You’ve probably heard the news, that breast milk is best, but not when you buy it online from other moms or receive it as a donation from other than a milk bank. Secondhand milk that’s sold or acquired this way could be contaminated with illness-causing bacteria or become contaminated during shipping, even from well-intentioned moms who just want to help another mom out. Plus, you don’t know what you’re buying. The breast milk cottage industry isn’t regulated. It might not be breast milk at all. It could be cow’s milk, infant formula or something else. Here’s a link to a summary of the Pediatrics study that started the donated breast-milk buzz: http://acsh.org/2013/10/breast-milk-purchased-online-possibly-dangerous-newborns/. If you can’t breast feed with your own milk, a milk bank is your best option because it pasteurizes the milk it sells to kill potentially dangerous organisms.
Likewise, if you use infant formula, buy it from reputable retailers. No matter how cheap infant formula is on eBay, Craig’s List, from online auctions or at a flea market, pass it up. Here’s an ad from Craig’s list I ran across today: “i have 15 cans of 12.4 oz powder gentlease formula,6-6packs of 8oz bottles of gentlease,an 2 boxes of powder packets of gentlease each packet makes a 4oz bottle. all for $150!!” That’s verbatim. There are at least 20 ads like this on my local section of Craig’s list.
Infant formula you get from other moms may seem okay. It may look perfectly sealed and have a distant expiration date. But counterfeit formula can be illegally relabeled to misrepresent its true content or quality, such as changing the “use by” date. It happens. Play it safe. Know what you’re getting and buy formula at mainstream retailers, such as CVS, Target, Sam’s Club, Walgreen’s, Kroger and Babies R Us. And don’t forget to buy the store brand, which must be nutritionally equivalent to name-brand formula, as per U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations. You’ll save up to 50 percent.