- Express a small sample of breast milk and place in the fridge – maybe 2 ounces or so
- At various intervals – 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 and 24 hours test the milk by smell and taste, chart what you find
- If the sample has excess lipase, you’ll notice a soapy taste and a spoiled smell at some point. Different moms with excess lipase experience “the turn” at different times. Sometimes it is immediate, sometimes it’s a few hours later.
My milk turned right around 18 hours. Anything expressed and consumed before that 18 hour mark had no taste/smell change. Anything after, was a lost cause.
So, what exactly is lipase …
According to KellyMom: Lipase is an enzyme that is normally present in human milk and has several known beneficial functions:
- Lipases help keep milk fat well-mixed (emulsified) with the “whey” portion of the milk, and also keep the fat globules small so that they are easily digestible (Lawrence & Lawrence, p. 156).
- Lipases also help to break down fats in the milk, so that fat soluble nutrients (vitamins A & D, for example) and free fatty acids (which help to protect baby from illness) are easily available to baby (Lawrence & Lawrence, p. 156).
- The primary lipase in human milk, bile salt-stimulated lipase (BSSL), “has been found to be the major factor inactivating protozoans” (Lawrence & Lawrence, p. 203).
So, when there is excess, the lipase enzyme works in overdrive and results in the sour smell and odd taste.
How to “fix” milk effected by excess lipase …
Sadly, expressed milk that has turned can’t be salvaged. But, freshly expressed breast milk can be treated before it is stored. To “fix” excess lipase expressed milk can be stored by scalding the milk. It’s best to do this as soon as possible. By scalding, the lipase is made inactive and stops the process of fat digestion.
To scald milk …
Transfer breast milk into a glass bottle and place into a bottle warmer. Insert a digital thermometer and turn on. This thermometer is my favorite because you can set your desired high temp and it beeps when it reaches that temperature. The goal for scalding is to reach 180 degrees.
Once scalded, quickly remove the bottle from the bottle warmer and cool. I found it easiest to quickly pour the heated milk into a new glass container and place in the fridge. An ice bath is also an option. Just be sure that the hot glass doesn’t get quickly cooled or else it will shatter.
When no longer warm, milk can be poured into storage bags and frozen “like normal”.
A side note from KellyMom … “Scalding the milk will destroy some of the anti-infective properties of the milk and may lower some nutrient levels, but this is not likely to be an issue unless all of the milk that baby is receiving has been heat-treated.”
The rest of the story …
Once I determined I had excess lipase I mourned my freezer stash of pumped milk that was effected. But then I got to work setting up my scalding routine. Every day when I got home from work, my husband would start scalding that days pumped milk while I nursed my daughter. It became second nature to scald milk and although an annoyance, when it comes to breastfeeding struggles, I’ll take it.
Excess lipase is rare. I’ve yet to meet another mama in person who has battled it. But, the internet is a wonderful place and through it I found invaluable research, resources and friends.
If you would like an extensive review of lipase and how to cope I highly recommend a fellow excess lipase mama’s ebook, Why Does My Breastmilk Taste Bad?. Worth every penny!
Here are some more excess lipase resources …
Soapy aftertaste to breast milk
Expressed breast milk: Frozen breast milk tastes bad to baby
Simply Rebekah – a mom’s excess lipase story
Can diet change help with the lipase issue
Important questions about excess lipase
My first post on excess lipase
Battling and resolving excess lipase in breast milk – a mom’s story
Chronicles of a nursing mom (with a scalding video!) – a mom’s story
The problem with excess lipase – a mom’s story
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- World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival – Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks — Throughout her breastfeeding journey (since March 2009), Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy has shared countless tips and tricks on the topic of breastfeeding.
- Nursing in the Wild — Meredith at Thank You Ma’am posts about how seeing other moms nurse can make all of us more comfortable with nursing in public.
- Normalizing Breastfeeding — Sara Stepford of The Stepford Sisters confronts the social stigma vs. the reality of breastfeeding and opens up about the steps she takes to make herself and others more comfortable with the process.
- Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old — This is where Lauren at Hobo Mama and her second-born are at in their nursing relationship, two years in.
- Perfectly Normal — Stephanie from Urban Hippie writes about the way she and her family have done their part to try and normalize breastfeeding in a society that doesn’t get to see breastfeeding as often as they should.
- Diagnosis: Excess Lipase — Learn about excess lipase and how to test if your expressed milk has it. That Mama Gretchen shares her own experience.
- Redefining Normal — Diana at Munchkin’s Mommy reflects on how we can normalize breastfeeding in our society.
- Nursing Openly and Honestly — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work feels that the most socially responsible thing she can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture her children openly, honestly, and with pride.
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- Tackling Mastitis with an Older Nursling — Much of the advice available for supporting recovery from mastitis seems to be aimed at mamas with younger nurslings. Juliet of Twisting Vines, posting at Natural Parents Network shares tips for dealing with mastitis while breastfeeding a toddler.
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- Boobie Biter — Rachel Rainbolt at Sage Parenting offers guidance on how to survive and thrive a boobie biter with your breastfeeding relationship intact.
- My take on breastfeeding advice — Diana at Munchkin’s Mommy shares her insights on nursing for both new moms and new dads.
- My Top Five Breastfeeding Tips for Delivery Day: Think “A-B-C-D-E” — Mothernova shares how her continued success at breastfeeding with her second child rests on a foundation of five key things she did to prepare for baby’s arrival, along with things she did when she and baby first met. Easily enough, these tips can be categorized as “A-B-C-D-E”: Access to lactation consultant, Baby-friendly hospital, Communicate your plan to breastfeed exclusively, Demand, and Expect to room in.
- Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU — Twintrospectives at How Do You Do It? shares her 5 tips for learning to breastfeed multiples while in the NICU.
- Breastfeeding on a Dairy-Free Diet: Our Journey and Our Tips — Finding herself nursing a baby with food allergies, Jenny at Spinning Jenny embarked upon a dairy-free journey with her son for eight months. Here she relates her reasons for making the decision to give up dairy in her diet, why it was worth it, and tips for moms on the same path.
- Normalizing Breastfeeding in my Home — Shannah at The Touch of Life shares how she plans to help keep breastfeeding normal for her own children, even when her breastfeeding years are over.
- A Year With My Nursling — The more you see and hear, the more normal it becomes, so That Mama Gretchen is sharing her heart on the last year of breastfeeding – the ups and downs, but mostly the joy of her priceless relationship with her son.
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- Normalizing Breastfeeding for Older Kids — Sadia at How Do You Do It? hopes that openly discussing breastfeeding with her (now weaned) daughters will help her children feel comfortable with breastfeeding and their bodies in general as they grow.
- Nursing in Public — Listen up, mammas. Those other people around . . . they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you and that beautiful baby. Nurse on, says The Swaddled Sprout!
- How to Nurse a Teenager — Sarah at The Touch of Life declares: the purpose is to help normalize breastfeeding a toddler.