TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez to address the growing practice of breast milk sharing – by providing new mothers with information about breastfeeding and casual milk sharing – was approved today by the Senate.
“There are so many health benefits that are derived from breast milk. Increasingly, we are finding that new mothers who cannot produce it or have low production are turning to casual milk sharing operations, some of which can be found on the Internet,” said Senator Weinberg. “It is important that new mothers are aware of the extraordinary nutritional benefits of breastfeeding but also of the facts around casual milk sharing. By providing this information to the public, we will hopefully protect against health hazards and encourage a safer process both for mothers obtaining milk and their babies.”
The bill (S-1208) would require the Commissioner of Health to establish a public awareness campaign to advise pregnant women and new parents of the benefits of breastfeeding, and the legal protections and public and community supports for nursing mothers. The campaign would also provide facts about informal milk sharing and on the availability of nonprofit human milk banks accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America or other organizations. It would also provide information on the ability of nursing mothers to donate surplus milk for sick and premature babies.
“The positive results associated with human breast milk as the primary source of food and nutrition for infants are well established. Our goal is to provide expecting and new mothers with facts about the benefits of breastfeeding but also to avoid potential health problems that can develop from unsafe sharing practices,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden). “Expanding the accessibility of information about breastfeeding and the availability of human milk banks with established safety standards will better ensure the health of our residents.”
The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 40-0. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.