Company Releases Product to Test Milk Supply, Feels Wrath of Angry BF Advocates - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 04-24-2013, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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UpSpring Baby came out with a product called Milkscreen Breast Milk Production Test and it threw Moms in a tizzy on social media.  The test requires the mom to pump milk and record amounts.  This "calculator" would tell the mom if she is producing low, normal, or high amounts of breast milk.


Well, you can imagine what happened next.  A facebook group popped up called Mothers Against Milkscreen Breastfeeding Assessment Test and they gained 1500 followers in less than a few days.  They started an online petition and gained close to 12k signatures. They wrote an open letter to Target, a carrier of the product, and shared Twitter handles of Target executives with their supporters.


From their Facebook page:


Our issues with the test are that it relies on measuring pumped milk. A pump is not a baby. The fact is that most women can not pump the same quantity of breast milk that they produce by nursing directly.
We live in a culture surrounded by misinformation and doubt when it comes to breastfeeding. We are just now raising awareness that 'breast is best' in a culture that has been led to believe for years, by the formula industry, that mothers in some way or another are incapable of providing proper nutrition for their babies, or that for some reason breast feeding is indecent or offensive.


The overwhelming response to this product worked.  Target removed the product from store shelves and from the online store.  UpSpring removed the product from their website with apologies.


What do you think about the Milk Production Test?  Would you have used it?


How do you feel about Target and UpSpring's decision to remove the product?



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#2 of 7 Old 04-25-2013, 11:03 AM
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I think it is ridiculous. How can the test tell me if I'm making enough milk unless it is the one nursing. Only my baby can tell that. Another way to freak moms out with bad information.

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#3 of 7 Old 04-25-2013, 11:47 PM
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Here's the company's page about it:


On one hand, I can see the logic behind their creation of the product, that most women who stop breastfeeding prematurely do so at least in part because they believe their supply is too low, this products tells most women their supply is just fine and give supply-increasing info to the others, and the presumed result is that those kinds of women keep breastfeeding when they otherwise wouldn't, meaning more babies get more breast milk, which is what everyone wants. I'm guessing the target audience is moms who worry they don't have enough supply because Grandma keeps saying so, and it doesn't occur to them to look up more info on the internet (or they do, but that doesn't shut Grandma up because "you can't trust everything you read on the internet!"), but they see this in the baby isle at Target when they're buying diapers or whatever, so they pick it up and get informed. I think the fact that it seems more like a practical product than an information product (e.g. a book, which would probably be sold in the book isle anyway) further increases its ability to spread information.


On the other hand, those moms who get a "false positive" for low supply (due to the difference between pumping and actual nursing) but don't follow up with a professional as the product suggests might stop breastfeeding when they otherwise wouldn't. And for worried moms who see the product in the store but don't buy it, it adds one more drop to their big bucket of insecurities.


As to whether it hurts more than it helps.... Honestly, I think that in the course of writing this post, I talked myself into being in favor of this product.


Either way, I feel like a lot of people protesting it just saw a picture of the packaging and jumped to conclusions. The first thing I ever saw about this product or company was a blog post saying the company was a bunch of jerks trying to make money off of new moms' insecurities without regard to what negative effect their product could have on infant feeding politics. But I think the worst thing you could say about it is that it's a well-intentioned bad idea.

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#4 of 7 Old 04-26-2013, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Cyllya - I totally get your point and that's how I felt about it at first too.  However you have to wonder why, when checking on your milk supply at home is free (weigh baby, check diaper output) would they capitalize on a common fear women have?  They do refer women to LC or doctors if there calculator suspects a “low” supply, but no where do they make the disclaimer that the majority of women do not pump as much as their baby can nurse.  I would have overly full leaky boobs and I couldn’t squeeze a drop out with the pump.  Speaking of pumps – even if a woman could pump well, she may not know how to pump correctly.  For instance, the flanges that come with the pump will not fit a lot of women.  And again, there is no mention of this in the product reading.


The tagline on the box is “Do you make enough breast milk for your baby?”  This is a marketing tactic designed to insight fear and worry in moms who we have already agreed the majority of whom suspect this unnecessarily.


I think they saw an opportunity to make a buck off of a known fear women have.  This is a company that also makes this gem:

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#5 of 7 Old 04-26-2013, 10:19 AM
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This wasn't created and sold by a formula company? I assumed it was, like the thing that tests how much alcohol is in your breast milk.

I think it would reassure very few moms. And so many moms don't respond well to pumps. I don't think any (?) respond to a pump as well as to a baby. I don't see any way it would give helpful or accurate information.
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#6 of 7 Old 04-26-2013, 11:18 AM
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The part that has confused me since the beginning is why is this a product for sale on the shelf... if they are really concerned about just helping moms, why not set up a website with all the info and link it to babycenter, etc, and it can be a free online tool?  Why do they need to pay for using a calculator that presumably had a one-time cost and then refers moms to local resources?  There doesn't seem to be much being 'sold' outside of the worry that a mom isn't making milk.  It doesn't come with a special pump, measuring cup, etc, right?  So why not add it to an existing advocacy site and make money via advertisements/affiliates?  It just all seemed strange to me... I am not against making money, and I don't think services should necessarily be free, but it seems like this is asking moms to pay for information that is mostly already out there so it's been something I'm curious about.

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#7 of 7 Old 04-26-2013, 11:21 AM
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I think its one more resource that would have been nice to have for the average new mom, especially in areas where bf is not "culturally acceptable".  Its a perfectly rational idea to write up info on bf, sell it in a pamphlet, and refer women to professional lactation care for more answers.   I'm one of those uber-research types who reads medical studies at the library, and I have a good bf support system. so its not something I would personally need.  Too bad peple freaked out at it.  I hope the company can find a way to bring it back that is social-media-approved.

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