Now they have thought of everything

I’m sitting here reading my Parent’s Magazine and I’m cruising the little spot in back with new products and such when I just came across this one. It’s called Milk Screen. It works by placing a few drops of breastmilk on a little strip and then waiting two minutes. If the strip changes color then the milk test positive for alcohol. If not, then you’re good to go.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand I think it’s a nice idea for women to test their milk and make sure they are not giving the baby milk with too much alcohol. On the other hand I feel like this gives moms a free pass to get drunk and then just sit around and wait for the strip to turn, thus leaving the baby hungry and lowering milk supply.

I read around on the site more and discovered that this test was made to reduce the amount of babies who consumed alcohol, leading to sleep disturbances and poor feeding habits. After reading more, its seems the makers of this feel consuming alcohol often, leading to poor feeding habits was the number one cause of women discontinuing feeding. The science is, if the baby is not eating the mom thinks they are ready to ween, thus ending with a baby weened far to early.

I read further and came across this fact,
“Only about 30% of infants are exclusively breast-fed through age 3 months, and just 11% through age 6 months.”

I was totally disgusted to find that out. I realize of course that alcohol is not the only reason babies are weened to early, but it is probably a big one. Whatever the reason, I just hate seeing it happen. The website says babies will stop eating if the milk taste like alcohol, it is not a flavor they like.

Here is what the product says:

Why should mothers test their breast milk for alcohol?

Studies have shown infants consuming breast milk with alcohol concentrations at approximately 30mg/dl, or 0.03%, and higher have exhibited distinctive changes in:

  • Feeding behavior: baby consumes less if the milk contains alcohol.
  • Sleeping: baby sleeps less and wakes more frequently.

The milkscreen test is set to show a color change at 0.02% to let Mom know if her milk contains a level of alcohol that may negatively impact baby.

I don’t feel intoxicated – why use the test?

Because all mothers are unique! So, naturally the way each woman’s body process alcohol is unique, too. Again, it depends on several factors including:

  • Body weight
  • Type of alcohol consumed
  • Food intake

A feeling of intoxication or non-intoxication is not an accurate indicator when determining the level at which alcohol is concentrated in the breast milk.

How much alcohol is “safe”?

Although there is no definitive research to dictate “safe”, we do know that the negative effects of alcohol begin to appear when an infant consumes milk containing alcohol at 30mg/dl (0.03%), and higher. Studies also show that about 2% of the alcohol a mother consumes will enter her bloodstream and milk. A newborn’s immature liver makes it very difficult to process even small amounts of alcohol and a three-month-old baby can metabolize alcohol at about half the rate an adults can.

So many people have asked why I will not just ween Codi and start medicine now. The number 1 answer is that the benefits of breast feeding by far outweigh the the negatives of eight more months of the crazy in my head. I want to make it clear. I did go in and see my doctor. We had a long talk about this. I’ve also talked to my kids pediatrician. And also my OB. All three agree that right now, nursing is the best thing I can do. My doctor agrees because she knows in the long run, the guilt I would feel over not nursing Codi as long as Brandon would be detrimental to my recovery. The pediatrician agrees because he would like to see Codi be nursed at least to a year so he can gain the maximum health benefits from my breast milk. My OB agrees because women who nurse over a year SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the chance of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and type two diabetes. Since I do have a history of ovarian cancer in my family and a mess of health problems surrounding that area, he ABSOLUTELY advocates my continued nursing.

All of my doctors have spoken together and shared my records and again the resounding consensus is for me to just wait the eight more months and then start on the medicine.

Obviously, If I won’t take medicine that helps me I also won’t drink while nursing. Shit, I won’t even take an Advil because the pediatrician says I can only have Tylenol while nursing. Since I think Tylenol is bullshit I pretty much live on vitamins!

However, if I did drink I probably would use a product like the one mentioned above during special occasions. I do remember when I nursed Brandon having to pump and dump after a wedding or two because I felt I had drank to much. I hated that he had to have a bottle but I was at least happy I had pumped a little milk for him before each wedding. This time around I had a shit ton of milk pumped for Codi. He took a bottle for a while however around 5 months he adamantly refused. The saddest day ever was when I threw away almost 30 bags of pumped milk because he denied a bottle with every fiber in his body. With him, pumping and dumping is not an option because he would have no back up since he rebuffs bottles the same way I would a plate full of dog shit!

Anyway. I would like to hear your opinions on this product. Do you feel like it is a winner? Would you use it? Do you think it will advocate drinking excessively while nursing? Do you feel like it will promote continued nursing for longer periods of time?

12 thoughts on “Now they have thought of everything

  1. It is an interesting product, but I think women ween for many more reasons than alcohol. I think if a mom needs a test to see if her milk is safe than she might be drinking too much. A glass of wine after the baby goes to bed and is sleeping long stretches is not bad, IMO, but I don\’t think there is a need to drink more than that.


  2. I would never drink alcohol while breastfeeding period. I have not had a drop since I found I was pregnant last March (wow, that\’s 18 months and counting…)But for moms who still wanna have some fun and have an occasion drink this definitely is a great prodcut!!!!!


  3. I hope that people who use this product are just being safe, because they had like 2 glasses of wine or something… I sure hope nursing Mom\’s aren\’t getting drunk out there, but that they\’re just being more safe than sorry….


  4. I am not quite sure what i think of that product. It\’s a little disturbing. I think if you are having to test your milk you are probably drinking too much. I nursed my daughter until she was 20months and during that time I maybe had one beer. I\’m currently nursing my 14 month old son and I don\’t drink at all. I don\’t think a drink here and there would negatively affect the baby, but a product like this makes me wonder how much some are drinking.


  5. I don\’t understand this. I think a glass of wine is OK every now and then … but if you are getting DRUNK with a tiny baby at home … ok, I\’m judgmental, but are you NUTS? That just isn\’t safe, for anyone involved.I think this product is saying it\’s OK to go out and get wasted, because then you can \”breathalyzer\” your boobs to see if your kid is also going to hit up the bottle.*sigh*I hate people.


  6. Wow. This could become very heated. I\’ll just say that I wanted to breastfeed SO badly but Bayley was too premature to breastfeed, so I tear up when I think about how she only got SOME breast milk (I was able to pump a little for the first few weeks). That being said, I\’m not a good judge of whether this is a good product or not. I don\’t want to sound judgemental of other moms, but I find it highly irresponsible to drink while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you want to pump and dump, then that\’s fine. But don\’t drink to the point where you\’re intoxicated and then have to rely on a strip. Now that I have pissed off everyone, I\’ll just say that I think the moms who would use these strips are the responsible moms who care enough to pump and dump and would never feed their babies alcoholic breastmilk. But then what about the babies who won\’t drink from a bottle like yours? What do you do then? Hungry baby and you\’ve got alcohol in your system… :: sigh:: Sorry, I work for a children\’s hospital… in emergency medicine, so I see the worst cases and it really affects me.Sorry if I pissed you or anyone else off. I guess I should just say as long as the baby doesn\’t get any alcohol, I\’m fine with whatever.


  7. I think I would use it.Rewind time…thinking back to when I was nursing Gage. He was born on 9/23, and our anniversary is 11/7. We went out for our anniversary, and I had some alcohol. I then pumped & dumped until I felt CERTAIN it was all gone. I had enough milk previously pumped so that he did not go hungry. I had the knowledge to pump & dump so as not to decrease my supply.I don't think alcohol is evil.I think people can drink responsibly. I don't think this is a horrible product, and I don't think that any woman who drinks during a time in her life of breastfeeding is a horrible mother. Some women breastfeed for years. I think it would have been great to have on hand while nursing.


  8. I guess I would have to say that I am not surprised. They have to have something like this because there are so many out there that drink while breast feeding. I can tell you now that I am pregnant, I don\’t think I will need to invest in these. I want to be the best that I can for my baby and not have to worry about testing myself. I am not saying I won\’t have a glass of wine, but I won\’t be a mosher partier either.


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