Breast milk can provide a range of health, growth and immunity benefits for infants, but some moms are offering unregulated breast milk for sale online despite serious warnings from health officials.

Breast-feeding moms are using social media like Facebook and sites like Only the Breast to sell their surplus of milk in both fresh and frozen form. But doctors warn that buying milk from private individuals could pose a health risk to babies.

"Donors can be taking medicines or drugs, have infectious illnesses like AIDS or hepatitis," said Professional Association of Pediatricians president Wolfram Hartmann. "Nobody can check whether the unknown mother's milk is harmless for the particular child."

Further, experts point out, a child's nutritional needs vary greatly depending upon his age, and purchased breast milk may not satisfy his needs. Plus, milk could easily become spoiled during transportation.

Instead, health officials suggest that moms buy from legitimate milk banks, which stockpile breast milk for babies whose mothers are unable to breast-feed.

"It’s crucial that the milk is checked thoroughly for substances that could be harmful to the baby, that it is pasteurized properly, and that it is transported safely," said Professor Mitch Blair of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. "Only through official milk banks can we be sure that’s the case."

[MailOnline]