Top Benefits of Testing Your Breast Milk’s Nutritional Value

Welcome to the joys of motherhood; whether this is your first baby or fifth, every experience is different each time around. And if you are breastfeeding, every mother’s journey is also different. Breastfeeding offers many health benefits for both mom and baby, but there is no denying that breastfeeding is hard work and can take a toll on a woman’s body. You may feel like a milk factory, but you are supplying all nutrients to your little one from your body, at least until foods are introduced. Science is amazing.


But how many moms out there actually know what is in their breast milk? Mothers are often unaware of their milk's nutritional content and whether it is optimal for their growing babies. Not all breast milk is created equal, and milk changes literally from day to night and through the baby’s life stages. Now is the time to find out what is in your breast milk and empower women to make science-based decisions for their unique breastfeeding journey to ensure their children get optimal sustenance and nutrition.


So, what’s in breast milk?

According to the American Pregnancy Association, breast milk is composed of different proteins, water, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. There are also live cells and antibodies from the mother that help protect your baby against infection and disease. Breast milk is rich in the vitamins and minerals needed to protect an infant's health and promote growth and development. As your baby grows, breast milk will change to meet their nutritional needs.

Proteins: There are two types of proteins found in breast milk. Approximately 60% is whey, and 40% is casein. This balance of proteins allows for quick and easy digestion. These proteins have great infection-protection properties. It is estimated that protein supplies 8-10% of a baby's energy requirements. Proteins are important for immune and neurological function and are the building blocks for tissues, muscles, and bones. Protein is a determinant of growth rates, so the low protein content of human milk is one reason why babies don't grow as fast. If your levels are low, talk to your doctor about increasing the protein in your diet.
Calcium: This mineral is important for an infant's bone development, cells, muscle and nerve function, and blood clotting. Some research shows that a very low calcium intake can contribute to developing rickets in infants and children. If insufficient calcium is available during lactation, the composition, and possibly volume, of breast milk may be impaired. Supplementation can increase calcium levels in milk.
Zinc: This micronutrient is critical to the normal growth and development of your baby. It also plays a role in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. According to a 2017 article, Zinc Concentrations in Human Milk and Infant Serum in the First 6 Months of Lactation, Zinc levels usually drop 4-6 months postpartum and can deplete zinc levels due to the demands of growing and feeding a baby. Mothers are encouraged to add zinc supplements to their diet and consume more zinc-rich food during lactation. Some foods with the highest zinc levels include oysters, chicken, nuts, dairy, and red meat.


What are breast milk nutrition strips, and how do they work? 

Breastfeeding parents, donor milk banks, and hospitals want to know: "What's in my milk? Is my baby getting what he/she needs? Does old breast milk have fewer nutrients in the freezer? Do I need to add to it to achieve optimal growth and health outcomes for the baby?" The list can go on.


With the help of Checkable’s breast milk test strips (and breast milk alcohol strips), mothers will be able to rest easy knowing if their breast milk has a sufficient amount of minerals that will fit their baby's needs. The strips provide a nutritional analysis of your milk and actionable advice to optimize your child's nutrition by testing the amount of zinc, calcium, and protein in breast milk in real time and at home exactly when parents need answers. These parameters are important to test since they provide infants with a maintained immune system and rapid cell growth, strong muscles and bones, and healthy development. If the mother's diet is lacking certain nutrients, the levels of micronutrients in breast milk may be reduced, or the mother's own health may be affected. The test strips are easy to use by directly comparing the test strip with the color blocks printed on the label. No calculations, no laboratory instruments, and no mailing samples are required. You can do it right at home. 

Top Reasons to Test Your Breast Milk's Nutritional Value

Moms who breastfeed or pump breast milk deal with uncertainty. Testing takes some of the uncertainty away and empowers moms to make necessary diet /lifestyle changes and to breastfeed longer. Know your breast milk’s nutritional value. Knowledge is power! 


  1. Breastfeed with less stress and get peace of mind
  2. Ensure your breast milk has key nutrients your baby needs to thrive
  3. When moms know the quality of their milk, they'll feel empowered to breastfeed longer and have more enjoyment.
  4. Nutritional analysis of breast milk can be especially helpful in certain high-risk cases, such as premature babies that need proper nutrition to survive.
  5. Detect deficiencies and adjust your diet to support your baby's development and well-being.
  6. Your breast milk changes! Milk composition changes rapidly during all the stages of breastfeeding. After the first seven days, changes continue slower until the milk reaches the "mature" stage around Day 21 (Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences 1991). Considering some women breastfeed well into the second year and beyond, it shouldn’t be a surprise that breastmilk changes nutritional value depending on the age or health status of your baby. For instance, as babies age, certain immune factors in the milk will change to combat all the crazy things they put in their mouths. If your baby (or you) is sick, antibodies in the milk adjust to help fight infection. Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician and chief of digital innovation at Seattle Children's Hospital, stated in an article that "Breast milk isn't the same on Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday. It is not the same in the morning or at night. It is not even the same at the beginning of a nursing session and at the end." That is another reason why testing should be continued throughout your breastfeeding journey.

Nutritional FAQs on Breastfeeding

What should I eat while breastfeeding?

A mother’s nutrition is just as important while you breastfeed as it was during her pregnancy. Key breast milk vitamins are primarily affected by the current maternal diet. These can be improved with maternal nutrition or vitamin supplements. A well-balanced meal plan that includes protein-rich foods, such as lean meat, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils, and seafood low in mercury, plus whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Always talk to your healthcare provider to see if adding a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement can help. It is also recommended that nursing moms increase their calorie consumption by 300 to 500 calories per day. Protein, protein, protein!


Should I take prenatal vitamins and supplements while breastfeeding?

Taking prenatal vitamins well into post-baby is a good idea, but don't take additional supplements without consulting your doctor.


What about fluids? How much should I be drinking?

Your body needs plenty of fluids to produce breast milk, 8-10 cups a day. Water is great, but juice, milk (or milk substitutes like soy or rice), herbal teas, and broths or soups will also fill the bill. Of course, you will want to limit alcohol, sugar-filled, and caffeinated beverages. One way to ensure you get enough fluids is to drink a glass of water, juice, or tea with each feeding.