Monday, November 4, 2013

Are Breastmilk Donations Safe?

The internet has been abuzz the past few weeks with stories about the risks of receiving breastmilk from third parties. Some parents who are committed to providing their babies with breastmilk, but for one reason or another aren’t able to breastfeed themselves, are turning to online channels to track down breastmilk donations.

Image Courtesy of Luis de Bethencourt
On October 21, 2013, The Wall Street Journal brought attention to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, where researchers tested 101 breastmilk samples purchased anonymously through online channels. The study had some shocking statistics that should give every parent pause before using breastmilk donations, including:
  • 72 percent of the breastmilk samples purchased for the study contained infection-causing bacteria, including E. coli, staphylococcus and streptococcus
  • 74 percent of the samples contained total bacteria counts above the safety level of 10,000 colony-forming united per milliliter – some as high as 70 million.
  • Three of the samples contained salmonella, and 21 had cytomegalovirus (a herpes-type virus)
Here at Lansinoh, we love knowing that parents are hearing the message “Breast is Best” loud and clear. But if you are considering breastmilk donations because you are unable to breastfeed, or to pump and feed your child(ren) your own expressed breastmilk, be sure to do it in the safest, smartest way.

Use a milk bank that processes, pasteurizes and disseminates human milk. You can find a milk bank location through such nonprofits as the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (www.hmbana.org). And don’t accept donations, or make purchases, from unknown sources. Informal milk sharing poses serious risks to your baby, and even well-meaning donors may unintentionally provide milk that hasn’t been pumped or stored properly.

If you have concerns about your milk supply, you can ask our Experts through our website.
 

If you are interested in learning more about donating or receiving donor milk, contact HMBANA.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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