Refusing the bottle? Milk tasting soapy or sour? Excess lipase may be the cause.

2015-11-13T20:49:27+00:00November 13th, 2015|Categories: Fertility Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Lipase is a naturally occurring component in breast milk and in every person’s digestive system, it helps our bodies break down the fat we eat and use it in useful ways inside our bodies. Lipase plays an important role in keeping your baby healthy by helping her body absorb the nutrients from your breast milk.

If breast milk has too much lipase, it begins to digest the fat in the milk and leaves behind a soapy, metallic or sour taste. Unfortunately, many mothers discover their milk has excess lipase after pumping and storing for a few weeks. Once lipase has changed the taste of the milk, it cannot be returned to the original state.

Fortunately, the stored breastmilk is safe for your baby to drink, although many babies will refuse the bottle due to the change in flavor and smell.

To determine if your breastmilk has excess lipase:

Pump or hand express 2-3 ounces of breastmilk, place it in the refrigerator. Every hour, smell and taste a small amount of the milk. Write down the time you notice a change in the smell and taste. Do this a few times until you find a consistent time and be sure there are no odors in your refrigerator your breastmilk could be absorbing. Some moms find their milk changes right away (1-2 hours), others find the milk takes longer to show changes, (18-20 hours).

If your milk has excessive lipase, you can still freeze, store and thaw your milk for your baby. You will need to take some additional steps before freezing your milk:

• To neutralize the lipase, you will need to heat your milk to 180 degrees.
• Most moms pour their milk into a metal bottle, then use a bottle warmer without an automatic safety shut off (otherwise the bottle warmer will not allow your milk to get to the high temperature required).
• A bottle warmer that submerges the entire bottle, rather than just part of the bottle will raise the temperature of your milk faster.
• Stir your milk gently with the thermometer.
• Using a metal bottle will allow you to place the bottle into an ice bath immediately after reaching 180 degrees. Use caution when quickly cooling a glass bottle, it may shatter.
• Many moms heat their pumped milk upon returning home at the end of the workday. You might ask your partner to heat and cool your milk while you breastfeed.

If you need to heat your milk at work but can’t use the bottle warmer, consider the microwave. Typically, microwaving breastmilk is not recommended. The high, uneven heat of the microwave can inactivate some components in your breastmilk. However, if your baby is doing some drinking from the breast and the microwave is the only option for preserving your milk, it may be a good choice.

After cooling you breastmilk, use Milk Trays or storage bags to freeze your milk as usual.

Excessive lipase in your milk can present a unique challenge for storing your breastmilk and bottle feeding. Your baby may continue to refuse the bottle for a few weeks even after the lipase has been corrected. Continue to offer the bottle and, eventually, your baby will likely give the bottle another try.

Talk to your pediatrician or lactation consultant about any concerns you have about breastfeeding and/or your baby’s health.