on PROLACTA and its "Human Milk Fortifier"
Today at 12:33pm
I feel it is important to have all the facts on hand before wildly singing the praises of Prolacta (as the original article does - how many times can you count the word "life-saving" associated with the Prolacta product ?). What everyone reading needs to understand (and what they may not) is that Prolacta is a for-profit company, which solicits donor milk from altruistic women (who are UNPAID for the milk they hand over), and that Prolacta creates its "life-saving product" from the ORIGINAL life-saving product --the breastmilk of these generous donor mothers ! Also worthy of note is the exorbitant cost of Prolacta's product. This is born by the hospitals AND by the parents fighting to save the lives of their babies in the NICU (or their insurance company may bear some of the costs, if they are very lucky). Does a family having to bear an approximate $10,000 cost for Prolacta's Human Milk Fortifier used for their baby during their NICU stay sound right to you ?
And what *is* their "human milk fortifier", exactly ? How is it processed ? How *do* they manipulate the caloric value of the donor milk to "suit very low birth weight babies" ? Some transparency, some justification of this high price to pay, is needed. Furthermore, is there any evidence available showing that VLBW babies fare worse if given their mother's breastmilk, ALONE ? ie, do we know that fortifier, of any kind, is truly necessary ? This is one of these examples of putting the cart before the horse; the medical establishment just assumed that fortifier was needed for these tiny babies, not realising that NEC could, perhaps, be far better kept at bay if these babies were exclusively fed their mother's milk (with no additional HMF), and that these babies could, indeed, grow and thrive on mother's milk alone. Did anyone verify that first ? This study is flawed, in that it should be comparing the babies being fed breastmilk + HMF to babies being fed *strictly breastmilk*. Comparing babies fed human milk + HMF to babies fed human milk + bovine-based fortifier is not a useful comparison. We forget that we must always compare the intervention (in this case, the addition of HMF) to the baseline (which is very low birth weight babies receiving *strictly* their mother's breastmilk). Yes, we are "saving" tiny babies earlier and earlier with the advance of technology, but there is evidence to show that the milk of mothers who give birth to premature babies is different, and already perfectly suited to the needs of their tiny baby, born too soon.
I beseech the medical community to explore this first, before unconditionally endorsing the Prolacta product, before touting it as "life-saving" at every turn. I also ask that any woman considering donating her breastmilk to Prolacta look into this company (and its ethics...) very, very closely prior to doing so.