Breast Milk Sold Online Is Often Contaminated: Study
For all the new mothers out there -- you may want to be more wary about breast milk should you choose to purchase it online. New research shows that most of the breast milk sold online is actually contaminated with bacteria, Reuters reports.
The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio conducted a research study with 101 milk samples, purchased off breast milk-sharing websites. Of those 101, nearly three-quarters of the samples were deemed unsafe for babies.
What could you be putting your child at risk for, and how can new mothers be safe when it comes to breast milk?
Results Report Contamination
According to the research, Reuters reports, 74% of the samples studied contained bacteria such as E. coli. Researchers in a few instances found other high levels of disease-causing bacteria -- including salmonella, The New York Times reports.
The bacteria that naturally occurs in breast milk, which is generally harmless and meant to bulk babies' immune and digestive systems, was not looked at.
While the study didn't determine whether or not all the contaminated milk in question would actually make babies sick, ingesting such milk is still incredibly risky, especially for preemies.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the sale of breast milk online, but has recommended against giving babies milk bought over the Internet, Reuters reports.
Alternatives For New Mothers
For many new mothers who may not have direct access to their own breast milk, what are some other alternatives? According to Sarah Keim, who led the study, according to Reuters, women who have trouble breastfeeding should speak with a lactation consultant or a pediatrician first.
Furthermore, any women who are producing extra breast milk should look into donating to a milk bank, as opposed to selling it online. From the milk bank, the milk can be directed to hospitals where it will be supplied to premature babies.
If you are a mother who has purchased breast milk online, it's best to take your child in to see his or her pediatrician. Additionally, if you believe that you may have been affected by this contamination, you may have a product liability claim. It's best to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you sort out your options for you and your little one.
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