I know it’s called “liquid gold,” but did you know you could actually sell breast milk for cash?
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It may be a rather unconventional way of earning money online, but if you’re currently breastfeeding and have more than enough to last your child weeks or months, you can make some decent income on the side.
By deciding to sell or donate breast milk, you’re helping:
- Moms with low or no milk production
- Babies who are fostered or adopted
- Dads left with a newborn by himself due to maternal death or abandonment
- Moms who had a double mastectomy, which resulted in being unable to produce milk
- Moms with infectious illnesses, breast-related surgeries, and other disorders that could affect the amount or quality of milk supply
- Moms taking medications that leave their breast milk unfit for baby’s consumption
So, yes, there’s a market for breast milk, and breastfeeding moms are making a killing shipping out their breast milk to help fellow parents feed their babies.
Today, you’re going to learn all about selling your breast milk.
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Is Selling Breast Milk Legal?
As of 2020, there are no state or federal laws in place banning the purchase or sale of breast milk.
As such, your breast milk may be the only chance of babies who are unable to access an unlimited supply of breast milk.
And why not?
Breast milk has been proven to have the following benefits:
- Nutrition-packed content — Breast milk has essential nutrients not found anywhere else. For example, the yellowish, thick fluid known as colostrum helps a newborn’s immature digestive tract to develop during the first few days after birth.
- Protection against common infections — Breast milk has been known to protect babies from various viral and bacterial infections and thus improve survival rates within the first year.
- Reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, allergies, asthma, and diabetes
- Promote healthy weight for babies — Babies fed breast milk have higher amounts of beneficial gut bacteria, which impacts fat storage and may reduce the chances of obesity.
Where to Sell Breast Milk Online
If you’d have to choose only one place to sell breast milk online, go to Only the Breast, a classified ad website catering to breast milk buyers, sellers, and donors.
The good thing about this website is that they do everything they can to ensure that the breast milk they offer on their site is safe to consume. For instance, sellers on the site must complete a screening test from AccesaLabs (a kit costs $259), which tests for hepatitis, HIV, and other diseases that may carry over to the baby.
Once you’re cleared, Only the Breast will allow you to sell breast milk as little or as much as you’d like.
They have detailed instructions on how to use aseptic techniques to express, handle, store, ship, and freeze breast milk to prevent contamination, as well as detailed at-home pasteurization techniques.
Adhering to their guidelines increases your chances of selling your milk quicker.
The cool thing about this website is that breast milk is categorized based on age, mom’s diet, freshness, for premature babies, and so on. There’s even a category that says “willing to sell to men.”
Ads on Only the Breast are as descriptive as they can get. In one post, the mom says she’s selling dairy-free breast milk without peanuts or wheat consumed.
Breastfeeding Moms Unite is less active and less popular than Only The Breast, but this may be a good secondary option if you want to get more people to see your listings.
They also have helpful guidelines to ensure the safety of the breast milk that you sell, but donor screening is not required.
Aside from buying and selling breast milk, there are also ads for doulas, lactation consultants, wet nurses, and even surrogates.
3. Human Milk Banks
Human milk banks have several steps in place to ensure that the mom selling breast milk is healthy.
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Human milk banks pasteurize donated milk, which means some of the benefits of breast milk, such as antibodies, may be lost in the process.
In addition, milk is pooled from several mom donors, so they may not be very specific with the age range of babies the milk is suitable for.
In order to sell or donate breast milk, you must:
- Pass an interview or two about your lifestyle
- Pass physical tests to ensure you have no infectious diseases
- Pass screens that ensure breast milk is free of bacteria
Human milk banks also screen comprehensively for caffeine intake, smoking, and medication.
All breast milk bags are placed on BPA-free packaging and stored under the right temperature all throughout its shipment process.
The comprehensive steps taken to pasteurize the donor milk and screen for a bunch of things mean that breast milk from these places are higher-priced than those sold directly by other moms.
This is the main complaint of buyers who wanted bacteria-free breast milk but couldn’t afford the $4 per ounce breast milk price tag.
Some of the human milk banks you can sell breast milk to include:
- Mothers Milk Cooperative
- Human Milk Banking Association of America
- Tiny Treasures Milk Bank (Operated by Prolacta Bioscience)
- Helping Hands Milk Bank (Operated by Prolacta Bioscience)
4. Online Milk Communities
Warning: Selling your breast milk on online milk communities is done at your own risk. It’s technically legal but largely unregulated.
A simple Google search or a Facebook search can help you find groups and communities for buying and selling breast milk.
These groups or sites generally require you to register with your information to be a member. This is so the admins of the group or owners of the site can vet you and avoid spammers.
You’re normally also made to fill out an information sheet about you and your breast milk. For instance, you’ll be asked questions about your health, special diets, any recent viral or bacterial infections you’ve had (e.g., colds, respiratory infections, stomach flu, etc.), any medications you’re taking, how long you’ve been producing breast milk, and many other relevant questions.
Because they’re unregulated, online milk communities won’t usually require you to undergo blood tests and breast milk screening, but if you want your breast milk to be appealing to buyers, doing these tests are a good idea.
Familiarize yourself with the best ways to pump, store, and transport breast milk to minimize contaminations. Some lactating mothers even know how to pasteurize their breast milk.
Note that it’s best not to sell on Craigslist or eBay, as selling bodily fluids violates their terms and conditions.
How Much Can You Make Selling Breast Milk?
If you’re selling breast milk on Facebook or in Only the Breast, expect to earn an average of $2.50 per ounce of milk.
Babies need somewhere around 20 to 30 ounces of breast milk a day, so by using the average price, you can earn $30 to $75 a day, which can earn you up to $2,300 a month.
Because you are the one setting the price, you can price your breast milk higher or lower than the current “market prices.”
In fact, some moms actually sell them in bulk (for example, $400 for 2,500 ounces).
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If you want to go through a human milk bank, know that prices there are much lower.
Mothers Milk Cooperative pays only $1 per ounce and pays via direct deposit about 90 days after sending the milk. This time frame apparently is used to test your breast milk for quality before sending it over to the baby who needs it.
Here’s a bit of bad news: the money moms will make from selling breast milk is taxable, so it’s best to keep a record of all your sales and be ready for filing income tax.
Things to Watch Out For When Selling Breast Milk
While there are no laws governing the sale of breast milk, there are three things you do have to know about breast milk and its buy-and-sell industry:
Unfortunately, there are scammers who will take advantage of people’s desperation.
There will be some potential buyers who will suddenly cancel their orders after you’ve prepared everything for shipping.
Be careful when dealing with people online and do your due diligence.
While buying and selling breast milk is legal, The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend sharing or selling breast milk between two people, especially strangers, due to the potential risk of contamination.
Dirty breast pumps or containers and non-sanitized hands during handling can easily contaminate breast milk. Worse, if the breastfeeding mom is sick, she can pass on infectious microorganisms to the baby who’s going to feed on it.
The buyer has no way of knowing if the milk they bought is free from bacteria.
This is why it’s important to only sell breast milk in reputable marketplaces that have procedures in place to ensure that the breast milk is safe to consume before it is bought.
They normally have instructions on how to properly extract and store their breast milk so that it’s safe to sell.
3. Breast milk changes in composition depending on the baby’s needs
It isn’t common knowledge, but the chemical and biological makeup of breast milk changes every day to meet the ever-changing needs of a baby.
This is the reason why breast milk for 12-month-olds looks different from the colostrum you saw at the start of your breastfeeding journey.
Thus, newborn milk isn’t recommended for older babies, and vice versa.
Keep this in mind when listing your breast milk for sale; you want your breast milk to benefit the babies who need it.
The Bottom Line
Every mom has a different breastfeeding journey.
All moms want the best for their babies, but for a wide variety of reasons, they may not be able to breastfeed even if they wanted to.
When this happens, those who wanted to stick to their breastfeeding plan can choose the next best thing: to buy another mom’s breast milk so her baby continues to receive the benefits of breastfeeding.
Other Ways For Moms and Moms-To-Be To Earn Money
Are you looking for ways to earn income as a stay-at-home mom? Or are you expecting and looking for ways to earn extra cash while waiting for your bundle of joy? Here are some articles to help you get started:
Have you tried buying or selling your breast milk online? How did it go? Let us know in the comments!