ABC News’ Abbie Boudreau reports:
If there’s one thing actress Alicia Silverstone isn’t “Clueless” about, it’s promoting her ideas about healthy living. She’s been an advocate for the raw food diet, pre-chewing her infant son Bear’s food mouth-to-mouth, and now, she’s helping a special group of mothers who can’t breast-feed.
She’s launching a breast milk sharing project for vegans only, for women who can’t breast-feed who’d like their babies to get breast milk from moms who eat zero animal products.
Silverstone, 36, writes on her blog, “The Kind Life,” “Because we are a community of beautiful souls who recognize the importance of food as health, I say we help support those mamas and babies who need a hand during one of the most important times in their lives. It’s why I’m starting the Kind Mama Milk Share, a way for moms to connect with other moms in their area. If you have milk to share–post it! If you are in need of milk–post it! Think of all the babies we can help raise together!”
Silverstone says her breast milk brainchild was the inspiration of Rachel Holtzman, a vegan friend, who had breast reduction surgery a few years before her pregnancy and was having trouble making milk for her newborn son, Levi.
“You’re in this incredibly vulnerable place,” Holtzman, 31, of Brooklyn, N.Y., told ABC News. “I sought out vegan breast milk, because I come to this from a food is medicine standpoint.”
So Holtzman reached out to Silverstone for help, and donations poured in.
“Women have just been incredibly generous and I’m hoping that with their help, we’ll be able to keep Levi exclusively breast-fed for as long as possible,” said Holtzman.
Some experts say while Silverstone’s heart is in the right place, her breast milk sharing initiative should include screening the milk for diseases.
“In an ideal world, breast-feeding is fantastic,” said Dr. Joanne Stone, the Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellowship director at Mount Sinai medical center. “It really promotes excellent health for a newborn, but unscreened breast milk has a lot of concerns, such as the transmission of viruses such as HIV, hepatitis, and bacteria such as syphilis.”
“What a child consumes is one of the most important decisions a mother can make,” Silverstone wrote to ABC News. “I wanted to create a space where like-minded women with this very particular need can start a dialogue and build community. It’s a jumping-off point for moms to connect and be active participants in finding the perfect fit for their baby. It goes without saying that common sense precautions should be taken.”
Holtzman feels that taking into account the breast milk donor’s lifestyle is key.
“Instead of having to ask really probing, very personal questions, going to a place like ‘The Kind Life,’ took that out of the equation and we could make the safe assumption that the person on the donating end values those things as much as we did,” Holtzman said.