A new study published in the Pediatrics journal shows that purchased breast milk can be dangerous to babies. The study took 101 different breast milk samples and found that 70 percent of them contained bacteria, including coliforms, which are found in human and animal feces. Twenty percent of the samples tested positive for a respiratory virus that can be harmful to premature babies.
"There is a large segment of the population that is very intent on having their babies only have breast milk. If for some reason they're unable to directly nurse their child, they've looked for other sources. [They've looked at] outside sources," said Jerry Golner, a pediatrician at Phoenix Pediatrics Limited.
CBS 5 found multiple ads here in Phoenix on Craigslist from people selling breast milk. One seller responded via text saying she "breastfeeds [her] baby as well and half of whatever I produce extra goes into my frozen collection. [I] clean my breast pump after every use. I sterilize it with boiling water every two days."
Even so, Golner says buying breast milk online can be dangerous.
"Avoid the online ads," he warns.
"You don't know the source. Feeding your infant a liquid from an online source is really playing Russian roulette."
If a mother isn't able to produce enough milk, Golner says baby formula is an option. However, if the mother is determined to feed her child breast milk, he says the safest option is to ask a friend or relative who is also breast feeding to help.
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