Alcohol testing strips for breastfeeding mums: tried and tested

Want to know whether your breastmilk contains alcohol after having a drink? Breastfeeding mum Hannah reviews Milkscreen testing strips

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Milkscreen alcohol test strips claim to take the guesswork out of breastfeeding and alcohol.You express some milk, then dip in a strip and watch to see if the colour changes – indicating that alcohol is present in your milk.

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Reality star Kourtney Kardashian used alcohol testing strips in her TV show. At the time, she was breastfeeding son Mason Disick and had enjoyed a big night out with her friends the night before.

We decided to ask a MFM mum to test them, and find out how they work.

The company behind the strips, Upspring Baby, explains that the strips measure levels of alcohol present in your breastmilk. You saturate the strip with your breastmilk, and If there is a colour change on the test pad at 2 minutes, this indicates that alcohol is present at or above 13.1 mg/dL (decilitre or 1/10 of a litre). To make sure you get an accurate result, you need to check the strip at exactly 2 minutes.

The company stresses Milkscreen is a consumer product not a medical one, which means it makes no claim to prevent or treat disease. It also doesn’t have to undergo the particularly rigorous testing that’s required for medical products.

Currently available on Amazon for £19.99 (we found the price does vary) for a pack of 8 strips, each strip costs £2.50 and can only be used once. The strips are also available direct from UK distributor Bloom and Beyond.

Mum Hannah, 23, is exclusively breastfeeding her 5-month-old daughter and tried out the alcohol test strips

The last time I had a drink was New Year’s Eve. The next morning I had to guess when I thought it would be safe to feed my daughter, so I am intrigued to see how much or how little alcohol intake affects my breastmilk, and how quickly it leaves my body.

What time did you have your first drink and what was it?

After a long day of looking after a teething baby, and cooking a massive Sunday roast, I had a glass of rosé at 9pm.

How long was it since you last breastfed?

I last breastfed at 8.30pm before my daughter had gone to bed. There was a touch of white wine in the gravy and so I tried the strips to see if there were any traces of alcohol. The results were negative.

What time did you try using the alcohol test strips and what was the result of the test?

Having had one glass of wine, I tested my milk at 10pm. The results were positive.

What did you do then?

She woke up 6 hours later. She’s refusing to take a bottle at the moment. There was still the smallest trace of alcohol on the strip but I felt it was OK to feed my daughter.

Did you test again later?

I tested again just before her next feed, 7 hours later and the result was negative. It will be very interesting to see how long if would take for a fair amount of alcohol to leave my breastmilk. I will test this when I have a night without my daughter and she is taking a bottle.

How tricky were the Milkscreen alcohol testing strips to use?

The strips were very easy to use. Just follow the simple instructions on the packet. I would say make sure you check the strip under a good light as it can be a faint change in colour to show positive.

Would you use them again, and would you recommend them to other breastfeeding mums?

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I would definitely use them again. Especially if I go out for the night and my daughter stays with her grandparents. I will know exactly when it is safe to feed her instead of guessing. When my partner and I went out for New Year I had to guess the next morning when it would be safe to feed my daughter. I have to say, I think she got a bit more unsettled after having my milk even after waiting until midday.

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