When Your Baby Won’t Take Chilled or Frozen Breast Milk: Could High Lipase Be the Reason?

Ever found yourself in that moment where, after all the pumping and careful storage, your little one just says no to the breast milk you've so lovingly prepared? It's like they're turning down a gourmet meal made especially for them.

The culprit behind these unexpected rejections? High lipase activity.

It's like a secret ingredient that changes the flavor and aroma of your breast milk, and not in a way that wins over your baby's taste buds.

You might notice a soapy or metallic scent that wasn't there before, which can be quite puzzling.

There's nothing wrong with your milk. It's exactly what your baby needs.

But if they're turning it down, high levels of an enzyme called lipase might be the culprit. This can make the milk taste and smell a bit odd, which might not be to your baby's liking. It's a frustrating experience, seeing your hard work go unappreciated.

But understanding that this is a common issue some mothers face can provide a bit of comfort. It's not about the quality of your milk but about how this sneaky enzyme is playing tricks on its taste and smell during storage.


What is High Lipase in Breast Milk

Lipase is an enzyme that’s naturally present in breast milk. Its job is to break down the fats in the milk, making it easier for your baby to digest. Sometimes, though, this enzyme can get a bit too enthusiastic, breaking down the fats faster than usual. This can change the taste and smell of the milk, especially once it's been stored for a bit, making it less appealing to your baby.


Understanding Why High Lipase Happens

The big question of why some moms have high lipase in their breast milk and others don’t is still something of a mystery. What we do know is that this condition, while puzzling, doesn’t make the milk any less safe or nutritious for your baby. It’s just the taste and smell that are affected, which can make some babies more picky about what they’re drinking.

It’s also important to note that high lipase milk doesn’t cause any digestion problems for babies. However, it’s crucial to distinguish this from milk that has actually spoiled, which will have a sour and very unpleasant smell, unlike the soapy or metallic scent of high lipase milk.


Solutions for High Lipase Milk When Breastfeeding

Heating the Milk Gently

A simple fix can be to lightly heat the milk. This process, called scalding, stops the lipase from working too hard but keeps the milk’s nutrients mostly intact. Just heat the milk until you see tiny bubbles at the edges (but not boiling), then cool it quickly and store it. This may affect some immune-boosting properties of the milk, but it’s a worthwhile trade-off if it means your baby will drink it.

Mixing Stored Milk with Fresh

If you find your baby turning their nose up at stored milk, try blending it with an equal part of freshly expressed breast milk or formula. This can help disguise any off-tastes and ensure your baby still gets the full benefits of your milk.

Quick Freeze After Pumping

Lipase starts working as soon as the milk is expressed, so freezing it immediately can slow down the enzyme’s activity. A deep freeze is best for this, keeping the milk’s taste and nutrition better preserved.

Freeze-Drying as an Option

For a long-term solution, freeze-drying breast milk is an effective way to maintain its nutritional value while minimizing the effects of lipase. This process removes water from the milk, which helps keep the taste and smell neutral.

Storage Know-How

Proper storage is crucial for preserving the quality of breast milk. Aim to freeze your milk as soon as possible after pumping.

  • Freshly pumped milk is best used or frozen within 4 days.
  • Frozen milk should ideally be used within 6 months for the best quality, though it can last up to 12 months.
  • Freeze-drying can extend this period significantly, offering a nutritious option for up to 3 years or more.


Closing Thoughts on High Lipase Breast Milk

While dealing with high lipase breast milk may feel daunting, these strategies can help you ensure your baby doesn’t miss out on your milk’s nutritional benefits.

If you're finding it challenging, don’t hesitate to seek support from a lactation consultant. They can offer personalized advice and support to navigate this situation.

Remember Mom, you’re doing a great job, and there’s help available to make sure your baby gets the best from your breast milk without any going to waste.

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When Your Baby Won’t Take Chilled or Frozen Breast Milk: Could High Lipase Be the Reason?