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‘Everybody wants it’: The thriving breast milk market

Moms across the country are offering to buy, sell, or share breast milk online.

Alyssa Llenas says she received about 10,000 ounces of breast milk for her son, Nolan O’Connor.
Alyssa Llenas says she received about 10,000 ounces of breast milk for her son, Nolan O’Connor. –PAT GREENHOUSE/GLOBE STAFF

The women went to great lengths to get the breast milk. Meaghan Rice drove her Chevy Equinox eight hours in a single day. Allison Mulvaney met a stranger in the parking lot of a Trader Joe’s (“You got the stuff, in the cooler?’’). Alyssa Llenas scoured Facebook groups, responding moments after another mom posted about having extra milk.

“Everybody wants it,’’ Llenas said. “Sometimes I would message them, and they would say, ‘I already have two moms that messaged me before you.’ ’’

These moms are among thousands across the country who have gone online to find breast milk because they have difficulty breastfeeding. They are joining Facebook groups such as the donation-only “Eats on Feets’’ and “Human Milk for Human Babies,’’ or buying online from specialty websites with names such as “Only the Breast,’’ which advertises breast milk “high in fat and protein content,’’ and “100% Organic.’’

Llenas, who could not produce enough milk for her son, said of the women who made their milk available to her, “The mothers, I feel like they’re superheroes.’’