Heather asked me to share my story with you because we hope to help out lots of frustrated mothers who have tried everything else to get baby to take a bottle!
Having high levels of lipase in my breast milk wasn’t something I read about anywhere and was a little blindsided. Luckily there are some great resources for nursing moms out there: lactation specialists and the website kellymom.com. I consulted both and learned what to do.
Finding Out I Had High Lipase in My Breast Milk
I’ve been pumping since my daughter Garrity was about 2 weeks old. I started because I had oversupply issues. Garrity was basically choking on my milk, so at the suggestion of a lactation consultant, I would pump for a few minutes before every feeding. This helped to empty out my boobs a little, so she wasn’t drinking from a fire hydrant. Because I was still on maternity leave and still 100% nursing, I started storing this pumped milk for emergencies.
When Garrity was 3 months old, I decided to pull out some frozen milk to test out a bottle — and it reeked! The milk smelled like weird soap, and I immediately dumped it out. Maybe I hadn’t frozen it correctly or it was rotten? So I tried a couple more frozen bags from my stash, but all of them smelled the same way. I was stumped and I had no idea what was going on, but there was no way I was going to give this stinky milk to Garrity.
I mentioned this to my lactation consultant, and she told me I probably had high lipase in my milk. Lipase is an enzyme that breaks down the milk fat. Having excess means it breaks down faster in my milk, which makes it smell. She said the milk is fine. Most babies don’t mind the mild change in taste and will usually drink it, but it freaked me out. I had a freezer of high-lipase breastmilk, and while I’d never actually offered Garrity a bottle of it, I didn’t want to get stuck with that being her only option.
How to Get Rid of the Lipase in Your Milk
There had to be some way I could do to get rid of the lipase. I learned that there was nothing I could eat or drink to change it before it came out of my body, but I could scald it after I pumped. What is scalding, you ask? It’s heating up the milk to inactivate the lipase and stop the process of fat digestion. Basically it would make the milk not smell but would make it slightly less nutritious.
Learning that I had to add a new step to my feeding process was overwhelming. Pumping, nursing and now scalding!? But turns out it wasn’t that hard.
The Process of Scalding Breast Milk
Because I still was producing a ton of milk and hadn’t had to tap into my frozen stash, I decided to only scald the milk I pumped in the morning. Anything I pumped in the afternoon or evening I just didn’t have time to deal with. My theory being if Garrity really hated my frozen milk, maybe she’d be fine if I mixed in part of the scalded with it.
To scald the high lipase milk, you have to heat the milk to 180 degrees (on the stove, not in a microwave) and then cool it. I read a lot about this! Some women use thermometers to make sure they got it hot enough, but my lactation consultant told me just scald it until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan.
Tip: There are ways to scald it in a bottle warmer. If you google how to do this you will find a ton of info.
Here is my process for scalding breastmilk:
- Pump my milk and transfer it from the Medela bottles to a small saucepan. Heat the milk until bubbles formed around the edge of the pan.
- Transfer the milk from the pan to a measuring cup with a spout. The spout is very important because I didn’t want to spill any milk in the process of going back and forth between containers.
- Pour milk from the measuring cup to an 8oz glass mason jar and put in the fridge. The milk needs to cool before you freeze it. Because this milk is hot I use a glass container. Even when things say they are BPA-free, I am very anti-plastic and especially anti-heated plastic.
- Store cooled milk in the fridge until I have time to transfer it to the freezer.
- I love the Lansinoh breastmilk bags and store the milk in about 5-6 ounces, lay it flat to freeze in our kitchen fridge and eventually transfer it into our garage freezer.
Now that I am a few months in, excess lipase in my milk is really no big deal. Many babies don’t have any issues with it so if yours doesn’t care, you might not even have to go through the scalding process.