I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Does Milkscreen harm the breastfeeding relationship?

Milkscreen  is an American product that consists of test strips to calculate a level of alcohol in your milk.

Whilst I agree that this product is harmful to breastfeeding, I think we may disagree on a few of the reasons. It is harmful, not because I think women who breastfeed shouldn't drink alcohol but because I think it encourages pumping and drinking instead of actual breastfeeding.

Firstly, it is not productive to pump and dump as a method of removing alcohol from your milk. Milk and bloodstream are connected. As it leaves your blood so it leaves your milk. It is not possible to dilute or speed up elimination of alcohol with water or pumping.

"There is no need to pump & dump milk after drinking alcohol, other than for mom’s comfort — pumping & dumping does not speed the elimination of alcohol from the milk." KellyMom.com

Many professionals recommend expressing milk for during the time you are planning to drink. This means you are stimulating production of milk and this could lead to fuller breasts during the evening and therefore more pumping may be necessary if you are uncomfortable but feel you have had too much alcohol that you do not want your baby to feed.

Pumping is a finely tuned operation. Much like breastfeeding. Your breasts produce the optimal amount of milk for your baby provided your baby has FULL access to their food source. Interrupting that mechanism with pumping due to drinking can negatively affect your supply. Over stimulation can produce too much and cause problems for your baby. Too much drinking can affect your let down and consequently your milk supply too. So women who use this method in order to drink could affect their breastfeeding relationship. Especially if they use this method in the very important beginning stages of establishing breastfeeding. Also, it's important to note that babies do not just feed at the breast for food at regularly prescribed intervals, this means your baby could want to nurse at the breast at any time.

This is where I have a problem with this product. It encourages women to pump and bottle feed rather than breastfeed in order to drink. It taps into a woman's fears of harming their baby and capitalises on this by providing a product that proves the existence of alcohol in minute doses.

.08% is legal blood alcohol level in UK (and many other countries ) for driving that's 80mg/100ml

The Milkscreen product detects as little as 13.1mg/dl in milk that's 13.1mg/100ml. It doesn't give an accurate reading just positive for alcohol at 13.1mg which is 0.0131%.

" It is estimated less than 2% of the alcohol consumed by the mother reaches her milk." Hale

There are also many factors which affect the absorption of alcohol.

There is a lot of conflicting advice, but most agree that 1-2 drinks occasionally will not harm your baby.  Do your own research. Inform yourself. You know your own body and your own limits and capabilities. Personally, I don't believe it is necessary to pump for an occasional drink or two (1-2units). If you are cosleeping, I'd advise having the drinks earlier in the evening to allow maximum time for the alcohol to leave your system and the general rule is that if you are over the legal limit for driving, it is inadvisable to sleep with your baby.

As Jack Newman says "Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers."

As for their 'do you have enough milk' product, aside from pumping producing considerably different amounts to actual breastfeeding it's just another marketing ploy to frighten women into buying their product. The whole site is very insidious and makes me quite angry

I'm much more concerned about the walking wings (teach your baby to walk!!) product on this website than I am about a mothers occasional glass of wine!!

Please sign the petition to remove it from the shelves of Target:-


Helpful links:

EDIT: They removed it!! http://www.measuremymilk.com/index.php

No comments:

Post a Comment