I hear often that healthy amounts of DHA in babies before the age of three is important because 85% of brain growth and development occurs. My seven year old son recently heard conversation about DHA on one of his t.v programs that he was watching; he asked me if his sister is getting enough DHA. He asked me if I was helping his sisters brain grow and develop. Hmm.
I took a few short moments to read more about the campaign and how easily accessible it was for me to actually test my breast milk from the comfort of my own home; I decided this campaign was for me. To participate was a no brainer.
And of course I thought it would be fun to join other #SweatPink moms who were also participating in this EverlyWell & Fit Approach campaign. These are some of the coolest moms I know on social media!
I took the time to refresh myself with information about DHA and quickly became curious as to whether or not my own diet was providing my daughter with enough DHA from breastfeeding.
First things first: What is DHA anyway?
In just a few short sentences, DHA is basically an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina.
Maybe we ( I myself included) do not understand all the details of DHA, but in a nutshell it is the most abundant omega-3 fat in our brains. Eating nutrient rich foods can help keep our brains working optimally (our babies brains working optimally.) As I was reading more about DHA, I continued questioning my own diet during my pregnancy and now into my postpartum journey. I found myself looking back through all the nutrient enriched foods that I ate & eat and how often I ate or eat these foods in particular. I admit I got a little nervous. I was nervous because my second pregnancy (nutritionally speaking) wasn't one I am all that proud of to be honest. I was sick a great deal of the time and nutrient rich foods were not appealing. Needless to say, yes I was nervous about taking the breast milk DHA test. I realize what I ate during pregnancy and how I'm eating now are quite different. I'm definitely more cautious about what I put into my body as a way of making it up to my daughter and myself. I enjoy nutrient rich foods (broccoli, spinach, seaweed, salads, salmon, etc.) and I am trying to incorporate these nutrient rich foods as much as possible into my daily life.
How The DHA Test Works:
This is the easy part (actually much easier than I would have thought.) Every Well made it so easy to test the breast milk right from the comfort of your own home (No doctor visits or lab visits required.) The directions were simple (step by step.)
The preparation time was quick. To send your test back to the lab only required placing the contents into their already to go mailing package, slap the already to go label on top, and place it in the mailbox. I didn't have to drive to the post box or UPS with the baby. Hassel free!! Everything accomplished right from the comfort of my own home...
|Collect Milk Sample|
|Test Milk Sample - Wait 15 Minutes|
|Place contents into Biohazard bag|
|Place contents back into box|
|Ready to ship to the lab ( label provided & FREE shipping BOTH ways!)|
Now I Wait For Results:
My results were sent to the lab on the 8th of May. Friday morning of the 12th, I received an email from Every Well that my sample has arrived and is being tested at the lab. Within five business days I should receive my results ( and you can track your order along the way.) Now I wait patiently for the results!
Why don't you readers take a five minute break from reading and click on the link: https://www.everlywell.com/products/breast-milk-dha-test?subscription=true to purchase yourself one of their tests if you're interested in finding out how much DHA is in your breast milk. Feel free to save yourself 15% using BREATHE15 at the checkout.
Results of my DHA breast milk sample:
Okay okay everyone, the results are in. I repeat the results are in. Today (May 20th) I received and reviewed (all online from the comfort of my own home) the results from my recent DHA in breast milk testing. I have to say I'm slightly disappointed. Yes, slightly disappointed that my results show that DHA levels are lower than average (frown upon my face and tears in my eyes.) Just teasing, but I guess this just proves that I'm not perfect and there is always room for improvements in my diet.
What Does This Mean?
This means that my breast milk DHA level is 0.16, indicating my levels are below average. I repeat Below Average...
Does this surprise me? To be completely honest, yes it kind of does surprise me (as nervous as I was.) It's a mix of yes it surprises me and no not really considering my diet during my pregnancy lacked in essential Omega-3 fatty acids.
Why? I thought my postpartum diet may be enough to change the levels of DHA breastfeeding. I thought by eating salmon weekly, taking my daily dose of Bioastin and spirulina supplements, I eat green leafy veggies, I eat broccoli almost every single day. Considering my postpartum diet has been on track for most of the course; I kind of hoped that my levels of DHA would at least be in normal range. To find out that my levels after testing with EverlyWell are not even in normal range, they are below, has me wondering if my breast milk really is sufficient enough. Hmm. I know they say breast milk is near to perfect and I'm thankful my body allows me to breast feed, but perfect doesn't really exist does it?
What Can I Do?
I suppose this means I can take a look at my diet and make a few necessary changes that will ideally help increase my levels of DHA in my breast milk. This means that as I introduce "Food" to my 6 month old daughter, I can introduce items with DHA added in them. This means that I can do my best to take care of my daughter the best of my abilities. This means I can also give myself a break. Yes, give myself as a mother, a break from feeling like a failure or anything less than good enough for my daughter. This means that I will continue to breast feed as long as my daughter and I agree that this is working for the both of us (I say working for the both of us because I have experienced some challenges with keeping up my milk supply, symptoms of upset stomach in my daughter from time to time, and a challenge with being able to produce enough to pump, so that she can continue drinking breast milk while I'm at work.)
I have thought about and tried introducing formula to my daughter a time or two in attempt of reducing some of the stresses that play a part in breast feeding. I am thankful for being able to breast feed my child, but I also understand that not everyone is able to do so. Thankfully there are other options provided for all kinds of situations that create a happy baby a happy family.
In the end, I think that as a mom and other mothers, just want what's the best for our child/children. We do what we can. Sometimes we have to have a little extra help beyond our own capabilities. Thankfully there are tests provided to help guide mother's, such as myself, in caring for our children the best we can. Had I not taken the DHA test, I would have not known that my levels in my breast milk were low. Knowing this, I now can make those necessary changes that will benefit the growth and development of my child. Because my levels fall below average range, I am being provided with information evidence based diet and lifestyle guidance on how I can help improve the levels of DHA. A little extra help is always appreciated.
What I Have To Say About Everly Well:
I have to say thank you first and foremost for this opportunity, this overall experience. I would like to say thank you for allowing me to test my levels of DHA in my breast milk with your easy to use, no copay, no time off work, no waiting in labs testing kits. Thank you for not judging me because of the lower than average level of DHA in my breast milk. Thank you for your support and guidance during the entire process... Thank you for making your test kits easily available!
Again if any of my readers are interested in testing levels of DHA in breast milk please use my Discount Code BREATHE15 at the checkout to receive 15% off your purchase. Your levels of DHA is contingent primarily on diet. You can choose to share your results or keep them for your own personal use. If you are nervous like I was, the a deep breath and go for it anyways. You have nothing to lose by testing and a whole lot to gain for the future of your children.
(FYI: EverlyWell does have other tests available if breastfeeding is not your thing. Be sure to check out other options that will suit your needs. I'm interested in their sleeping & stress test...Wonder what kind of results I would get with that. Up all night breast feeding the baby....hmm)
Through this experience, I hope to share what I have learned from testing. I hope I have not created tension or offended any of my readers throughout my review. Please feel free to ask me any questions or concerns you might have and I'll do my best to respond as quickly and honestly as possible.
Disclaimer: All writings belong to me and are of my own. I was not told what to write or what kind of feedback to provide. I was asked to provide information on regards to DHA testing of my very own breast milk. I was paid to participate in this campaign in return for my testing, review, and social media postings.