These are my favorite shows right now, all on cable: Intervention, Chopped, Top Chef, The League and The Daily Show. None of which I would call terrible TV. But every once in a while I will happily come across Keeping Up with the Kardashians, or some terrible K-themed spin-off. And I love to watch it.
So on on of those episodes Courtney, excuse me Kourtney, got drunk while she was still nursing Mason. (Don't act like you don't know who Mason is. Or what I'm about to talk about next.) She was obviously pretty tips; she didn't just have a glass or two of wine while having dinner. She pulled out a product called Milkscreen that purportedly tests breastmilk for the presence of alcohol. And it tested positive of course and she was drunk and laughing about it.
That was my first introduction to these nifty little test strips. Then more recently the wife on The League* came home wasted from a night out and she tried to get past her babysitting mother in law to nurse the baby but the MIL made her take a Milkscreen test first.
Call me impressionable, but I bought a box. And the outside of the package looks nice and says nice things like "Peace of mind so you can breastfeed with confidence." The test strips "detect the presence of alcohol" in your breastmilk. Now I like my glass of wine. When the lactation consultant in breastfeeding class asked for questions my hand shot up first to ask, "Can we drink?" And she said to feed the baby, then have a glass of wine.
I did not ask if I could have a glass of wine. Like that was even negotiable. I wanted to know about two or three glasses of wine. (With dinner! Over the course of two or three hours!) No one in the medical profession wants to answer this question or find out how to answer this question. But here is this product that will answer this question for you!
Then you open the package and read about how to use it and how it works and you realize that they are not kidding when they say "detect the presence." You are warned not to have any open cleaning products nearby because alcohol fumes could produce a positive result. (Because who doesn't have open cleaning products next to their open bottles of wine and breastmilk?) The test detects alcohol at the level of 13 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). I don't know what that means either. But it translates into a blood-alcohol content of 0.013. The legal BAC limit in most states is .08, or 80 mg/dL. I thought the Wiki page did a good job of explaining this. The chart on the page explains that with a BAC of 0.010-0.029, the average person appears normal and impairment can only be determined with special tests to detect the "subtle effects" of alcohol ingestion at this level.
So basically Milkscreen can tell you if you have had a glass of wine. In case you forgot. And it will only cost you $1.25 for each reminder.
What an insane rip-off! OK, the amount of the rip-off makes it not really insane ($25 for 20 test strips), but the logic behind this product is not logic at all and I am calling it insane because the product is so stupid. And I would like to call it by its name Milkscreen a few more times so that my review here might come up in search results. So far everyone who has "reviewed" Milkscreen has called it an essential tool in the nursing mother's toolkit. For reals? It is USELESS. And what I really object to is that it seems to suggest that if your test is positive, then it is unsafe to feed your baby. But NO ONE has ever said that a BAC of 0.013 is equal to impairment of the variety that will affect your breastmilk. So the product developers, at MILKSCREEN, selected an arbitrary number, a very low number, and in my opinion created more CONFUSION and GUILT over whether or not I can have a freakin' glass of wine before I feed my baby. Because every time I try to "feed the baby, then have a glass of wine," he wakes up and decides to feed again 14 minutes after the end of the last feeding.
Well, Milkscreen messed with the wrong lawyer mommy who likes her glass of wine. I called the company (it's made by Upspring Baby in Austin, Texas. You may or may not know UpSpring Baby by its riDONKulous Hipshrinkx product--"clinically proven" to push your hips back to pre-baby size in the first 8 weeks post-partum--um, yeah, it's called HAVING the baby. But I digress.) to request a refund. The customer service rep was nice enough but explained that since I did not buy the product directly from them, they would not issue a refund. If I wanted I could write to the company (I asked) and he diplomatically replied that the company values feedback but does not issue refunds for customer dissatisfaction. I would have to take that up with the place of purchase. Which was Babies R Us and bless them for saying "sure, here's your money back" for the opened and partially used yet useless product. (I was performing my own "clinical trials.")
At my most fired-up, I wanted to contact the attorney general in my state and initiate a lawsuit for false advertising. After spending the last 20 minutes bashing the product--it's called Milkscreen--I don't really care anymore. But ladies, do NOT buy it. It is a waste of your money and a waste of your energy worrying over whether it's "safe" to nurse your baby after a glass of wine.
Spend the money on a nice glass of wine instead.
*Actually this may be terrible TV. There is some bathroom humor and a lot of sexist jokes that can make me cringe. Maybe sometimes out of recognition. Ouch. And there is only one female character on the show and I can't even remember her name.