I Never Gave Much Thought to My Breast Milk Until I Had It Tested
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The amount of rest you get between delivering your baby (regardless of the method) and needing to begin breastfeeding feels infinitesimal; the responsibilities mothers experience truly are unending. Like many mothers, I struggled with breastfeeding, ultimately enlisting the help of two lactation specialists and a dermatologist before deciding that I'd need to give up breastfeeding and exclusively pump instead. Producing enough milk was hard — my daughter always seemed to want more than I was able to make — but I stuck with it and worked hard at building my supply.
When my daughter was roughly 6 weeks old, Stephanie Canale, a physician at UCLA, reached out to me about her company Lactation Lab, which focuses on providing mothers with nutritional analysis of their breast milk. Curiosity got the best of me, and I asked for a kit. A few days later, it arrived at my doorstep. I collected a small amount of breast milk, froze it, and sent the sample off to be tested.
I told myself that I'd use the analysis as a learning experience about my own health and not let it steer me down a path of guilt about nutrients I might ostensibly be lacking.
I told myself that I'd use the analysis as a learning experience about my own health and not let it steer me down a path of guilt about nutrients I might ostensibly be lacking. Which is exactly what Canale wants women to do with the data. "I had the idea of testing the nutrients in breast milk because my infant daughter wasn't gaining weight, despite getting enough milk," she shared with me when I asked her why she created the company. "My daughter had stopped growing and would not have a bowel movement for 10 days at a time. I felt I was starving her despite giving her enough milk, so I knew there could be an issue with the quality of my breast milk." Wanting to know what was in her breast milk was what sparked the idea to create Lactation Lab.