Donated or sold online, breast milk often tainted says study - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Donated or sold online, breast milk often tainted says study

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Breast is best. It's a recommendation many moms take very seriously. Some are even accepting breast milk from another mom when there is problems with breast feeding.

But researchers behind a new study purchased breast milk online and found a vast majority of the samples to have some level of contamination.

Online resources to donate or receive breast milk from another mother are popping up all over social media. But do you know what you're getting? Problems with preparation, like with any food, could contaminate nature's most perfect food.

Lauren Robinson is still exclusively breastfeeding her baby, Cannon. But she had problems breastfeeding early on. Not using even a drop of formula was so important to her, she turned to a breast milk donor.

"When I saw that study it made me sad that people wouldn't be open to the possibility of donor milk because that did wonders for our baby," Robinson said.

The study is one released by the journal Pediatrics. Researches purchased and tested breast milk from two donor sites and found that 74-percent of samples had some kind of contamination. Three of the 101 samples had salmonella.

Robinson is an administrator for Human Milk 4 Human Babies, a global milk sharing services that uses social media to connect donor with recipient. The study is flawed because it purchased milk, rather than had it donated, Robinson said.

"The precautions I take with my milk to make sure it's safe for my baby are the same all these other mothers are doing," she said. "It's not somebody wanting to make a quick buck."

But Dr. Jeannine Hogg, a pediatrician with Baptist Women's Hospital, said you might want to think twice before reaching out to an unknown donor.

"Breast milk is best, but your breast milk, breast milk from you," Dr. Hog said. "The issue is with donated breast milk is you don't know 100-percent what you're getting."

Dr. Hogg said the issue is what goes along with any food handling and transport.

"A lot of that has to do with the way it was collected, the way it was shipped, the way it was packaged," Dr. Hogg said. "Obviously if you're a mom at home you may not know about food safety handling, because breast milk is still food."

Robinson said mothers who use Human Milk 4 Human Babies are encouraged to get to know each other and flash pasteurize their donations. She said it's also frustrating when people say sharing breast milk is gross.

"When you donate blood you get a cookie, a t-shirt, you're a hero," Robinson said. "But if you donate milk you're weird or a freak. But they're both life-sustaining fluids. I'll  be donating mine as well because it's so important to so many moms."

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