New report questions safety of getting milk online

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A medical journal published a report that found breast milk bought online was often highly contaminated.

Pediatrics released the findings online Monday. Researchers bought and tested 101 breast milk samples and nearly three-fourths of the samples bought from women on the site, Only the Breast, contained high amounts of bacteria that could make babies sick, such as salmonella and fecal matter.

Jonesboro resident Fallon Adams says she has pumped and donated about 2,500 oz. of breast milk since she had her second daughter Rayah almost nine weeks ago.

"I was pumping way too much. I had an oversupply and I didn't really know what to do with it, but I knew that she couldn't go through all of it, and I was talking with my sister about it and she was like, 'Why don't you donate it?' and my sister is a (registered nurse) and I'd never heard of donating it."

Adams connects with mothers online on the Facebook page, Human Milk 4 Human Babies - Arkansas. "I put on there that I had milk to donate and I had tons of people that were wanting it," she said.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Assistant Professor Dr. Amanda Deel encourages mothers who receive and donate to do so through doctors.

"That milk has been tested and the donors are very educated in hand hygiene and proper storage of milk," she said. "You don't know if (the milk supplied via the Internet) is all human milk that's being sold. Secondly, you don't know how that milk was obtained."

Fallon says the mothers from Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi who contacted her had a variety of reasons for needing milk.

"The first woman I donated to, she had adopted a little boy that had a lot of health problems and she didn't want to put him on formula," she said. "The second mother that I connected with, she was going through school and she didn't respond to a pump while she was away from her baby and so she didn't have enough to get him through daycare."

Adams says her next donation of 1, 500 oz. of milk will be to a mom in Mississippi who has a "glandular issue" that prevents her from producing milk.

Adams says she stores her milk in a deep freezer for no more than 12 months and expects mothers to ask several questions regarding her medical history.

"Don't be afraid to ask any questions, because the people who had first contacted me (say), 'I don't want to offend you, but I'm going to ask you a bunch of questions.' It would offend me if you didn't ask questions."

After Pediatrics released the study, Only the Breast announced a change in its milk-sharing policies.

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