After nine months carrying a baby you might be dying to have a drink once you give birth.
Or maybe you have refrained from drinking for months even once your baby is here, but now that you are thinking about having a drink, it makes you nervous!
There are many reasons a test to test alcohol in breastmilk sounds like a good idea, but is it really?
Are breast milk alcohol test strips really useful?
Breast milk alcohol test strips
Milkscreen is the most common manufacturer of these kinds of breast milk test strips. There are others, but Milkscreen is the best known and the one you can find the easiest.
Upspring Milkscreen Test Strips offers some information about their product:
- NO MORE GUESSING if your breast milk is safe for your baby! Milkscreen breastfeeding alcohol test strips have been trusted by moms for over 10 years, the highly sensitive test strips detect low levels of alcohol so you can feel safe in giving your baby the breast milk.
- EASY, FAST, ACCURATE - Just saturate test strip with breast milk, if the test pad changes color at 2 minutes, alcohol is present (at or above 13.1 mg/dL). No more guessing or unnecessary “pump and dump.” It’s that Simple, made with Love, backed by Science.
- PEDIATRICIAN & LACTATION CONSULTANT APPROVED. FSA/HSA approved. Pack includes 30 individually wrapped, disposable test strips, instruction manual, procedure card and color chart.
- PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA. Milkscreen is subject to one or more U.S. Patents and Patents Pending including U.S. Pat. No. 8.323.914. Don't settle for substitutes.
- Made With Love, Backed By Science. UpSpring was started by moms to create nature inspired, science-based health and wellness innovations for other moms. From baby-making to birth, breastfeeding and beyond, UpSpring delivers mom-approved solutions for every stage of motherhood. Welcome to motherhood your way.
Are breast milk test strips useful?
As a first time mom I used these and liked them. As a second time mom (and then third) I am leaning towards thinking they are a waste of money.
The first time around it made me feel good to know there was no alcohol remaining in my breast milk when I had a drink or two. Every time I had a drink I would pump and test my breast milk a couple of hours later.
It always came out clean and I thought maybe they didn't work. Then I experimented with testing right after a drink or two and could sometimes see a light brown color. Sometimes they showed something, sometimes they didn't.
There are a few reasons I think these are a waste of money now. Once I started experimenting with testing it gave me a good idea that my body was metabolizing the alcohol at a very normal rate for my height and weight.
I didn't really need a strip to tell me this. I have also heard that these are very conservative in their measurement of alcohol. Therefore, they may discourage a mother from breastfeeding when it would have been fine. It really is okay to have a drink or two and you don't really need a strip to tell you this.
To go through the process of pumping out some milk to test and then being discouraged from nursing does not seem worth it to me. I also feel unsure about their accuracy, and finally they are expensive.
When it comes to drinking and breastfeeding common sense rules. You may have heard the term if you are sober enough to drive you are sober enough to breastfeed. While this is true, even if you don't feel sober, alcohol will leave your breastmilk as soon as it leaves your body and you will be able to breastfeed.
The bigger issue with drinking and breastfeeding may be being able to care for your baby rather than the breast milk received. The amount of alcohol which passes into breast milk is miniscule.
You may have also heard if you are drinking to pump your milk and discard it (or dump). Since alcohol enters into your milk and leaves your milk in the same way it enters and leaves your bloodstream, pumping will not speed up this process, and there is no need to get rid of your milk while you are drinking alcohol. Once the alcohol is out of your system, it is out of your milk.
The only real reason to pump while drinking is if you are going to miss a feeding and need to relieve engorgement or keep your supply going by not missing a feeding/pumping.
According to the CDC while not drinking may be the safest option, drinking a drink or two a day is not known to be harmful to the breastfeeding baby.
When it comes to breast milk alcohol test strips, I did use them in the past and enjoyed the confidence they gave me, but I now have doubts if breast milk test strips are really necessary.
If the hassle of pumping and testing with a milk test strip will make you feel better about having a drink or two, the peace of mind may be worth it to you.
I noticed on Amazon that moms seem to really love these so I may be alone in my opinion. Click here if you would like to see what other moms think and read more reviews.