Guest post by Rebekah of Simply Rebekah
I took a breastfeeding class before my baby was born. I had a lactation consultant help with the very first feeding. I read breastfeeding blogs. I was an educated mother, yet I was completely unprepared to handle the moment I found myself asking, “Why does my breast milk taste bad?”
My first baby often refused to take a bottle of expressed breastmilk when I left her with my husband or a babysitter. I assumed that I was doing something wrong. Maybe I needed to offer her a bottle more often. Did we need to try a different kind of bottle? I was at my wit’s end when I came home from a girls’ night out and found out that my husband struggled once again to feed my daughter the bottle of breast milk that I left for her. In a moment of frustration, I tasted the bottle of breast milk she had refused. It tasted horrible!
Immediately, I began searching online for answers. After some serious digging, I discovered that I had excess lipase activity in my expressed breast milk. This rare problem causes expressed breast milk to develop a bad taste over time.
Lipase is an enzyme that is in every woman’s breast milk. It helps digest the fats in the baby’s stomach. For some women this enzyme is a bit over active and starts to break down the fats in their expressed breast milk before it gets to the baby. This excess lipase activity is what causes the bad taste.
Through a lot of research, and many tears, I was able to move forward and figure out how to have a healthy breastfeeding relationship with my daughter that still allowed me to leave her with a babysitter.
Image by Simply Rebekah
The Importance of Tasting Your Breast Milk
Excess lipase activity can happen to anyone. There hasn’t been enough research done to determine why some women struggle with it and others don’t.
If you have any intentions of pumping breast milk, you need to do a taste test. If you want a few bags of breast milk in your freezer for date night, do a taste test. If you are a working mother who wants to build a large freezer stash, do a taste test.
Tasting your breast milk is the most important breastfeeding advice that you’ve likely never heard before.
How to “Test” Your Milk for Excess Lipase Activity
To “test” for excess lipase activity, keep a very small amount of expressed milk in your refrigerator and taste it every couple of hours for several days. If the taste doesn’t change after a week then you most likely do not have excess lipase activity. However, if the taste becomes offensive, then you should definitely start researching excess lipase activity.
There are many things that can make your breast milk taste different:
- vitamins and supplements
Those things may make your breast milk taste different, but they shouldn’t make your breast milk taste horrible. However, excess lipase activity does cause a horrible taste.
How to “Stop” Excess Lipase Activity
If you suspect that you have excess lipase activity, the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath. Don’t blame yourself, and don’t let this stop you from enjoying your breastfeeding experience. Although the breast milk has a bad taste, there is nothing wrong with the nutrition of the milk. It is perfectly safe to feed a baby milk that has been affected by excess lipase activity.
There isn’t a cure to stop breast milk from having excess lipase activity. However, there is a way to stop your expressed breast milk from developing the bad taste that excess lipase activity causes. Heat deactivates the lipase enzyme. By scalding your breast milk after pumping, you can prevent the bad taste from forming.
I’ve taken my experience with excess lipase activity and turned it into an eBook to help educate and encourage other breastfeeding mothers.
In Why Does My Breast Milk Taste Bad? you will find:
- My personal story and what happened when my second child was born.
- Step by step directions on how to scald your milk to stop the bad taste.
- Answers to 31 frequently asked questions.
- 8 suggestions on what to do with all of the bad-tasting breast milk in your freezer.
- Step by step information on how to donate your bad-tasting breast milk to a milk bank.
- Valuable information from Dr. Ruth Lawrence, the nation’s leading authority on breastfeeding
- Support, encouragement, and the knowledge that you are not alone.
Spread the Word
The sorrow that comes from discovering that your entire freezer stash of breast milk tastes bad can be prevented. Tell every mom and mom-to-be that you know how important it is for them to taste their breast milk. A simple taste test can make all the difference in the world to a pumping mom.
Does your breast milk taste bad? Have you ever “tested” it for excess lipase activity?
Rebekah Hoffer blogs at Simply Rebekah where she shares simple ways to make life a little bit easier. She shares everything from freezer friendly recipes to the secret to saving money on a new baby to her favorite “green” bath and body products.
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Top image by Simply Rebekah