By Hadas Kuznits

By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Some mothers who aim to provide breast milk for their babies are turning to the Internet, but is it safe to buy breast milk online?

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Diane Spatz, nurse researcher and manager of the lactation program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says informal milk sharing is quite common.

“There’s a ton of websites for informal milk sharing. There’s breast milk classifieds, or some people just go down the street and ask their neighbor for extra breast milk.”

She says a recent article published in the Journal Pediatrics indicated there may be bacterial overgrowth in some milk bought online.

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“One of the concerns is that there’s no real way to know the quality of the milk.”

And while the practice is unregulated, she says it is legal.

“The mother could ask the donor mother to get lab testing and make sure that the mother isn’t taking any medication or doesn’t have any disease or illness factors.”

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Spatz concedes that informal milk sharing is not as safe as turning to a milk bank. While she can’t recommend buying breast milk from a stranger online, she says, “There are ways that you can more safely share milk in terms of knowing the donors screening status, her lab work, things like that.”