News 4 Investigates: Alternatives to online breast milk - KMOV.com

News 4 Investigates: Alternatives to online breast milk

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Breast milk ordered online. (Credit: KMOV) Breast milk ordered online. (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

There are alternatives to buying breast milk online, and News 4 has looked into those in a follow-up to its Monday investigation.

The most important factor to consider is making sure kids are well-fed and getting the nutrients they need. How to feed a newborn or infant, really comes down to a parent's personal choice.

One dark night, in the parking lot of a Jefferson County White Castle – News 4 made a buy. It wasn’t for drugs or anything illegal, but was a meeting with a young mother to purchase her breast milk.

Ultimately three samples of breast milk were purchased after seeing the milk for sale on various internet sites.

The milk was tested at a lab. And a professor told News 4 that one of the samples had bacterial levels high enough to make a baby sick.

“If they are getting their milk from a mother who has a disease or taking medication, she could be giving the baby something the baby shouldn't have,” Denise Broecker said.

Broecker runs the milk depot at Cardinal Glennon. She and other experts recommend never purchasing breast milk online. Instead, she collects milk that's then sent to a milk bank-pasteurized and tested to guarantee it's safety.

But milk bank milk often goes to only premature or sick babies who need it most. Other parents determined to use breast milk instead of formula turn to sharing or donation. 

Social media sites dedicated to this practice connect parents. They're encouraged to ask questions and make informed choices before taking another mom's excess milk.

It's worked for Amber Duncan, who's given her baby Owen milk from 17 different mothers.

“For me, mom to mom is just great, but that might not be comfortable for other families,” Duncan said. “Formula of course has the least risk of contamination.”

Some babies do have problems with formula. Really, it's just about making good informed choices.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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