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A pediatric dietician warned parents against buying breast milk from independent online vendors amidst the nationwide shortage of infant formula and recommended going through a milk bank instead.
“This can be very, very risky if not found from a reliable source,” Katie Boss, a pediatric dietician at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Michigan, told Fox News.
Abbott Nutrition withdrew its infant formula products and closed a facility following a Food and Drug Administration investigation. leading to a national shortage. Abbott and the federal government have taken steps to alleviate the problem, but it could take up to two months for the shelves to be restocked, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said Thursday.
Boss said he saw an increase in parents asking to buy donated breast milk for their children.
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“I definitely don’t recommend buying it online: Facebook, Craigslist,” he told Fox News. “This could be very harmful to your child.”
“If you’re trying to find this through a family member or close friend of the family, I’d make sure you’re asking a series of questions to make sure this can be a safe product for your baby,” continued Boss.
These questions include the mother’s complete medical history, what medications the mother was taking during expressing, whether she took prenatal vitamins, and how long the breast milk was stored, Boss said.
the best option to get donor milkaccording to Boss, it is through a state or local milk bank, organizations that receive excess breast milk from mothers and then sort, pasteurize and distribute it to children in need, in hospitals or homes.
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“With increased awareness of the shortage of formulas, we are seeing more requests from families interested in learning about donor human milk and receiving donor milk,” said San Jose Breast Milk Bank Executive Director Jonathan. Bautista Fox News.
Bautista said the San Jose bank experienced a 20% increase in demand for donated milk from January to April compared to the same period last year.
Potential donors are screened before they can donate to the milk bank, then the milk is pasteurized and frozen to ensure it is safe for consumption.
Parents must also provide a prescription to get milk from the San Jose bank, Bautista said. His bank ships 4,000 to 5,000 ounces of breast milk a day to children in need.
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“We are seeing many interested mothers – potential donors – contacting us to inquire about the donation process,” she said.
Boss, meanwhile, so warned parents against making their own formulas or dilution formulas.
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“This can cause a lot of concerns in terms of altering the nutritional value of your product,” he said. “It can cause electrolyte abnormalities and vital nutrient imbalances and in severe cases it can lead to death.”
“It was very difficult to watch mothers and caregivers manage this shortage“Boss added.” I feel for these caregivers. This is a very, very frustrating and scary time for them. “
The chief urged parents who are facing difficulties securing formula milk for their babies to contact their health care providers or a registered dietician, as well as local health departments to help overcome the formula milk crisis.