Yes, seriously, there are women who are making money right now selling their breast milk!
It’s a surprising trade – and a controversial one – but it has been on the rise in America and Britain over the last few years, largely thanks to the internet.
Lactating women are producing extra milk, storing it and selling it to new mums (and others, see below) through specialist agencies.
Imagine, you could make money from the milk you produce.
That would help pay for the cost of having a baby wouldn’t it?
Fascinated by the idea? Appalled by it?
- Why would anyone pay for someone else’s breast milk?
- Seriously? How can I get to these women who will pay for my milk?
- Could I set up a global business selling breast milk?
- So how could I make money selling milk through milk banks?
- …and how can I make money selling milk online?
- You would be surprised how much money you can make
- Hmm, but how do you know it’s safe? Who knows what’s in another woman’s milk?
- Could I set up a global business selling breast milk?
- I don’t like the idea of selling my milk, but is there something else I can do to help?
- Tell us what you think of selling breastmilk
Breast milk is in great demand as there are huge benefits in it for newborn babies.
- Breast milk is believed to reduce the risk of necrotising enterocolitis, which is the most common cause of gastro-intestinal related deaths in newborns.
- Breast milk also contains antibodies which help prevent infection and important nutrients for the babies health.
- Breast milk decreases the likelihood of babies contracting middle ear infections.
- It protects babies from infections generally.
- It also helps babies develop cold and flu resistance.
- For premature babies, breast milk decreases the likelihood of long-term health problems. E.g – high blood pressure.
The ‘healthy’ ingredients contained in formula milk are man-made and therefore don’t have the healthy natural nutrients that breast milk does.
Also, the living substances in breast milk are easily digestible and much healthier for the baby.
The popularity of selling breast milk has increased radically with The World Health Organisation confirming that
Many mothers who can’t breastfeed, for one reason or another, are turning to the online world and milk banks to get a supply of breast milk.
Breastfeeding rates, when the baby is first born, have improved says La Leche League Great Britain, a breast feeding support website.
An average of 74% of women begin to breastfeed initially when their baby is first born. But a large number of women stop after the first few weeks.
The La Leche League says, ‘The breast feeding rate has dropped to 47% at six weeks. Only 25% are breast feeding at six months’.
However, of the 25% at six months only 2% are breastfeeding exclusively. The majority of women at six months are using infant formula to feed their babies as well.
Many mothers don’t find breastfeeding easy and struggle with it, particularly when out of the house.
Some of the most common reasons for the significant drop in breast feeding, according to La Leche League, are:
- Difficulties in latching the baby
- Sore nipples and breasts
- Worries about milk supply
- Negative stories in the press about breastfeeding in public
- A mother who gives birth prematurely may experience a delay in her milk coming through
However, generally-speaking, even mothers who don’t breastfeed say they would like their babies to have breast milk if possible.
- Via milk banks
- Through online websites
Many women sell their breast milk online as they are over-producing and want to make a profit from the excess.
Rebecca Hudson, a mother of four, offered her breast milk to a milk bank, however they rejected it, saying they were full up.
So she turned to selling it online instead and has made some good money at it.
You can see an interview she did on ITV’s This Morning here.
She has embraced this virtual breast milk selling business as it’s an easy way to make some quick cash.
She originally tried to donate her excess milk to a local hospital, but was told they didn’t need it.
Hudson has said that she wanted to earn a bit of extra cash in time for Christmas and this is why she started selling her milk online via breast milk websites.
She sells her milk for £12.50 per 5 ounce bottle and has gained some regular customers.
Her customers are not just mothers needing to feed their babies, one of her customers includes a bodybuilder who uses the milk for nutritional purposes (ugh!)
So far she has made over £3,000!
Hudson says ‘I didn’t want to pour it away because it takes a lot of work to produce breast milk… it takes energy and time.’
You could do the same as Rebecca has, although if you read on you might wonder if it’s a good idea for you….
There are milk banks around that will buy breast milk but they tend to be in the US.
In the UK, so far, the milk banks that exist ask for free donations to help new mothers.
Milk banks in the US don’t pay a huge amount and the payment can take up to 90 days to go through. This is because the milk must be screened and checked that it is safe and healthy.
The process of screening the milk is extremely safe.
- Donating mothers must successfully complete a questionnaire about their medical history.
- They have to also undergo a blood test and the donor milk is rigorously tested.
Milk banks such as ‘Mother’s Milk Cooperative’ pay $1 per ounce and have received positive reviews.
Mother’s Milk Cooperative is the first paid milk donation programme in the United States.
Mothers donate their milk and are paid for it, so this way they can make easy ‘milk money’ from home and can fund their lifestyles.
Milk that is sent containing high levels of bacteria will not be accepted and there will be no payment.
Mother’s milk cooperative has received good positive reviews with one Mother commenting: “The perfect food being provided in a safe way to babies while respecting the mothers who put time and care into donation.”
We couldn’t find any UK milk banks that pay nursing mothers for their donation.
However, as the popularity of milk banks is vastly increasing (there are 17 milk banks across the UK) it’s possible that eventually paid milk banks will be set up here to.
As with everything else, breast milk has now gone digital with sales sites springing up.
Onlythebreast.com is a very popular online breast milk trading site. You simply post an ad and wait to get a response from individuals requiring breast milk.
The website is divided into sections referring to what stage the baby is. E.g 0-2 months, 2-6 months etc. Some ads are extremely personal, with a picture of the mother and her baby and a detailed list of the mother’s healthy diet.
Some mothers even offer references and offer evidence of their blood tests to reassure the individual buying her breast milk that they are buying from a healthy mother. However, the website doesn’t demand this (which we think is a shame – they should do).
It was founded by Glenn Snow and his wife Chelly. Snow’s wife asked him to set up the website after realising, from some simple searches online, the high demand for breast milk.
She found lots of searches from mothers asking where they could buy or sell extra breast milk. Snow says mothers can ask for medical documents, showing the donor is in good health, however it isn’t mandatory.
This means there is the danger that a mother’s milk is not free of disease and clean. Snow defends the website saying, ‘The mothers are very good at screening each other. A large percentage of the donors on our site have been milk bank approved or have undergone blood tests assuring the safety of their milk’
However, it is still a huge risk to buy breast milk for your baby online as proof of blood tests is not essential.
Prices vary when selling your breast milk.
In America, mothers are charging on average $2.50 (£1.60) per ounce.
Or to make an even larger profit, you could freeze your breast milk and sell it in bulk.
For example, you could earn $350 (just over £223) for 2,500 ounces.
This trade is expanding in the UK, where women are getting on board and selling their milk and charging on average £1 per fluid ounce, for fresh or frozen milk.
You could earn over £14,687 a year by selling 25 ounces a day at the average price of £1.60 – if you could produce this amount of milk!
This unusual business is gaining more and more popularity in the UK..
Now Onlythebreast.com has established a sister site in the UK with four fluid ounces being sold for £15.00.
The selling of breast milk has branched out in the social media world too…
As the demand for breast milk grows, some mothers are even selling their breast milk via social media. eg Facebook.
Similar prices are being charged with one fluid ounce going up for £1.
Mothers are connecting with other mothers to buy their milk
However, there seem to be no checks in place to screen the milk and make sure it is safe.
Mothers are being tempted to buy via social media and online websites because it’s cheap and easy. But there have been significant warnings against buying breast milk online.
The Department of Health has told mothers ‘not to buy milk online unless they can ensure it is safe.’
The Association for Milk Banking warns against ‘unregulated sales over the internet.’
The sharing of breast milk through popular websites does not come without risks and doctors, including the Department of Health, have warned against this practice.
Although, breast milk is a healthier option for a baby than infant formula, doctors in Germany have warned that it’s extremely dangerous to obtain breast milk online.
The Professional Association of Pediatricians in Germany has said, ‘Mothers unable to breast feed should not turn to the internet. Donors can be taking medicines or drugs, or have infectious diseases.
Nobody can check whether the unknown mother’s milk is harmless for the particular child. The milk’s quality could also be affected during its transportation.’
A study in America last year showed that some of the breast milk sold to mother’s was not healthy and contained high levels of bacteria, including salmonella.
This is very worrying and shows the potential dangers and risk to babies from buying breast milk via these profiting websites.
It is safer, if you need a supply of breast milk, to go through milk banks as they accept milk donors based on their medical history. They also require the donor to do a blood test to make sure the milk is entirely safe and free of disease.
Although here at moneymagpie we understand the need for making money and we encourage our readers to find new and easy ways of making money, we’re not very happy about this.
We think that popular sites such as Onlythebreast.com should take responsibility and call for sufficient checks to be done on all donors. This should be a standard requirement and essential as babies lives could be put in danger.
Currently Onlythebreast.com takes no responsibility for the milk supplied on their website and babies are unprotected. Studies show that milk that has been donated in the past via websites has been potentially very harmful.
Mothers buying breast milk online can never know if the milk is completely safe and this milk could be harmful to babies. Mothers will never truly know the health of the donor and their medical history.
The Department of Health encourages mothers to not buy milk online and warns of the dangers and heavy risks. They advise mothers to use milk banks instead as the online sites are unregulated.
The rise in the breast milk selling trade is clear from the hundreds of ads on onlythebreast.com and there is evidence that people are getting good money for it.
Onlythebreast.com currently has 14,000 members worldwide.
It’s a popular business and you can make a good profit as babies need 19-30 ounces of milk a day to be healthy from one to six months.
The selling of breast milk through online websites has increased as many mothers complain that buying breast milk from non-profit milk banks can be very expensive. They charge $5 an ounce.
Also, more women are buying breast milk online instead of visiting milk banks. This is because it is a more immediate process and you can get breast milk more quickly this way.
In addition, free milk banks offer priority to sickly babies and premature babies, therefore it can be difficult to get hold of and there is a shortage of it in these banks.
Yes there is.
If you’re interested in donating milk to milk banks they are always needing more.
Donating milk is incredibly rewarding and it’s a precious gift you can give to a baby.
Your milk can make a huge difference to a baby’s life and can help save the lives of premature and sick babies, whose mothers can’t breast feed themselves.
If you’re interested in donating your milk there are currently 17 milk banks across the UK and the United Kingdom Association for Milk Banking website can help you locate them.
However, none of them pay…they all ask for free donations. It’s something you should do if you want to help other mothers.
Below is a list of some of the milk banks we found in the UK:
- NHS Donor Milk Bank in the Southern General Hospital Maternity Unit, Glasgow
- Northwest Human Milk Bank in the University of Chester
- The Rosie Hospital, Cambridge Neonatal Unit -Addenbrooke’s NHS Trust
- Birmingham Woman’s Hospital Milk Bank
- St George’s Hospital, Neonatal Unit, Tooting London
- Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London
- Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, London
- St Peter’s Hospital Milk Bank, Surrey
- The Precious Drops Milk Bank, Bristol
- Southampton Human Milk Bank
- Medway Maritime Hospital Milk Bank, Kent
Have you made money selling your breast milk?
Do you think it’s a good idea or is it just yukky?
Should websites be forced to demand blood tests from sellers?
Should it all be regulated?
Tell us in the comments section below.