Or... why this product is shit!
A picture popped up on my facebook today of a product that claims to be able to tell you if you are producing enough breastmilk for your baby. For around $20 it gave you instructions on pumping milk, measuring it and weighing your baby then putting the data along with some other information into their website. The website will then give you a report telling you if your milk production is considered low, normal or high and if your baby's weight gain is sufficient. It also makes further 'suggestions' for you.
This product frustrated me on so many levels.
Firstly because the amount of milk you can express for a pump is not an accurate indicator of what your breasts produce, nor does it compare to the amount of milk your baby is able to drink from your breast. A baby is much more effective than any pump and although they do have a disclaimer as such on their website, a new mum would easily lose confidence if she was told her milk production was too low or even too high. I know many mums (myself included) whose breasts don't respond to a pump yet have succesfully breastfed their babes. There are better ways to tell if your baby is getting enough milk that have nothing to do with how much milk you can pump for a machine.
Secondly it tells you if baby's weight gain is sufficient. While I am at least happy that they use the WHO growth charts for breastfed babies, all babies will grow at different rates. There has to be babies at the 3rd percentile and babies at the 90th percentile, it doesn't always mean they aren't healthy and happy. Observe your baby isntead. Are they gaining weight, having plenty of wet nappies, happy and content, meeting developmental milestones? Of course if they aren't then see a lactation consultant or your care provider but don't rely on this marketing ploy to tell you that. Trust your Mumma Instincts - you know your baby better than anyone else.
Finally, the so called 'suggestions' at the end of your custom report. Really what they are is further marketing of all their products. Using the information you've given them they will make suggestions for all their other products for you to waste your money on. You told us you had a c-section. Here, our special knickers will speed your recovery and shrink your hips. Did we tell you your baby isn't gaining weight fast enough? Better buy our scales so you can measure them regularly and of course you need to buy more of this product so you can continue to check if you are making enough milk for your baby.
You know what Mummas, you already have the perfect indicator of whether or not you are making enough breastmilk and it doesn't cost you anything. It is your baby and you can be certain that their personalised report will be much more accurate than this waste of money.
ETA Here is an online petition you can sign asking stores to remove the product from their shelves
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Kelly Harper is the owner of Elemental Beginnings Doula & Placenta Services in Adelaide. She provides sleep consultancy, placenta encapsulation and doula services to families during pregnancy, birth and in their fourth trimester.