In the study, Microbial Contamination of Human Milk Purchased via the Internet, researchers purchased more than 100 samples of human milk through a popular milk sharing website. Nearly three-fourths of the milk samples contained bacteria that could be harmful to babies. Researchers cited poor collection, storage or shipping practices as the potential reasons the milk donations were contaminated.
In the study researchers also compared the online samples to milk bank samples, which proved to be safer for babies. In the study’s summary, the journal Pediatrics encouraged women who have surplus milk to donate to a milk bank. All HMBANA member milk banks follow strict safety standards in potential donor screening and in the collection and distribution of human milk donations.
“We don’t want this recent study to scare anyone from giving or receiving human milk donations but it is important to know the facts: where you donate your milk and where you get your milk from is very important. As one of 13 HMBANA milk banks across the country, Mothers’ Milk Bank Colorado is dedicated to collecting and providing milk donations to babies in need in the safest way possible,” said Laraine Lockhart-Borman, IBCLC, director of MMB. “All milk donated to Mothers’ Milk Bank Colorado is screened and pasteurized, which eliminates harmful bacteria while maintaining nutrients for the baby. Additionally, all of our donors go through a thorough lactation assessment, medical history screening and education about optimal donation factors, unlike donors for milk sharing websites. Mothers’ Milk Bank Colorado’s unwavering commitment to safety ensures that every milk donation will help, not harm, a baby in need.”
More than 90 percent of MMB donations are provided to neo-natal infants with a medical need for human milk. Medical uses for donor human milk vary and include premature births, feeding intolerances, immune problems, hypoglycemia or jaundice, allergy prevention and metabolic disorders. Due to the fact that there is a milk shortage for babies in and out of hospital settings, MMB encourages all healthy, lactating mothers to consider donating to help babies in need.
Mothers who are interested in donating their human milk are encouraged to contact MMB for a screening. According to Lockhart-Borman, every healthy lactating mother with an infant under the age of one is a potentially safe donor for a milk bank. Mothers may fill out the donation screening form on MMB’s website, www.milkbankcolorado.org or call 1.877.458.5503.
Families who would like to learn more about receiving milk bank donations should talk to their baby’s doctor or call MMB at 303.869.1888.
About Mothers’ Milk Bank Colorado
A nonprofit program of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation, MMB is one of 13 operating donor human milk banks in North America. The milk is sent to 120 hospitals in 24 states supplying milk to babies across the country that have allergies to formula, certain illnesses or need human milk to thrive. For the past two years, MMB in Denver provided more milk to hospitals than any other milk bank. MMB adheres to the strict guidelines of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. For more information on MMB visit www.milkbankcolorado.org.