourish her and give her some security if I was not there and she was upset. Wet nursing used to be extremely common.
As for the comment regarding another woman's milk going into a different baby - I am absolutely in favour of that. Human milk is far more beneficial than cow's milk, which is of course what most formulas are made with. In fact, it is a huge immune booster. My baby has my immunity from everything I have been exposed to - another mom will have been exposed to other illnesses and now my baby would benefit from that.
If you trust your donor, it is the best thing you can give your baby. In response to some of the comments above, pleae don't forget that formula is NOT 100% safe either. it can be contaminated extremely easily and is often recalled. I know there are situations where formula is necessary and I am not saying it is a bad thing.
As for babies gaining more on formula or cow's milk, cow's milk is super fatty to encourage the rapid physical growth cows need. Human babies need rapid brain growth, hence the entirely different composition of breast milk. I've done extensive research on this and if anyone is interested in discussing it further I would be happy to share.
The baby and mom I am talking about are an extreme case. She not only wasn't gaining, she wasn't growing, period. She's only moving into 3-6 month clothes after switching to a fatty milk. (She is 14 months old now) She is going to be in therapy for delays and has to have blood tests every few months. And they really believe it was her mom's milk because as soon as she was weaned, she started getting bigger, stronger and healthier, happier... She was so fussy and its because she was always hungry. She sleeps all night instead of waking up screaming and starving. Sometimes it does happen that a woman has lousy milk. And this mom was donating milk to other babies, not knowing what was going on. That may be rare but obviously it can happen and that's what makes me nervous.
I have one exclusively formula fed baby and one 95% breastfed baby (he got one bottle of formula a day after three months bevause i couldnt pump). They are both equally intelligent, athletic, and healthy. Each has been sick only 2 or 3 times. The only difference I have seen is that my formula baby was extremely fussy and I believe that's because formula is harder to digest and her tummy always hurt. For me the biggest positive of breast milk is that it's easy to digest and generally makes for less fussy babies (in my experience anyway). But that's not enough for me to trust that anyone but me is doing what they should and I wouldn't trust someone else's untested milk through a swap or private donation.