They call it liquid gold. Most experts agree there's nothing better than breast milk to give a newborn the best nutrition for a healthy start in life, which is why some over-producers are selling their extra milk online to other parents. As precious a gift as it sounds, investigators at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, examined more than 100 samples of breast milk purchased over the Internet, and found a troubling list of extra ingredients.
"Many of the samples had very, very high levels of bacterial contamination. Staphylococcus bacteria, streptococcus bacteria, colic form bacteria, that would include bacteria like e. Coli," says Dr. Sarah Keim with Nationwide Children's Hospital.
Out of all the samples purchased online, three out of four were contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria. And, the longer it took to ship, the more bacteria found in the samples, even when the samples arrived frozen.
But, it's important to remember, women in this area have access to a 24 hour milk bank at UMC. All the donations here are checked to make sure they are healthy, similar to the standards of any tissue or blood donation.
"Just think of it like you were to give blood, you give plasma, or you give tissue. You go through a screening process. Their medical history is looked at, their current medical history, what medications are they taking. They're looking at social history, for instance, you can't even live with someone who's a smoker and be a donor of human milk," says Valeri Gatlin, a lactation consultant at UMC.
Valeri also says the supply here depends on new mothers to make it work.
So, if you would like to donate, or receive milk from the milk bank at UMC, you can call 1 866-810-0071. Or go to texasmilkbank.org.
Copyright 2013 KCBD. All rights reserved.