Breastfeeding still has many detractors, and they can make persuasive arguments. But advocates have been won over by countless studies that have demonstrated benefit to both infant and Mom—fewer infections, less obesity, higher IQ, lower rates of cancer, development of taller, stronger, handsomer kids. For decades it’s been a non-stop celebration of that most (literally) mammalian activity.
But now America’s favorite health habit has run up against America’s health enemy No. 1: bacteria. Maybe even superbacteria. An article released in the mainstream medical journal Pediatrics has found a problem with a certain type of breast milk, the breast milk that is available on the internet as a sort of mail-order wet-nurse: it appears to be contaminated with bacteria.
Earnest researchers from Columbus, Ohio, ordered breast milk from the various websites that traffic in it (here is one). They sought out about 500 specimens but for many reasons, including not pursuing the specimen any time the donor wanted to speak to the buyer, they ended up with about 100 specimens—probably a set of specimens skewed towards the unruly, given their exclusions. Note that some donors put their milk out there for free; for others, it is a cash and carry business.