Study: Internet breast milk isn't always safe for your kids - FOX 32 News Chicago

Study: Internet breast milk isn't always safe for your kids

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Courtesy: Nationwide Children's Hospital Courtesy: Nationwide Children's Hospital
(WJBK) -

As doctors continue to emphasize the benefits of breast milk, the more in demand it becomes. In fact, breast milk has become such a hot commodity that some moms are turning to the interned. But a new study will have you asking: Is this mail-order breast milk safe?

 "There are now some websites set up in the United States that are just for the purpose of connecting women who have milk to give to others and women who are looking for milk for their baby," says Dr. Sarah Keim from Nationwide Children's Hospital.

To see just how safe that milk really is Dr. Keim and her team at the hospital put it to the test. They bought milk anonymously on the Internet and analyzed it in the lab - and what they found was shocking.

"We found three quarters of the milk that we studied was contaminated either with high levels of bacteria or certain disease-causing bacteria, like the kind found in human waste," Keim says.

That's surprising to new moms like Allison Jones.  Her son Charlie was born three and a half months early, and she wanted to make sure he got all the benefits of breast milk. However, like many women, she was not able to produce enough milk so she fed him milk women generously donated to the milk bank.

"Anything that would help my baby develop - I want to make sure that its tested, its safe and there's a high quality assurance associated with it," Jones says.    

That's something you can't count on when you buy milk from a website. Keim says even small amounts of contaminated milk can cause big problems.

"Besides bacterial contamination and viruses that could be in the milk, you could be exposing your infant to chemical contaminants, pharmaceuticals or drugs as well," Keim says.  

The full report is in the November issue of the journal 'Pediatrics.

LINK: Click here to view the full report

Doctors say if you are a woman who has too much breast milk consider donating it to a milk bank for someone in need - instead of selling it. Milk banks are able to process it to make it safe for babies.

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