Have you ever wondered if you were dumping breast milk that was actually safe to feed your baby? Milk Strips are a quick test that you can do on your breast milk to determine whether or not to feed it. Here’s a review.
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What are Milk Strips?
Breast milk storage guidelines (more information on these here) are intended to ensure that you feed your baby milk that you pump before it goes “off.”
Some basic guidelines from the CDC include:
- Freshly pumped milk can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours
- Milk can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days
- Breast milk can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months
But what if you’re right on the border of the guidelines, and you’re not sure whether or not to feed the milk?
Pumping breast milk is a lot of work, so it can be really hard to discard milk you’re not sure about!
Milk Strips are designed to test the acidity in your breast milk in order to determine the levels of bacterial activity. You dip a test strip in a tube containing your breast milk, and then it tells you whether the milk is safe to feed, or whether it’s expired.
How do you use Milk Strips?
These strips are pretty easy to use. The kit includes test strips and tubes to put the milk that you’re testing in.
1. Download the app on your phone.
There’s a QR code on the box that you scan with your camera to download the app.
You can also search for MilkStrip Scanner in the App Store. It’s available on both iOS and Android.
2. Put a sample of the breast milk that you want to test into the test tubes
Each test kit comes with a set of tubes. Pour a small amount of the breast milk that you want to test into one of the tubes.
3. Dip a test strip in the tube
Remove a test strip from its pouch, being careful not to touch the test pads. Dip the test strip into the tube with the breast milk.
Make sure that all of the test pads are submerged, and leave the strip in the tube for 3 seconds.
4. Remove the test strip
Place the test strip on tissue paper and set a timer for three minutes.
5. Put the test strip on the provided reference card
Once the test strip is positioned on the reference card, scan it with the app.
The app will then tell you whether or not the milk is safe to feed.
Do they actually identify expired milk?
We tested Milk Strips with four different samples of breast milk:
- Freshly pumped
- Frozen for 3 months
- Frozen for 6 months
- Frozen for 12 months
The first three tests came back as safe to feed. The fourth test came back as expired and not safe to feed.
While we don’t have any way of knowing if the 12 month old milk was really expired, these results seem consistent with what you would expect.
(This little test was not in any way associated with the company. I bought the product myself from Amazon and we tested the milk at home.)
Milk Strips review – what’s the bottom line?
I think that most of the time, you’ll be fine just following breast milk storage guidelines. However, if you’re ever unsure whether or not you should feed milk – Milk Strips can give you a more definitive answer and be reassuring.
For example, say that you have a several bags of 11 month old breast milk in your freezer. The CDC’s guidelines state that 6 months in the freezer is best, but 12 months is acceptable.
If you’re not sure whether or not you should feed it, you could test one of the bags you have frozen. If it comes back as safe to feed, it’s likely that all the bags stored with it are also safe to feed.
Have you used Milk Strips to test your breast milk and see if it’s expired? Tell us your experience in the comments!