OKLAHOMA CITY (WITI) -- There is no medical recommendation for adults when it comes to drinking breast milk -- so why is it becoming a trend? An investigation by FOX6's sister station KFOR in Oklahoma City has found that while there's a huge demand for breast milk online, it's not always mothers who are looking to buy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants drink breast milk exclusively for the first six months of their life. From there, it's recommended they drink as much as mommy can make.
Milk is rich in calcium, protein and vitamin D. It is one of nature’s great accomplishments; the way mothers feed their young.
Dairy cows provide for about 85% of the world’s milk drinkers. But, the juice of the jersey has company in the milk market these days. The demand for milk worldwide is growing, and so is the demand for various kinds of dairy: goat, camel, buffalo and...human.
Apparently old Bessie just isn’t good enough for a growing number adults. Self-proclaimed fitness nuts are seeking human milk donors. This, according to an investigation by FOX6's sister station KFOR.
KFOR has found there is quite the demand for breast milk online. Ebay does not allow the sale of bodily fluids, but Craigslist is wide open, and now, there's a new website making a name for itself in the breast milk market.
It appears most of the business on the site is mother-to-mother. But the site has a special category for men seeking milk. On the site -- several ads from men looking to pay to breastfeed, with one buyer advertising a "Lactation Vacation" -- all expenses paid.
KFOR reports the site does have policies in place against adult nursing and bizarre requests for a woman's breast milk, but despite that, the activity is still prevalent online.
KFOR contacted the founders of the site, but they refused a request for an interview.
A 2013 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests sharing human milk -- with babies or adults via the internet can be risky. Researchers found 74% of internet milk samples were colonized with bacteria.
There is a safer option for mothers looking to share their breast milk. The Oklahoma Mothers' Milk Bank has breast milk donated from generous nursing moms in Oklahoma. That milk is divided into sterilized bottles and shipped to level three neonatal intensive care units across the state. Every donor is screened, and every batch is tested. The donated milk provides life-saving nutrition for critically ill babies.
"The babies can go home from the hospital sooner. They're going to grow faster," Oklahoma Mothers' Milk Bank Executive Director Becky Mannel said.
Mannel says mother-to-mother milk sharing has been happening for centuries, but the difference now is that social media is involved.
"Purchasing milk is a very scary, dicey issue," Mannel told KFOR.
The bottom line: Mothers -- if you're looking to buy or sell breast milk online, it's important to be careful.
In Wisconsin, the Mothers' Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes collects milk through an extensive depot network in Wisconsin and Illinois. In 2014, over 150,000 ounces of human milk was collected for low birth weight babies in area NICUs. The milk is sent to the milk bank in Indiana to be pasteurized.
Folks at Children's Hospital use pasteurized donor milk for infants whose mothers cannot provide breast milk.