Moms Feel It Sends Wrong Message
Breastfeeding? One of your first concerns, aside from getting a good, solid latch, may be learning to tell if your baby is getting enough milk. If you’re not totally sure, or if you have relatives or friends questioning you, it can lead you to believe that maybe you aren’t producing enough milk, and it can result in (often unnecessarily) supplementing with formula and eventual breastfeeding cessation. Now, to compound the problem, the company behind Milkscreen, the breast milk alcohol testing strips, has created a huge furor with its release of their Breastfeeding Assessment Test.
What’s the big deal?
The description of the product on Milkscreen’s website sounds benign, almost helpful:
“The Milkscreen Assessment home test determines daily breast milk supply. It was created to address the common concern many moms have: how much breast milk do I make and is that enough for my baby? Milkscreen Assessment gives mom confidence to keep breastfeeding by telling her how much breast milk she makes and how that relates to baby's growth, identifying possible breastfeeding issues and providing recommendations on how to overcome these issues.”
One problem, however, lies in the instructions. Moms are directed to pump, enter the amount in an online form, and get feedback on whether she is making enough breast milk for her baby.
A pump is not a baby
The bottom line is that a breast pump is not as efficient as a baby. Some pumps are better than others, and some moms can get excellent results from their pump, but just because you don’t get a good response from a breast pump doesn’t mean that you’re not making enough milk. The product and service, in this manner, is fundamentally wrong.
And this doesn’t even cover the message the product is sending to new moms. Women are given formula samples at the hospital, inundated by coupons in their mailbox, questioned by well-meaning but misguided grandparents, and often harassed into supplementing with formula by medical professionals who don’t have a proper breastfeeding education. And now, Milkscreen has added insult to injury by with this product that asks if you're making enough milk for your baby.
There is a petition online urging Target to remove the product from their shelves. The company has recently removed its Facebook page due to the massive number of complaints, and is likely discussing what move to make next.
If you have worries
The good news is that breast mlik supply issues are rare. There are plenty of ways you can check to see if you’re producing enough breast milk for your baby without a breast pump or an assessment kit. KellyMom has loads of resources -- here is an easy-to-understand article on how you can tell if your baby is getting enough milk. You can also contact a lactation consultant (often you can find out through your hospital or doctor) or your local La Leche League. These professionals will help assure you that your milk production is fine, or help troubleshoot any issues you are having.