Dr. Manny: Selling your breast milk to pay for Christmas presents may not be a good idea

Of all the ways to make a quick buck this holiday season, selling your breast milk online seems to be a bit farfetched – and yet, there is a British mom out there who is doing just that to pay for Christmas presents.

The mom, who is 26 years old, reports that she is selling her breast milk at $20 per 5 oz. bottle, and has raked in a total of $4,750 so far. You can certainly buy a lot of presents with that kind of dough.

Most of her clients seem to be chefs, body builders and mothers looking to supplement their own milk supply for their newborns.

I think that this story is both sad, and potentially dangerous. First, it saddens me that no matter where we are in the world, the economy continues to hurt people around the globe. It only becomes more obvious during the holiday season when many parents scramble to load up on extra work in order to bring their families some well-deserved joy and presents for Christmas.

I think that no matter what the statistics show toward economic recovery, the average Joe in America is not seeing any benefit whatsoever. The only profits that seem to be showing any positive results are corporate rather than individual earnings.

Second, it is a dangerous practice to be selling and buying breast milk online, and I’ve warned on this topic before. Although there are services that provide breast milk for purchase, the unregulated practice of selling it without proper documentation could be a risky business.

I am specifically talking about issues like infection control. There are many diseases that can be transmitted via breast milk like HIV and Hepatitis B and C. If the milk is not stored or processed properly there is also the risk of bacterial contamination. If ingested, the contaminated breast milk can lead to significant debilitating conditions like diarrhea, fever and possible death.

So, while I feel for this young mother, assuming that her goals are noble, I have to caution on this practice as a way to make quick buck – because it could potentially make for a very sickly Christmas for someone else.