Cash-strapped mother made nearly $20k selling breast milk to strangers

Cash-strapped mother reveals she’s made $20k selling her breast milk after giving birth to a surrogate baby – but admits she’s been ‘shamed’ for making money from it

  • Julie Dennis, 32, from Florida, sells her breast milk to strangers on the internet
  • Started making money from it when surrogate baby didn’t need hers anymore
  • Entrepreneur sells milk for 90 cents per ounce to other surrogate newborns

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 entrepreneurial 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.

Mother-of-two Julie Dennis, 32, from Florida, (pictured) decided to start selling her leftover breast milk to strangers after she gave birth to a surrogate baby in August 2019

Julie, pictured left, 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 and now she freezes her milk at her home, pictured right

Julie, a primary school teacher, sells the milk for 90 cents per ounce 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.

The mother-of-two said: ‘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.’ 

While the breastmilk is free, she says the process is not easy and claims it is like a full-time job as she can be pumping for several hours each day. Pictured, bags of Julie’s breast milk

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,’ she said. 

‘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, charging 90 cents per ounce.

The mother of two, pictured, has received backlash from people claiming she should be claiming compensation because breast milk is free 

She pumps 15,000 ounces 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.

The teacher justifies the charge because it affects her life so much, spending most of the day hooked up to  breast pump and then several hours preparing the milk (pictured) for freezing and delivery

She also claims she’s had strange requests from men who want ‘proof’ that the milk is actually hers.

She said: ‘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.

She said: ‘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.

While typically her breast milk is sent to families in need, she says she has on occasion received strange messages from men asking for ‘proof’ that the milk (pictured in the freezer) is actually hers, asking for photos and videos

‘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.’

Why it’s dangerous to share breast milk

Sharing breast milk is a risky business for several reasons, including infections hygiene and possible allergies. 

1. Breast milk becomes different as the baby ages: When a child is born, a mother’s body will produce colostrum, a form of liquid gold that helps build a child’s immunity and keep them full until the milk comes in. A mother’s breast milk changes as her baby ages in order to give it fat and nutrients for a child at their particular stage of life. It’s possible because the mother’s body knows what her baby needs.  

2. Breast milk depends on gender: A girl and a boy won’t get the same nutrients and they develop at a different pace. 

3. Emotional attachment comes with breastfeeding: Breastfeeding allows for a special bond between mother and child thanks to skin-to-skin connection. Sharing breast milk can create difficulties. 

 4. Pumping equipment is not always properly sanitised; These need to be sanatised to prevent infections and illness, but a mistake can quickly happen. 

5. A mother milk supply decreases: Some mother may need some help when they don’t supply enough milk for their baby, but milk sharing makes that milk production even smaller.

6. You can’t always know who’s donating the milk: In the instance where the milk was donated or sold to a mother by a stranger, there’s no way of knowing what’s in the milk.

7. Infections can spread through breast milk: The common cold may be ok, but other infections can spreads through a mother’s breast milk to another woman’s baby.

8. Milk banking association are safer: These associations are better regulated thanks to interviews about donors’ lifestyles and habits. 

9. Breast milk can contain allergens.

10. Some women are paid to give their breast milk, which can lead to dishonest behaviour.

11. Some women dilute the milk they donate.

12. Milk for sharing can contain prescription drugs that are unsafe for children.



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