Monday, December 27, 2010

Buying breast milk online; Nursing mothers sell their breast milk to moms in need--but is it safe?

Is it safe for your baby to drink another mom's breast milk?

Is it safe for your baby to drink another mom's breast milkNeed breast milk? It's only a click away.
Online forums like OnlytheBreast.com and EatsonFeets.org allowing moms who make more breast milk than their nursing babies need to sell it.
At OnlytheBreast.com, which describes itself as "a community for moms to buy and sell natural breast milk," instructions are offered on how to ship, pump, freeze and store breast milk. Ads for buyers and sellers appear on the site. 
"Super Mom," advertises frozen breast milk for $3 an ounce with a minimum of 16 ounces, and the cost of overnight shipping. The seller says she's selling the milk because one of the twins she had in September isn't able to drink it. 
"We currently have two regular customers," writes Super Mom. "We have sold milk after all 5 pregnancies and are experienced in providing great tasting healthy milk."
EatsonFeets.org, which describes itself as the "world's largest breast milk sharing network," offers an online space "where families who want human breast milk for their babies can find women who have breast milk to share."  
But is it safe for your baby to drink another mom's breast milk? 
The FDA has issued a warning saying that breast milk purchased via the Internet or through individual may not be wise.
"The donor is unlikely to have been adequately screened for infectious disease or contamination risk," the government agency warns. "It is not likely that the human milk has been collected, processed, tested or stored in a way that reduces possible safety risks to the baby."
the FDA recommends using sources like the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, since the group test, screens and questions each breast milk donor.
International Board Certified Lactation consultant Sam Doak, the former contact person for the local La Leche League, told the Marietta Times that she's known for some time about informal breast milk sharing. 
How does La Leche feel about it? That it's better for a baby than formula, according to Doak.
"The La Leche League says that human milk from the mom is still the best option followed by milk expressed by the mom, human milk from another mother and then formula," she told the Marietta Times.


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