New parents obtaining breast milk to feed their babies via social networking sites such as Facebook, should realize that the milk could be harmful, German pediatricians have warned.
The Professional Association of Pediatricians said that although mothers milk was generally the best option for a newborn, mothers unable to breastfeed should not acquire it over the Internet.
"Donors can be taking medicines or drugs, have infectious illnesses like AIDS or Hepatitis," Wolfram Hartmann, president of the association, said in a written statement.
"Nobody can check whether the unknown mother's milk is harmless for the particular child," he warned, adding that the milk's quality could also be affected during its transportation.
The warning follows a report by the online edition of German news weekly Der Spiegel and the association's own research, it said.
It also warned that a newborn's nutritional needs differed from those of a baby even of several weeks or months old.
"The milk of a woman who already has an older child does not contain the right nutrient composition for a newborn," it added and said women who were unable to breastfeed should use special powdered milk.