A cash-strapped mother has made close to $20,000 by selling her breast milk online to strangers.
Julie Dennis, 32, from Florida, started selling her own breast milk after she gave birth to a surrogate baby in August 2019.
The mother came up with the idea when the baby she’d given birth to for another couple turned six months old and no longer needed her breast milk.
Julie, a primary school teacher, sells the milk for 90 cents per ounce (29.57 mL) to other families whose newborns were also born via surrogate who is not willing or unable to provide their own.
She describes producing the milk as equivalent to a full-time job but claims she has received backlash from people for making money from it.
I have a perfectly good uterus and perfectly good milk so I may as well use it.
It’s not completely money-oriented, but I make sure it’s worth it for me and my family.
I get comments that shame me for asking for compensation for my time spent pumping, because a lot of people think it’s free for me to make so why would I charge for it.
I spend hours a day hooked up to my pump daily which is time away from my family.
She says the process of cleaning, bagging and sterilizing all the pump parts between each use is also extremely time consuming.
I wouldn’t go into the store and assume I can get free formula, so it baffles me that people expect free breast milk.
Even charging one dollar per ounce I get paid less than minimum wage once you add up all the time spent on it.
That’s not to include replacement of pump parts every six to eight weeks, the cost of bags, the cost of the sterilization units and four different pumps that I use.
It is a lot of work to exclusively pump and it is a labour of love.
Julie has provided milk for two babies up until their one year mark.
She pumps 15,000 ounces (443 L) of milk per month, stores it in her freezer and ships it across the country in an ice box filled with ice packs. Julie said:
It has antibodies and its human milk made for human babies, but it’s a lot more expensive than formula.
There are a lot more people advertising than there are people buying, so I’m lucky enough to charge as much as I do because people can’t really afford to spend all that money on baby food.
The teacher has also had to completely change her diet by ditching dairy to suit the needs of a baby she was providing milk to.
She also claims she’s had strange requests from men who want ‘proof’ that the milk is actually hers.
They usually request videos or pictures which is absolutely unacceptable.
I have always just blocked people once a request like that is made.
Julie started selling her milk in August 2019 after giving birth to a surrogate baby.
I didn’t have a baby to provide milk to after the first six months.
I was compensated for that and once I was done I started advertising milk on Facebook where I found another family.
The second family had their baby via surrogate and she either didn’t want to or couldn’t provide the milk so they came to me.
I fill up my freezer twice a month and ship it out in an ice box with lots of ice packs inside and ship it out overnight.
For the first six months or so I just used it in addition to my income from work to pay bills and manage my household.
The last six months I have just tucked it away in a savings account for a rainy-day fund.
I haven’t done anything cool with it unfortunately just built a little savings account.