While a growing number of moms have been hitting the Internet to buy expressed human breast milk for their infants, researchers are now warning against it.
In a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that breast milk purchased from online outlets could contain high levels of bacteria, including salmonella.
The study had researchers purchasing 101 samples of breast milk from a "popular US milk-sharing Web site" that was then sent to an Ohio post office box. Of the samples obtained, 74 percent were contaminated with bacteria, according to the journal.
Not only that, but the researchers went on to conclude that "[i]nfants consuming this milk are at risk for negative outcomes, particularly if born preterm or are medically compromised."
Moms who have not been able to breastfeed because they have adopted or have low milk supply have turned to online breast milk sellers, such as Alicia Silverstone's vegan milk bank as an alternative.
However, the Washington Post reports: "With Internet sites, 'you have very few ways to know for sure what you are getting is really breast milk and that it’s safe to feed your baby,' said Sarah Keim, the lead author and a researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio."