I’m going to discuss a little on drinking and its effects on babies, for a better review of just the product go elsewhere. I’m reviewing why you might want the product more than the quality of it (or skip to the end).
Why you might want a breast milk alcohol test kit
Something to consider first is that what you’re actually checking for is not so much your milk getting your baby toasted, which is what most parents worry about when drinking and milking, it’s that the flavor and hormonal differences in the milk alter what the baby does.
Breast milk in the baby’s alcohol in too low concentrations can cause sleeping changes according to the manufacturer. The more alcohol per feeding, the less sleep and less milk your baby will consume.
So, how much alcohol is ok?
Although I’m sure I’m a horrible parent, the American Academy of Pediatrics’s section on breastfeeding states that the average woman should minimize her alcohol intake to approximately two beers or a glass of wine a couple of hours before pumping/feeding.
The formula stated is 0.5g alcohol per kg of body weight, so in more American terms that’s 1 gram of booze for every 5 pounds of weight. A 160 pound woman should be able to safely ingest 1.13oz of pure alcohol two hours before breastfeeding and it not have a noticeable effect. This translates to a little under two 5% abv beers.
For you Miller Lite fans, that’s about 2 & 1/3rd, or about 3 Amstel Lights. This means you can safely have a couple two hours before, according to the AAP, with no noticeable effects.
If you want to figure out how much you can drink 2 hours before pumping and not have any noticeable effect, grab a calculator and take your weight, divide by 5. That’s how many grams of alcohol you can drink with no bad effects.
Take the grams and multiply times 0.035274. This is how many ounces of pure alcohol you should be able to safely ingest.
To figure out how many ounces of alcohol are in that beer you’re considering, take the ABV which will be something like 4.2%, and multiply it times the serving size. IE a 12oz can at 4.2% ABV would be 0.42 * 12, and that would give you 0.504 oz. of alcohol contained in that can.
You might want to consider if you’re having trouble producing milk, or are on the edge, the alcohol in high concentrations slows milk production. While there’s that to consider for women with not enough milk, women who produce too much might benefit from this.
Why you might need a breast milk alcohol test kit
It’s fairly important at this point to mention that the only reason you’re going to need one of these kits is if you’re planning on feeding your baby or pumping within a couple of hours of drinking more than 2-3 alcoholic beverages.
In other words, you’re probably a horrible person if we ignore the studies on stress hormones in breast milk being lowered, lower stress hormones making a happier baby, an increased quality of life from reduced stress, etc.
You want these strips so you can have some fun, relieve stress, and learn what your tolerances are.
You’re not going to get your baby drunk
Well, if you weigh 90 pounds and drink a 6 pack you might. You should be looking at this as more of a breast milk alcohol test for what conditions are potentially coming from the level of alcohol you’re ingesting.
In other words, does four beers produce enough to register three hours later? Does six slow your milk flow? Should you look at pumping and dumping (evidently the answer is no – it filters itself out, dumping reduced the ability to metabolize alcohol – this is the internet, so do your own research).
Oh yeah, onto that review…
It’s not like you’ve got a lot of choices in the matter for a breast milk alcohol test kit… I can’t find any others as it stands which is ok as it makes it easier to review against all others. It wins. It’s the best, and the worst in class. Sadly this means it’s impossible to rate.
There’re eight sticks, the product costs about $16, so that’s about the cost of one beer to check if your two beers are even registering on the milk-dar. You can not reuse a stick once it’s been positively tested, although the jury remains out on whether you can reuse a negatively tested milk strip from earlier.
My guess is no however.
Unless you’re binge drinking or seriously needing to monitor your alcohol in the milk for other reasons (mostly related to production inhibition ) I’d advise skipping on these things, although they do make absolutely wonderful baby shower gifts.
Then again, I’m a horrible horrible parent and you shouldn’t take advice from me.
Overall it’s a small test strip of paper. You could probably produce about 200 of the units for what one breast strip costs, so I think it’s horrible overpriced. Then again, I don’t have access to see their financials, so being the only strip on the market, eh, you do what you can. It works after two minutes, and does what it claims to do. It’s like litmus paper for booze.
The Milkscreen Breast Milk Alcohol Test Kit is available from Amazon for $15.62. You can also locate them at Target and some other stores. It’s not worth worrying about in my opinion, but your may vary.
As a follow-up (7/15/13), in case you’re wondering, you can’t re-use a Milkscreen breast Milk Alcohol Test strip even if the previous result was negative.