If you’ve read my previous post you’ve heard the wonderful news of welcoming our newborn son, Jackson Wilder, into this world just two short months ago. I think I can officially call myself a #BoyMom now. As our family has adjusted to adding one more to our tribe, baby and I have been getting settled in and thankfully breastfeeding is going wonderfully. Since this is my third time breastfeeding my milk came in quickly and even though baby has a slight tongue tie it hasn’t been problematic for either of us. Yay!
As luck would have it, just a few weeks before Jackson was due to arrive I was given the wonderful opportunity to have my breast milk DHA levels tested by EverlyWell. So, a few weeks after Jackson was born I got my kit, followed the simple instructions and mailed it to the lab to be tested. I’ll share my results after a little lesson on DHA.
Q: What is DHA?
A: Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is an essential omega-3 fatty acid and valuable nutrient for infant development. Because of decreased consumption of these essential fatty acids over generations, many individuals have lower Omega-3 levels than recommended, which can manifest in lower DHA levels in breast milk. Breast milk is commonly considered the best nutrition you can offer an infant, and having higher DHA levels may offer even more benefit.
Q: Why is it important for baby?
A: DHA is a critical part of a baby’s health across a number of areas including eye development, nervous and immune system health, and — most importantly — cognitive development. Because the brain’s growth is a major part of the baby’s early years and this process requires a high amount of DHA, babies require a consistent, optimal intake of DHA for up to two years after birth as their brain continues to develop. Baby formula is typically fortified with DHA, but because levels can vary dramatically in natural breast milk, women who want to take advantage of the numerous benefits of breastfeeding are encouraged to monitor how much DHA they’re providing to their feeding infant.
Q: Who is this test for?
A: This test is designed for women who are currently breastfeeding and want to monitor their breast milk’s overall percentage of DHA — a vital Omega 3 Fatty Acid for infant development. Why is DHA so important? DHA levels in breast milk is a reflection of mom’s DHA levels and an indication of the amount of DHA the baby’s growing body is receiving.
Q: Why test breast milk DHA levels?
A: Your own levels of DHA is contingent primarily on diet. You acquire this important fat through eating things like fatty fishes, liver, or even algae. According to the National Institute of Health, DHA levels in American women is typically too low. Because the American diet is most often overly dependant on red meats, eggs, poultry and other protein sources not high in DHA, DHA levels in the body are often only 25% (or even less) of the recommended range.
Q: What does the test involve?
A: Glad you asked! First, order your kit from everlywell.com (Use code “KJS15” for a 15% discount on Breast Milk DHA Test) Once you receive your test kit in the mail just follow the simple instructions. All you need is just a few drops of breast milk to apply to the collection card, wait for it to dry, place in the accompanying bag and send it to the lab in the pre-paid postage included.
As you can see from the photos above, the kit comes with everything you need to take your sample and send it back to the lab. It only takes a few drops of breast milk so it’s easy to collect.
If you’ve been reading my blog or following along with me you know I’m a fan of fish oil and all of the wonderful benefits it offers. I’ve been supplementing with an ultra-pure and concentrated fish oil supplement for years and I also enjoy eating salmon and sardines occasionally.
Wonderful sources of DHA include:
- fish oil
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
- hemp seeds
- egg yolks
After just a week of sending my test kit, I got the email that my results were ready to view! Here they are!
I was very happy to see that my DHA level was above average and within a good range! I’ll continue to supplement and eat omega-3 rich foods to keep baby and me happy and healthy 🙂
If you would like to have your breast milk tested you can
get 15% OFF with code KJS15