Milkscreen: Breast Milk Alcohol Test

Posted by: , October 26, 2008 in 4:42 pm

Screen Your Breast Milk For AlcoholWe breastfeeding moms know all about the benefits of breastfeeding and breast milk.  But we also know that breastfeeding can be a royal pain in the you know what.   On-demand feedings, sore nipples, and avoidance of dairy, chocolate and broccoli (ok, maybe that one’s not so bad) can make a breast feeding mom wonder if it’s all worth it.  And then there’s the biggest issue of all for most of us: alcohol consumption.

After nine months of being on the wagon, most of us are dying for a little drink, or maybe a few little drinks.  I have a friend who, after being pregnant two summers in a row (yes, you read that right), vowed that she would not spend another summer without having a margarita. And yes, most breastfeeding experts say that having a drink while breastfeeding will not affect the baby.  But how much is too much? I like to have a glass of wine with dinner every now and then.  Sometimes I pour a little more after that first glass is empty.  Then, I breastfeed my son or pump a bottle for my daughter. Am I causing irreparable harm to them?  Were they already drinking underage and I an unwitting accomplice to the fact?

That’s where UpSpring Baby’s Milkscreen, home test for alcohol in breast milk, came in.  The Milkscreen kit comes with three test strips and a card that lets you read the result.  It’s actually really simple: you express a bit of breast milk onto the test pad and then wait a few minutes.  You then compare the color of the test pad with their color chart.  If the test pad turns a dark brown, then your milk alcohol level is above their recommended feeding guidelines. If the test pad stays crème colored or is only a light brown, then you’re good to go.  UpSpring Baby recommends testing 30-90 minutes after having your last drink because alcohol levels continue to rise for 30-90 minutes after drinking.

As it turns out, my glass (plus) of wine with dinner is OK.  There was no change in color to the test pad.  However, a few days after my first test, we went out to dinner with friends.  I figured, why not see how much alcohol I can get away with. I had about three glasses of wine, came home and tested.  The pad turned dark brown in a matter of minutes.  “Oh well,” I thought, “time to pump and dump.”  See, breastfeeding can be good for both baby and mom.

To purchase a Upspring Baby Milkscreen test, visit

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