Sunday, August 21, 2011

review: milkscreen

Today I had a difficult job- I was forced to drink in order to review Milkscreen, a product designed to let breastfeeding women test the alcohol content of their breast milk after drinking.

Ok, maybe it wasn't so difficult. Actually, not so difficult at all.

Although I rarely drink at all anymore (the times when I have money for a babysitter plus money to go out, desire to be awake late, and the energy to make myself nightclub pretty are rare these days), I do occasionally enjoy the idea of a cocktail after baby bedtime. I always wonder, though- did I drink so much that I'm getting my baby drunk? Will it make the difference between a future National Honor Society member and a remedial English student?

The second that I mentioned to my partner that I was going to review alcohol test strips, he was making plans to go to the liquor store (perhaps we are both in need of some relaxation?). We picked up our favorite- Prairie vodka, an organic vodka made right here in Minnesota.

After the babies were in bed I made a drink. As I drank, I read the instructions. Fairly straightforward- Open test strip package, express a bit of milk onto test strip (or dip test strip into milk you have pumped), and wait two minutes. If the strip changes color, alcohol is in your milk.

I worried a little bit- I've had issues in the past with hand expression. Turns out I had nothing to worry about- 10 minutes after finishing my drink, I popped my boob out and attempted hand expression- success on the first try! The alcohol must help. I squirted a little milk on the strip.

First and second testers. 
1st test result: No color change. All clear to breastfeed.

I made another drink. Afterwards I tested again, and it confirmed what I suspected due to my sillier state.

2nd test result: Color change. Use pumped milk in the fridge!

I decided to call it quits at this point in an effort to head off a potentially crippling headache the next morning. However, when would I be able to breastfeed again? I decided to test again in half an hour.

3rd test result: Color change. Still not okay to nurse.

Half hour later (1 hour since 2nd drink)...

4th test result: Color change. Still not okay to nurse!

This was very enlightening to me. I was sure that by an hour after my last drink I would be okay to nurse. I certainly didn't feel as drunk anymore.. but just because you don't feel it does not mean that it is not there.

Conclusion: This is an essential product for any mama who wants to indulge a bit during the time that she is still breastfeeding. 

This is also the reason for it's creation by inventor Julie Jumonville, a long-time breastfeeding advocate and a member of the board of directors at the Mother's Milk Bank in Austin, Texas. From their website:

Milkscreen was created to help extend the life of breastfeeding. Many women wish to resume occasional low to moderate alcohol consumption after delivery, but often are concerned about the effects of alcohol in breast milk. Maternal self-confidence is critical to maintaining breastfeeding so we created milkscreen to help give mom the peace of mind that her breast milk does not contain alcohol.

Some things to remember:

- Every woman metabolizes alcohol differently. My results may not be typical for all breastfeeding mamas.
Alcohol can pass through your body and into your breast milk. About 2% of the alcohol you consume will enter your bloodstream and breast milk.
Because everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, the amount of time it takes for the alcohol to leave your breast milk also varies. Milkscreen helps you by letting you know if you are safe to nurse or not.
- You can't pump the alcohol out of your milk. Over time, it will metabolize out of your milk. Again, this is why Milkscreen is essential in helping you know if you're ready to nurse or not.

Purchase Milkscreen here.

Thanks to Ms. Jumonville for creating such a great product!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. it takes about 20 min for alcohol to appear in milk, it takes 2 hours after each standard drink of alcohol, for the milk to be alcohol free. So if you had 5 standard drinks, that is 10 hours!

    it's not that hard, this test is silly waste of money.

    However, breastmilk with a little alcohol is still saver than formula.


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