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Study shows buying breast milk online is likely to cause illness in infants
Date:10/20/2013

would be sickened by consuming any given bottle of milk, but the types of bacteria found in the online samples contained bacteria that could cause illnesses known to be linked to contaminated breast milk.

Milk banks are a safer alternative for breast milk for sick babies if the mother cannot provide milk because donors receive proper instructions and the milk is pasteurized, limiting the risk of bacterial illness, said Dr. Keim. Human breast milk can help strengthen the immune system and has been shown to protect against severe illnesses like necrotizing enterocolitis, a potentially deadly condition affecting thousands of infants each year.

Dr. Keim said women who have extra milk should consider donating it to a milk bank where the milk can be handled properly and they will ensure it goes to a baby who badly needs it, rather than selling it. Milk sold online and contaminated with bacteria that causes illness can be particularly harmful for premature infants or those with weakened immune systems, who are already particularly susceptible to infection.

"Our research results may not apply to situations where milk is shared among friends or relatives or donated rather than soldthe potential risks of those situations are less well understood," said Dr. Keim. Moms pumping for their own child should sanitize the parts of the breast pump that come into contact with the milk, use clean containers and wash their hands before pumping and handling milk. Also, keep milk cold and feed it to the baby soon.

"Our goal is to identify infant feeding practices that optimize child and maternal health. In addition to lactation consultants who are available at hospitals and clinics, there are community-based lactation consultants and peer-support organizations where women can help each other," said Dr. Keim. "We will continue to study breastfeeding in the context of contemporary society since where and how infants are fed is rapidly changing."


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Contact: Gina Bericchia
Gina.Bericchia@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert  

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