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Breast milk sales online are increasing but what are the risks?

As many mothers know, breast milk is the best way which a baby receives nourishment.

As many mothers know, breast milk is the best way which a baby receives nourishment.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk for babies until 4 to 5 months of age. The culture of breastfeeding your baby has been around for centuries.

In today’s modern world, mother’s milk can be found right on your computer screen.

“It is legal. No laws against it. Criagslist and Ebay do not allow the sale of bodily fluids but there not laws against selling breast milk.” Said Lori Wenner.

Wenner is a RN Lactation Consultant at Christus Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth in Beaumont. Studies show sales of breast milk have increased within the last five years.

“We are seeing more of an increase because more mothers are breastfeeding. The breastfeeding rate has increased in our country in the last twenty years and we are seeing 70% to 80% of women initiating breastfeeding in the hospital.” Wenner said.

One popular website mothers tend to use is OnlyTheBreast.com. 12News found multiple Beaumont mothers selling their breast milk starting at $1.50 per ounce and some ranging up to $3 an ounce.

On the site, profiles are given of moms who want to sell. But is buying breast milk off the internet dangerous?

“The drug administration and the FDA recommends against it. Their concerns for the possibility of mishandling of the breastmilk as far as storage, refrigeration.” Wenner told 12News.

According to Pediatrics, have found increased levels of bacteria in breastmilk found through the internet.

A Stanford University study also found 74% of breastmilk bought online contained staph, hepatitis, syphilis, and other bacteria.

“One showed that mothers were actually topping off their breastmilk with cow’s milk to increase the volume and this could be potentially dangerous to a baby who has cow’s milk protein allergies.” Wenner explained.

Not only is breastmilk found in certain websites, it’s being sold on social media such as Facebook.

However, Only the Breast does have a safety guide for sellers and buyers is posted on the page that reads:

“Proper donor screening is crucial and must be followed before feeding milk to babies in need. Studies show that unpasteurized milk may have bacteria, it is advised that all milk must be pasteurized before use.”

Other mothers with breast milk choose another route like donating to milk banks.

Christus Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth obtains donor human milk from the Mother’s Milk Bank in Austin, which is certified by the Human Milk Banking Association of America.

Mothers who donate to MMBA undergo a screening process with history and blood work, must be in general good health, not regularly using medication or herbal supplements, willing to donate 100 ounces of milk initially, nursing an infant who is less than one year of age, able to arrange for transportation of milk to drop-off site.

Christus Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth & St. Mary in Beaumont and Port Arthur/Mid-County offers breastfeeding guidance and support to all new mothers. As a leader in promoting healthy infants through breastfeeding.

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