One of the most common anxieties among breastfeeding women is the uncertainty around how much milk our babies are getting and its effect on the baby’s weight gain. But here’s another thought: What if it’s not the AMOUNT of breast milk they’re getting, but rather, the QUALITY and nutrients of your breast milk? How could you even assess that?
Well, like many things in today’s day and age, the seemingly impossible is now possible. There are breast milk tests, developed by manufacturers like Lactation Lab and Everly Well, that can test your milk for things like DHA, calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat content in order to get an accurate picture of the nutritional value of your unique breast milk. You can even get super detailed with screening for the presence of environmental toxins like Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Mercury. All you do is mail in a sample of your breast milk, and within a week or so, you get your results, along with recommendations for how to improve the nutritional quality of your milk.
Sounds easy enough, but is it worth it? It could be, if you fall into one of these categories:
1. You’re constantly stressing about your breast milk. If you’re the type who lays up at night wondering how much milk your baby is getting (is it 8 oz? 5 oz? 3 oz?!?!?!) and whether it’s enough, then running this test could put some of your anxieties at ease. You still may not know the quantity your baby is eating, but at least you’ll know more about the quality.
2. Your baby isn’t gaining enough weight. If you’re doing everything right and breastfeeding your baby on demand, and she’s still not gaining enough weight, then this test could definitely be helpful. Many mothers have made adjustments to their diets based on the recommendations in the kit and have seen an increase in their baby’s weight gain, all while being able to continue breastfeeding.
3. You know you don’t have a very well-balanced diet, and you want to know if it’s affecting your breast milk. If you’re an admittedly terrible eater, you may be curious to know if your Twizzlers-and-potato-chips diet is negatively impacting your baby via your breast milk. Running this test could put your mind at ease (or finally convince you to make broccoli a priority).
Bottom line: At a starting price of $69 (EverlyWell) and $79 (Lactation Lab), breast milk tests are interesting at the very least, and in some situations, can be extremely helpful. Knowledge is power, and who doesn’t love a good test that gives you personalized information about yourself? I know I do!
About Katie Stansberry
Katie Stansberry is a work-from-home mom of two sweet girls and the creator of Breastfeeding Bliss. After struggling at the beginning of her breastfeeding journey, she wanted to create a happy place where breastfeeding moms could find practical tips, positive inspiration, and the newest and best breastfeeding products. On her "Back to Bliss" breastfeeding blog, she shares her personal stories and tips for making breastfeeding an easier and more enjoyable experience.