Mary Paton Research Award 2013

Dr Karleen Gribble

A better alternative: why women use peer-to-peer shared milk.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association is delighted to announce Dr Karleen Gribble as the winner of the Mary Paton Research Award for 2013 for her paper A better alternative: why women use peer-to-peer shared milk.

In her winning paper, Karleen explored the process by which women came to use internet-facilitated peer-to-peer shared milk. Forty one peer milk recipients from five countries, who were unable to provide some or all of the milk their infants required, filled out a questionnaire to examine the beliefs and practices of individuals involved in peer-to-peer milk sharing.

Karleen concludes by stating that :

This research provides insight into the process by which women became internet-facilitated peer-to-peer milk recipients. It identified that many peer milk recipients have medical histories that can make breastfeeding challenging or impossible. As a group they do not appear to be typical of the general population of breastfeeding women. It also indicated that determining a cause and possible solutions to the breastfeeding difficulties of milk recipients is often extremely problematic. Health workers dealing with breastfeeding women require greater training in the recognition and treatment of conditions that adversely affect breastfeeding, including a physiological incapacity to fully breastfeed. Although peer-to-peer milk recipients come to milk sharing because of necessity, they appear to be satisfied with the solution it provides to their problem of being unable to fully breastfeed their infants.