All moms know that breast milk is the healthiest type of milk for their child. Moreover, breastfeeding for a long period of time is very beneficial for the late development of the child. However there are mothers who cannot personally breastfeed their babies because of various reasons which they cannot control. Consequently some mothers have resorted to buying breast milk from the internet.
A new study published in the journal Pediatrics on April 6 showed that 10% of the online breast milk samples contained cow’s milk. The researchers checked 102 samples of human milk which was available online and performed a DNA test for every sample. They discovered that 10 samples contained at least 10% cow’s milk. Sarah Keim, a researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, Ohio) and the lead author of the study, explained that cow’s milk may be deliberately mixed with human milk. This can be dangerous for babies who have cow’s milk intolerance or who are allergic to this type of milk. In addition contamination with cow’s milk reduces the role of the essential nutrients found in breast milk. According to Keim babies who are under 12 months should not consume cow’s milk because it does not have all the nutrients which babies need in their early life.
The researcher used polymerase chain reaction to identify the cow’s milk. This is a kind of molecular biology for DNA testing. This technique also enabled them to notice that the level of cow’s milk concentrations indicated that the contamination occurred intentionally. Keim said that the quantity of cow’s milk was too high to be only a mistake.
Buying breast milk from the internet has become a popular practice lately. Keim conducted a survey on 499 women and found out that 25% of the women have thought about milk sharing and nearly 4% share milk with relatives or had a child who was offered donor milk.
Keim drew attention to the fact that even milk which is not contaminated can be dangerous. It was previously reported that breast milk sold online contained bacteria which led to infectious diseases such as salmonella or escherichia coli.
In order to prevent such unfortunate cases Keim recommends parents to talk to pediatricians before buying milk online. Also, mothers who are willing to donate milk should donate it to non-profit milk banks instead of selling it on the internet.
Image Source: Town of Coma
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