Say you left the baby with a sitter for the evening and went out for dinner with your husband. You had a drink or two and now your back home and the baby is hungry. Wouldn't it be nice if there was an easy way to check whether there was any alcohol in your breast milk, sort of like a breathalyzer test for your boobs? Well now there is.
Milkscreen has introduced a new at-home breast milk test. You saturate one of the test strips with breastmilk, wait two minutes, and if it changes color that means there is alcohol in your milk. You get 6 strips for $19.95.
Is this test necessary? One of my favorite breastfeeding sites says that the consumption of one to two alcoholic drinks by the breastfeeding mother is not harmful to her baby as less than 2% of the alcohol consumed by the mother reaches her milk. However, waiting two to three hours after drinking will give the mother a chance to metabolize the alcohol and get it out of her system. As soon as the alcohol is out of your blood it is out of your milk.
The Milkscreen site lists several possible negative effects of alcohol in your milk (all of which are also listed on the kellymom page linked to above). These include some that are irrelevant to their product (alcohol can inhibit let down and milk production -- obviously if you are using their test you already drank so you can't do anything about that); some that are not really problems unless you have been regularly feeding your baby alcoholic milk (your baby may drink less milk if it contains alcohol and may fall asleep sooner but sleep less soundly); and one that is extreme (gross motor development may be affected). It turns out that the decrease in gross motor development was seen when the mother consumed one or more drinks a day (Little et al. 1989). If that's you then you're going to need the economy pack (36 strips for $107.73).
This product really is a great idea because it plays on a mother's paranoia, and that's probably the easiest way to sell something, but it seems like only a heavy drinker would really need this.breastfeeding nursing newborn baby infant mother motherhood alcohol breathalyzer drinking