Breast Milk Sharing Raises Concerns

12.14.10 FDA issues warning on acquiring breast milk online or from other unknown sources.

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Breast-milk sharing remains a hot trend despite government warnings, ABC News and CBS News report. A variety of reasons—from a low milk supply to past surgeries to illness or some medications—can hamper breastfeeding in some women. So many of them turn to milk banks to help feed their babies beneficial breast milk (even if it's from another mother).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly recommends breastfeeding for optimal infant growth and health development. However, the FDA last week issued a decision saying that "the nation's milk banks continue to operate without federal regulation but continued to warn moms about the dangers posed by using another woman's milk," CBS News reports.

The FDA emphasized in its statement a warning "against feeding your baby breast milk acquired directly from individuals or through the Internet" because of the danger of infectious diseases and contaminants, according to the message posted on its website. CNN reports, however, that many women are going online to get breast milk because it's so economical compared with the cost of using a milk bank.

During emergencies—whether personal or on a bigger world scale—milk banks can be an essential lifeline for some breastfeeding mothers. If you're in need of breast milk in an emergency situation, contact one of the 12 milk banks affiiliated with the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, which sets standards and guidelines for donor milk in the U.S. and Canada.

For years, Fit Pregnancy has advocated the importance of nursing your baby and our message of breast is best! The long list of good things in mother's milk (whether yours or donated) offers your baby lifelong benefits. And we have a list of 200 reasons—check it out!

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.