Breast Milk for My Adopted Baby

Updated on May 31, 2008
S.M. asks from Culver City, CA
47 answers

I am looking for a Mom of a newborn or young infant who might be willing to share breast milk (for appropriate compensation) with my soon to be born adoptive baby girl (she's due August 8th). This is our second baby we are adopting and were not able to give our first the benefits of breast milk and would really like to be able to give this baby the huge advantages of breast milk for the first few months. I know this is a huge request, but also know if I don't put it out there, it won't happen. Thanks for your consideration!

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So What Happened?

I want to thank everyone for their advice, willingness to share their breast milk and great information! It was overwhelming to get such immediate and positive responses. I didn't say a lot about me above. One important piece of information is that my husband and I have both been working in HIV for the past 15 years, so we're aware of the concerns about breast milk and will certainly be sure we are aware of any generous donor's health status. Also, I am post (surgical) menopause and have great concerns about making my own milk, although I do understand that it is possible. My single greatest concern for my new baby is the nutritional benefits that breast milk can give her and therefore think a naturally-producing Mom with a similar age baby is probably best for her. Also, many of the breast milk banks only offer their milk to premies or babies with specific health problems. And it is very expensive. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing back from those of you I've written (or will write later today!).

More Answers

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L.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,
I'm sure you'll receive hundreds of responses to your request, but here's another one, anyway ...
I have lots of breast milk in the freezer that I'd be happy to give you. My daughter is 6 mos now and up until about a month ago, I had to pump before feeding her everytime I fed her because I produced too much milk. I can't tell you how much milk went down the drain, much to my chagrin--but I could only store so much! I can give you fresh if you prefer it, too. I'm a nutrition nut, consume only organic, whole foods, no junk/MSG/hydrog. fats/soda/high fructose corn syrup/drugs/alcohol, etc. etc. Be careful whose milk you use--things like pesticides get concentrated in breast milk. You'd be better off formula only in that case. Send me a note if you want to talk about it more. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful
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K.R.

answers from San Diego on

Please don't do this! I know I sound stupid right now but you never know who has HIV these days. It is transmitted threw breast milk.I think formula is a better option for your baby. Unless you are able to get a hiv test to prove to yourself that it is ok. Sorry Krissy

1 mom found this helpful
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A.Q.

answers from Honolulu on

I would love to help you out. My daughter is just about 5 months old. Please email me so we could exchange details. Btw I eat all organic, don't drink caffeine chocolate etc... :-). In think its great of you to do this for your soon to be arriving baby. *A. Q [email protected]____.com

1 mom found this helpful
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L.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, S.,

I live in Culver City. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]____.com.

Lynne E

1 mom found this helpful
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A.M.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Congratulations on your forthcoming adoption! You must be very excited. I'm happy to see all the support and advice you're receiving on this site, and I acknowledge you for putting your request out there. I live in Goleta, and I am a stay-at-home mom of 3 children, ages 4, 2, and 6 months. I have lots of milk in the freezer, and I am still nursing. I'd be happy to help provide you with breast milk, if you're interested. I eat mostly organic and lots of vegetables. I use no drugs or medication, and I take vitamins. I also do drink caffeine and alcohol, so that is something you should consider. Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful
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S.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.!

I'm an adoptive mother of a 20 month old and searching for another baby now. Congratulations!!

Our birth mother breastfed for the first two days. The colostrum - which is the part that comes out first - is very important as it sets up the child's immune system. Ask your birth mother if she'd be willing to either breastfeed or pump the colostrum. This is a lot to ask but there are so many benefits to the child.

Many people have mentioned that you could breastfeed yourself. You're fortunate that you have so much time before your daughter is born. If you want to do it yourself all you need to do is pump for a little bit about 4 or 5 times a day. It apparently takes 1 or 2 months of this before milk comes in - so great timing. Now, you more than likely won't get enough to completely feed your daughter. You'd still have to supplement. If you've done this for 1 1/2 months and still no milk, then ask your doctor about taking a supplemental hormone to help.

Also, contact me off list if you would like any more adoptive parent support. We've had a very successful adoption and are excited about our next child.

Woo hoo!

S.

1 mom found this helpful
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J.B.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

I am due in 4 weeks. I would be more than willing to share my breastmilk with you as long as I can pump enough. I think I will, as I had so much to throw away when I had my son, due to only being able to store it for so long before it goes bad. Please feel free to email me and we can discuss it further. Good luck!

Jenn
[email protected]____.com

1 mom found this helpful
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M.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Shelly,

On the resource section of my website, http://www.marycacciapaglia.com/resource_directory.htm#feed there are several milkbanks and other breastfeeding information that you may find useful. Congratulations on your new baby!

All the Best,
M.
Postpartum Doula in SFV

1 mom found this helpful
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S.O.

answers from San Diego on

Hi S.:

Congrats on your upcoming adoption! I am an adoptive Mom of my 3 yo son and bio mom to our surprise 1 yo daughter.

I tried adoptive breastfeeding with my son and found wonderful information at www.fourfriends.com (the adoptive breastfeeding website). I know there are milk banks and other ways to get donated breastmilk and that site has some tips for you.

You can also check out www.bethany.org. Go to the discussion boards and do a search for adoptive breastfeeding. There are a few other women there who have done it successfully and have posted other websites with good information about both ABF-ing and how to get donated milk.

There are also a few adoption related groups on meetup.com. You might be able to network with others there to see if they have any suggestions for you.

Good luck and Congrats again!

1 mom found this helpful
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R.S.

answers from San Diego on

If I were you, I would also post a request with La Leche League! :) They are completely on board with this!!

--R.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.K.

answers from San Diego on

First of all, where do you live?!
I live in Pacific Beach, San Diego.

I'm due June 25th with my third child. With my first child (4.5 years old), I nursed and pumped and had so much extra milk I had to actually throw some away.
With my second child (2.75 years old), I pumped minimally because she just didn't stimulate me as much.
I don't know how things will go with #3, but if I have excess milk (and it can be frozen long enough), I wouldn't mind sharing.

I'm 38 years old, SAHM, vegetarian(with the exception of salmon on occasion, dairy, and eggs), and very health-conscious.

We'll see if this works.
C.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

There are also several breast milk banks where you can donate (or receive) breast milk for your baby. Here is an article that may be helpful.
www.breastfeeding.com/all_about/all_about_milk_banks.html

1 mom found this helpful
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M.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Call your local LLL for a reference or try calling Dr. Sears Pediatrics. I recall at one time in their waiting room, there was a flyer up for a breastmilk bank. The office number is
###-###-####. Also, if breastfeeding is an option for you, I've heard it is possible to breastfeed an adoptive baby, your Dr. would put you on meds to help you produce milk. Here is something I found online on the topic (although I haven't read through it myself: http://breast-feeding.adoption.com/
Best wishes to you,
M.

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J.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

http://www.southcoastmilkbank.com/

Good luck! That's awesome that you are willing to put in effort like this - kudos!!!

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H.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

i just have to say - congrats!!! i think you're a fabulous person for caring this much!!! i was an avid breastfeeder : ) i did find out that there's a pill you can take to stimulate your own breastmilk if you'd like that option! i know i'd do it if i had an adopted baby! my partner is a foster parent and got a 5 month old who was being breastfed at the time she was taken - and let me tell you how much i wanted to do that for her!!! fortunately she had a great mom who tried to continue just on visits for a while. sorry, i got off track! i'm afraid i don't have breastmilk, but i wish you tons of luck with that!!!

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T.

answers from Las Vegas on

S.,

Google "adoptive nursing" or "relactation" there are women who are able to produce breastmilk for their adopted children. It is worth researching. Good luck!

T.

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L.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

Congratulations on your upcoming adoption. I'm very happy for you.
I have heard some horror stories about buying breastmilk outside of Milk Banks. I urge you to purchase the breastmilk from a Milk Bank since they check up on their donors. If you get the milk from some random person you don't know you may not be getting what you bargined with.

I've heard some stories that people thought they were getting breast milk and they were getting watered down formula. Then there are the stories of babies getting sick off of other mother's breastmilk. I definately think a Milk Bank will rule out of any of these things happening.

Good luck and consult with your baby's Dr. to see what input they have.

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V.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

have you asked la leche group they are great and super helpful, the might be able to get a mommy to help. Good Luck

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D.V.

answers from Las Vegas on

S., where are you located? I am planning to wean my twins by the end of August, so I may be willing to help you out, depending on your location (I'm in Vegas). I've donated to the milk banks before, and I know it's not easy to get milk from them. Usually you have to have a prescription from a pediatrician saying that you "need" breastmilk for your premature baby. So unless the baby you are adopting is a preemie or otherwise ill, you may have some difficulty with that. If you are able to find a wet nurse willing to help you, make sure you get a blood test for HIV and Hepatitis, as there is a small chance that these viruses can pass through breastmilk. Obviously your best choice would be someone you know well. Anyone who has gotten proper medical care during their pregnancy should be able to show you the results of the routine blood screen that they do before the 3rd trimester. If you are able to get breastmilk, or even if you're not, I'd recommend trying the supplemental nursing system. We had to try something similar with my boys, as they were 6 weeks premature. It will really help you bond with and comfort your baby, even if you can't lactate. If you do intend to lactate, you can take Reglan to help your milk come in while you are supplementing from your wet nurse. There is also a lady in Tiffin, Iowa that had a ton of milk in her deep freezer that she wanted to sell. She was donating to a milk bank as well, but the milk in her freezer was pumped before she had her blood test done, so they can't take it. It was in the news, so if you do a key word search you may be able to find out if she has sold her milk yet. Her name is Martha Heller, and I think she had something like 100 ounces for sale. Good luck with this!

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R.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

http://www.llli.org/Web/California.html

That's the California listing for LLL. I would also put out a request on HAMSgroup (homebirth support group of LA & Orange County.)

socalapfamilies - also on yahoo groups.

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H.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have read in mothering magazine that it is possible to bring on your own lactation for an adopted baby. There was an article a few months back. I don't know how long it takes or if that's an option for you. I did not read the other posts, but I sure wish I had some milk for you!It's fantastic that you want to do that for your beautiful boy!!! Best H.

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J.S.

answers from San Diego on

Hi Shelly,

While I am still breastfeeding my son, I have had a wonderful experience donating milk (free of charge) to a family that was in need. Please check out the Milk Share website (http://milkshare.birthingforlife.com/) - it is a place where families willing to donate and families looking for milk meet and find what they need. It is not a milk bank - testing is at the discretion of the recipient and shipping/supply costs are covered by the recipient. I have heard many great stories about this group - and was able to help another family in need! I wish you all the best with your new baby - and commend you on your desire to give your baby the best start in life. If you have any questions about the group feel free to e-mail me.

J. S.
San Diego,CA

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I.T.

answers from Bakersfield on

Congratulations on your upcoming new baby. I see you have many ladies offering to help. I would thing that your best bet are those ladies who are set to have their babies around the same time as yours is due, but if not, I feel that even that of mothers who have older babies would be more beneficial still than formula. (I have an 8-month-old and I'm getting ready to move to San Diego from Anaheim, so I don't think that I could help anyway.)

The one lady who is pleading for you not to do it...has a valid concern, however, a simple test can help you settle that concern. Especially if you offer to cover the cost of the test, I don't see why any conscientious mother would refuse especially if they put themselves in your shoes for a second.

Anyway, best of luck to you and your family.

I.

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A.D.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hi S.,

I have read through Dr. William Sears that his wife, Martha, actually breastfed their adopted child. You might want to research that option too. I think it just requires pumping ahead of time to get your body to produce the necessary hormones. Just a thought I thought I'd share! Hope it helps!

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A.C.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Well you did not put everything in about you. But you do know the doctor can give you some meds that will breast feed a adopted child. I have done it and my very good friends has done it.

Were do you live I am in IE in california. Let me know.

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H.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi there. You're right to want to give your new little girl the benefits of breast milk! There's no comparison. I am presently pumping extra milk daily just to keep up my milk production, but my son doesn't use it at all. He's eating more solids so his demands on me are minor, but I'd like to keep nursing him a bit longer. I'm a very healthy, stay-at-home, mother of one, attempting to stave off returning to work a little longer so even minor compensation would be welcome. This might just work out perfectly for both of us! I'm still taking both prenatals and a prenatal omega-3 which is packed with DHA- excellent for baby brain development. Let me know if this sounds workable or if you have any questions.

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M.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hey S. - Congratulations on your upcoming adoption!

Just wanted to give you a heads up - there are breast milk banks out there. I don't have any firsthand knowledge of which are best, etc., but I would probably check those out rather than just taking milk from a stranger (since you just never know!) :o) Anyways, I wasn't sure if you were aware of those, but check them out!! Good luck!

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C.S.

answers from Houston on

I'd love to help and am proud of you! Right now I contribute to a milk bank, so it'd be easy for me to pump for you instead. What city are you in? I'm in the High Desert in SB County.

[email protected]____.com

I've been thinking about you all day. I see you have a lot of responses, I'd really like to help, please feel free to contact me.Since I already give to a milk bank, in Pasadena, I'm already 'approved' in terms of blood tests, safety... I am compulsive about my healthy diet and lifestyle. I'm still nursing my 14m son and am a strong believer in breast feeding. You should be so proud to be giving the gift of 2 loving parents to these kids you're adopting.

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V.A.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Hi S.,

Check with your local La Leche League

V.

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K.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.
Congradulations on your new addition. I also am a adoptive mother. Check with your doctor there is a way to take hormones so you can breast feed. I did not personally try this but their is a way. Good luck.

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M.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

I was in a similar position and was fortunate enough to have a couple of friends who were breast feeding. They supplemented me through 3 months! There are "milk banks" on-line (Milkin' Mamas, Mother's Milk, I believe are a couple) that will sell you the same breast milk they sell to the hospitals for the preemies. It averages about 3 dollars an ounce -- expensive, but well worth it. Good luck!

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C.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Shelly -

Congrats on your upcoming baby...it is great to see hear that your interested in breatfeeding the baby. I know there are banks out there and you can also contact the LLC which can help you actually breastfeed the baby yourself. They help a girlfriend of mine that adopted.

Good Luck!!

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J.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

I think they actually have breastmilk banks if you can't find someone to share with you.

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L.O.

answers from Honolulu on

It's so great to hear about your upcoming adoption! Congrats! If you are willing and patient (and interested) you might want to look into a supplemental nursing system (SNS). You would attach a tube to your breast ending at your nipple with a bag of breast milk or formula at the end. If you are considering a breast milk bank I don't know much about them, but I am sure it would be great to use the SNS for whatever milk/formula you choose. There are also some safe and EFFECTIVE herbal supplements to help "motivate" lactation as well, which could work great with the stimulation of the SNS. Fenugreek and mother's milk tea to name a couple. I have a very dear friend, and I myself had much success with these (SNS and herbs).I definitely DO NOT recommend prescription medication to induce or otherwise increase milk supply, that is IF you decide to try lactating yourself as I know you are a busy working mom. If you do, be patient and let your body relax to help things "learn" faster. If you decide to do this good luck and happy researching otherwise good luck with the breast milk bank as well!!! Congratulations again!!

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J.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Did you contact la leche? I think they do this sort of thing. You can aso contact The Pump Station in Los Angeles. They rent breat pumps and may be a good resource.

C.L.

answers from Las Vegas on

S., congratulations. My son is also adopted and this was my initial plan for him. It sounds like you were matched with a birthmother and have the opportunity to prepare. I was contacted after he was born and didn't hve much time to prepare so I wasnt able to provide breastmilk. However, I do have an unopened SNS (supplemental nursing system) I would be willing to sell you. Also, I went online and found a great website that gave me an alternative to formula. (I did not want to give formula - yuk!) It's a home-made recipe using either raw cows milk or goat's milk and it is 99% closest thing to breast milk. Here is the link.... http://www.westonaprice.org/children/recipes.html I did this with my son since he was 2 months old and he loved it, thrived on it and had no problems.

Blessings to you and your family!
C.~

http://www.HelpUStayHome.com
http://www.ToxicFreeFamily.net

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P.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,
My daughter was born in November and I plan to breast feed for a year, I am considering helping you out, but first need to know where you live to know if this will work.

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J.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

S.,
I think it's wonderful, what you are wanting to give this new baby! If you live in or around the San Fernando Valley, I would recommend that you go and see Binky Petok at the Pump Connection, in Woodland Hills. She has worked with several adoptive parents and has had a lot of success. Actually, it's not stimulation alone, that initiates breastmilk. When the placenta breaks away from the uterine wall, the body begins to produce two chemicals: oxytocin and prolactin. Once these get started, it takes stimulation and proper "drainage" (that means that the milk is being properly drained) to keep those chemicals producing the milk. However, there are some drugs that artifically produce that initial reaction. The one that the other writer is talking about is called Dom Peridon (not to be confused with the champagne). You need a prescription for this...but really should see a professional before doing anything. Good luck,
J.

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M.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

You might be interested to know that it is not pregnancy that produces milk, but stimulation. You may remember hearing stories from a hundred or two hundred years ago, or more, about wet nurses. Not all wet nurses were also nursing a baby of their own! Many years ago, I remember hearing in La Leche League circles, that there was a gadget you could get that hung around your neck, with a bag filled with formula (or with breast milk, for that matter) , and a sort of straw that adhered to the nipple. The baby nursed, got nourishment, and, in some cases of adoptive mothers, produced breast milk. This was many years ago, I bet there are even better versions now, probably a few google searches would come up with some info.

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G.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Get in touch with your local La Leche League.

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K.T.

answers from Las Vegas on

Where do you live? I am in Henderson , NV. My son just turned 1 year and I am still Breast feeding. I may be able to help. I so strongly believe in Breast feeding. ( my baby has only had 1 cold and it lasted only 2 days!!!)

Let me know where you are. And if I can't help I wish you all the best! You are doing a great thing even by trying to work this out!

K.

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D.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

there are milk banks you can buy bm from..you have to be careful and have the milk tested first so i think it's safest to go to a milk bank for the bm or find one person and have the milk tested first. good luck and hey CONGRATS!!! oh also you can talk to you ob..there are ways to get you to start lactating...i don't know if motilium will work but it might..also known as DOM ..google it.

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W.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

What city do you live in?

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A.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Call The Pump Station in Santa Monica, or go there and post a request on the boards outside the store. When I was going to their breastfeeding support groups (which I HIGHLY recommend) there were several moms exchanging breastmilk, and others with experience using the banks. There was even a mom who had to artificially stimulate her milk b/c she used a surrogate. She was very successful. The Pump Station folks have lots of experience with this and can point you in the right direction. If you go to the groups you will also network with other moms who have shared experiences. Call and talk to Corky or Wendy. Congratulations!

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S.C.

answers from Honolulu on

Hi S.
I know this may sound weird, but I read in LL (Leche League) information that adoptive mothers can sometimes breastfeed. You could contact them to see if this is possible.
S. C.

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M.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

I donated to Mother's Milk Bank http://www.milkbanksj.org/ . I would suggest going this route, because donors are very well screened. I had to go through all kinds of questions and blood tests before I could donate.

Congratulations, and kudos on wanting the benefits of breastmilk for your child! =-)

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P.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

There are milk banks just for this purpose. Try googling - or contact Cedars Sinai to find them. I hear it is expensive but at least it's available!
Good luck.

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