If you plan to drink alcohol and breastfeed, Milkscreen test strips provide an easy and convenient way to tell if there is alcohol in your breastmilk.
Description of the Milkscreen Kit
Each Milkscreen kit comes individually packaged. You can purchase them in packs of 3, 8 or 20. If Milkscreen detects alcohol in your breastmilk, there is a distinctive color change present. I found it very easy to use the Milkscreen and easy to read the results. The biggest factor is that these can be very expensive.
A Look at Alcohol and Breastfeeding
For years women, healthcare professionals and others have argued: is it safe to drink and breastfeed
? We've come up with many ways to try to explain it. Some say absolutely not. Most say that drinking in moderation is acceptable. People have come up with rules for moms to understand when and how drinking and breastfeeding can go together. One I frequently use for my clients is the "Safe to drive, safe to nurse" rule - as in, if you are no longer feeling the effects of the alcohol, then you are probably OK to nurse your baby. (For one thing, if you are inebriated enough to not be able to drive, you should not be holding a baby, much less breastfeeding one.) Others say 1 glass of alcohol per hour but since women metabolize alcohol differently based on their size, how much they have eaten and their body's chemistry, that can be tricky, too. Enter the Milkscreen Breastmilk Alcohol Test Strips.
One Lactation Professional's Take
As a lactation professional, I was weary of these. I was worried that moms would feel that they needed to buy another "thing" just to breastfeed their babies. As a nursing mom, I was curious. So to fully review the test strips, I decided to wait until I knew my baby would sleep a stretch and drink a bit more wine than I usually would. The instructions on the box were easy to understand and I appreciated that the test strips were individually packaged. That way I didn't accidentally ruin them all and one could be slipped in my purse if I were going out for the evening. After a few minutes I tested by hand expressing one drop of milk onto the test pad. Ta-da! the test very quickly turned positive. It was easy to read because the small pad turned a deep brown color. I waited half an hour and tested again and the strip turned brown again. After an hour I was no longer feeling tipsy and wondered if the test would still turn positive. It did. It took a full two hours for the test strips to no longer turn brown. Now, my question is would the dose of the alcohol at this point in the breastmilk actually hurt a baby? We can only guess on this but the answer is most likely not. For moms who are concerned about this, however, it is an accurate way to tell if ANY alcohol is in the breastmilk (because alcohol enters and exits breastmilk the same way it enters and exits maternal blood.)
What to Do if Milkscreen is Positive
For this reason, if a mother thinks she might drink enough that she would not
be able to feed her baby immediately, it is a good idea to have some
expressed breastmilk on hand to give the baby. For mothers who worry
about alcohol that might be in their breastmilk Milkscreen Breastmilk
Alcohol Test Strips are a convenient way to test their milk before
nursing their babies.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy