Breast milk sharing: Not the crème de la crème of baby nourishment

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Reuters reports that U.S. health officials have stepped up warnings to new mothers about the risks associated with the increasingly popular trend of sharing unscreened breast milk offered through internet sources, such as Eats on Feets. Health officials are instead encouraging mothers seeking breast milk for their infants to either switch to formula or ask their physician about using breast milk from certified human milk banks. Unfortunately, these banks often lack the inventory to feed more than the most needy babies such as those who are underweight. Untested breast milk poses a health risk because it can harbor pathogens or be contaminated with drugs or chemicals that are not necessarily disclosed by or known to the donor. Some mothers appear to be resistant to making the switch to baby formula because of their completely unfounded fear of chemicals found in the lining of formula containers. ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross asserts that baby formula is a perfectly acceptable alternative to breast milk. There are no harmful chemicals in infant formula nor in their containers despite what new mothers hear from friends or read on anti-formula blogs.

ACSH President Dr. Elizabeth Whelan sees this as a distortion of health priorities. They re less concerned about giving their babies breast milk purchased from strangers than they are about the dangers of BPA in can linings, she says.