WARNING: 74% of Breast Milk Purchased Online is Contaminated!

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New trends encourage women with extra breast milk to donate their magical surplus online. This sharing of nourishment can be a blessing for those who are struggling to meet the demands of their little ones; however, a new study, published today in the November 2013 issue of Pediatrics, shows that this blessing is actually putting many babies “at risk for negative outcomes.”

“You don't know what you're getting, you don't know the quality, how honest people are about how old the milk is, and so many other issues … ” – Sarah Keim, epidemiologist

Researchers found that three out of four Internet milk samples, purchased from public milk-sharing sites, “contained either high levels of bacterial growth overall or contained disease-causing bacteria, including fecal contamination.”

Also, “nineteen percent of sellers did not include dry ice or another cooling method when shipping.”

Whether it’s due to the way the milk is shipped, or poor hygiene and the usage of dirty containers and breast pumps, the study proves that “infants consuming human milk purchased via the Internet are at risk for negative outcomes, especially premature infants and those with compromised immune systems.”

It’s normal for breast milk to contain a bit of harmless bacteria, because it helps develop your baby’s immune and digestive system. But if you purchase the milk from someone who has not had the proper donor screening – and who has possibly broken many other strictly enforced guidelines – that nourishment may do more harm than good for your little one.

If you admired Alicia Richman, the Texas mom who donated more than 86 gallons of breastmilk in 2012, and set a personal goal to help those in need of additional breast milk, make sure you are meticulously following all of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America’s guidelines. The American Academy of Pediatrics still needs and wants mothers to donate their extra milk!

And if you are looking to purchase breast milk online, make sure you are buying it from a reputable milk bank (i.e., do not buy breast milk on Craigslist). This study isn’t meant to scare you away from donated breast milk; rather, it’s hoping to increase your awareness, so that you’ll have the knowledge necessary to continue providing your baby with what he or she needs. Every parent wants a healthy, happy child.

Have you purchased breast milk online, or donated your extra milk to an online bank? What was your experience like?

What do you think?

WARNING: 74% of Breast Milk Purchased Online is Contaminated!

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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