Breast Milk Online, How Safe Is It?

The journal Pediatrics recently released a study that investigates the safety of the new fad of online breast milk.  High levels of staph, strep and other bacteria have been found in unpasteurized breast milk. Be mindful of what you are buying when you buy online breast milk.

Why Breast Milk Online? baby_bottle_saftey_mini

For years physicians, dietitians, and parents have debated breast milk versus formula for their babies. Many studies show that breast milk is more beneficial than formula for many reasons including helping build a strong immune system.  However, many women cannot produce breast milk or enough breast milk for one reason or another. These women have looked towards milk banks and milk-sharing websites to supply them with breast milk. They order the breast milk online, then it is shipped to them and ready for their baby’s belly.  Some women donate their breast milk online and others sell their breast milk online. This is a noble deed, however, the journal Pediatrics believes it is a dangerous one.

What is Wrong With It?

There are two places you can buy breast milk online, from a milk bank and from milk-sharing websites. Milk banks collect milk from their donors who are screened before donating. They properly store the milk and send it out to buyers. Milk-sharing websites are informal websites that facilitate the buying and selling of breast milk online. Some milk banks pasteurize their milk before shipping it off but many do not, this is the key to safe breast milk online.

This study shows that a scary amount of samples from both milk banks and milk-sharing websites contained dangerously high amounts of bacteria including Staph, Strep and Salmonella. In fact, only 25% of milk-bank (unpasteurized) samples were bacteria free, and even scarier, only 9% of milk-sharing website samples were bacteria free. Low levels of bacteria are typical; however, this study found dangerously high levels of these bacteria, enough to make your child sick.

Be weary of buying breast milk online for your child. Dr. Richard A Polin from Colombia University says, “This is a potential cause of disease. Even with a relative, it’s probably not a good idea to share.” Despite the benefits of breast milk for your child, if you cannot produce enough breast milk for your baby, look towards formula as a solution.

There are milk-banks that pasteurize their breast milk, these have been found to be bacteria-free. However, there is a very limited supply of milk. Many breast milk banks are not regulated by the state and the FDA does not regulate any milk banks. Despite what you think you are getting from buying breast milk online, you can not truly know what you are putting in your baby’s body.

Contact your doctor for more information on the best course for you and your child. To find a doctor near you, visit Care Club.

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