Excess Lipase: Scalding Breast Milk

To My Loyal Readers: Most of you will not be able to relate to the information that I am sharing in this post.  Having excess lipase in your breast milk is very rare.  Most of you aren’t even nursing mothers!  However, several women struggling with this issue have found my blog by searching online for answers.  It is for those women that I am writing this “how to” guide.  For the rest of you, consider this a peek into my daily routine.

Items Needed:

  • Bottle warmer – I use the Munchkins Brand that I bought at Kmart.
  • Digital Thermometer – Can be found at any retail store like Target, Kmart or Wal-Mart.
  • Glass Jar – I use an empty relish jar.
  • Ice Water Bath
  • Plastic Milk Storage Bottles – I use the ones that come with the Medela pump.

Method: My milk starts to get the icky taste after about 24 hours in the fridge.  So I try to scald my milk the same day that I pump it.  The process is really very simple.  I am extremely thankful that I figured out how to do it with a bottle warmer.  Otherwise, I can’t imagine standing at the stove every day trying to get my milk to the proper temperature!

The key to using a bottle warmer to scald your milk is figuring out how much water you need.  A bottle warmer will continue to boil and steam the water until it is gone.  For a normal bottle, you only need a little bit of water to get the bottle to the correct temperature.  However, when you are trying to scald your milk you need more water to get the milk to that higher temp.

The amount of water you need will depend on:

  • How many ounces of milk you are scalding
  • The container you are using to hold the milk
  • The starting temperature of the milk
  • How hot you actually want your milk to get

Typically, I am scalding 4 ounces of cold milk (from the fridge).  I use an empty relish jar.  I was using a plastic bottle that came with my Medela pump, but I stopped when I noticed a hot plastic smell.  That bothered me so I made the switch.  To scald my milk I fill up the blue “measuring cup” that comes with my bottle warmer and dump that in.  When I was using the plastic bottle I needed 1/4 of a cup of water.

Scalding Excess Lipase Breast Milk with a Bottle Warmer

I pop in a digital thermometer to track the temperature of the milk.  I found sites that recommended different temperatures for proper scalding.  One place suggested 145 degrees for 1 minute.  Another suggested 165 degrees for 15 seconds.  Another said that the proper scalding temperature was 180.  After talking with my lactation consultant, I decided that the exact temperature and length of time wasn’t that important.  What really matters is that my milk gets hot.

Scalding Breast Milk - Thermometer

By using one blue “measuring cup” full of water, my milk consistently reaches what I consider the proper temperature.  It reaches 160 degrees easily and usually ends up in the 170s.  I pretty much let the bottle warmer do it’s thing until it runs out of water with out even checking a clock to see how long it has been at a certain temperature.  However, I am careful to remove my milk before it hits 180 degrees.

After the milk is done heating up, I put it in an ice water bath to quickly cool it down.  Now that I am using a glass jar to scald my milk, I have to transfer the milk to a plastic bottle so the hot glass doesn’t crack in the cold water.  Once the milk is cooled I put it back into the fridge until I’m ready to freeze it.  I usually collect 2 days worth of milk to freeze in one bag.  I prefer the Lansinoh storage bags.

Scalding Breast Milk - Ice Water Bath

Scalding all my pumped milk isn’t fun, but it has become my new normal. Now that Grace is eating solids, it actually has come in handy.  I like to use warm breast milk for all her baby cereal.  Since you can’t microwave breast milk, I started timing my scalding session to fit when I want to feed her cereal.  After the milk is done scalding I pour some into her bowl and it works out perfect!

 

Disclosure: I am not a medical professional.  I am simply a mom who has walked this journey.  It is best to consult with a doctor or lactation consultant before making any decisions on how to handle your lipase issues.  This is what worked for me, but it may not be what is best for you and your baby.  I got most of my scalding information from this forum on the Le Leche League website.  What works for me may not be suitable for you and the amount of lipase that is in your milk.  Consider my method as a guide to help you figure out your own recipe for success.  This post contains affiliate links.

This entry was posted in Breastfeeding & Excess Lipase, Parenthood. Bookmark the permalink.

174 Responses to Excess Lipase: Scalding Breast Milk

  1. Leah says:

    Wow…what a long process! Congrats to you for being determined to continue to give her breast milk! Keep up the good work!

  2. Sarah says:

    This blog is so helpful to me. I am wondering if you can comment on how to handle frozen milk – can you just defrost and scald? The problem is I’m on child #2 and I pumped and froze w/#1 with no problem. This time around I went to defrost some frozen breastmilk and after my son kept rejecting it I tried it and it tasted like dishliquid. I threw it out but maybe it’s not bad just affected by this fat breakdown. I have a bunch of frozen bags of milk – can I salvage them? Thanks very much in advance for your thoughts on this!
    Sarah

    • Sadly, once the bad taste is there you can’t get rid of it. You could try to mix your frozen with fresh to mask the bad taste. I tried that with Grace, but she was too picky. Plus I have 575 oz of frozen milk!! That is way too much to try to save! So I’ve become a milk bank donor and I’ll be shipping off my icky milk next week. If you only have a couple of bags (you need at least 200 oz to donate to the bank I am using) I would try mixing it with fresh stuff.

      I am glad you found my post helpful. Having excess lipase has been a big struggle for me, but I think I’m finally to the point where it is my new normal. Feel free to stop by my blog or email me with any other questions that you have. Also, if you read “Excess Lipase: An Introduction” you’ll be able to read about how I “tested” my milk to see if excess lipase was truly the problem.

      • Sarah says:

        Rebekah – thank you so much for responding. I did try some milk frozen on 4/16 and it was not soapy so I should be able to do short term storage! Also, while I don’t have enough frozen milk for a milk bank, I am thinking of using what I do have when I make my 2 1/2 year-old son “cocoa” which I do about once/week. Does anyone think it’s weird that I’d use the breastmilk for my older son and hide the soapy taste with chocolate syrup? I doubt it would have any great benefits for him but I figured, why not?

      • natasha says:

        Hello, my name is Natasha i came across your website in desperate search to figure out what was wrong with my milk. I am a new mother to a six month old baby girl. I have been strictly breast feeding her and pumping when at work.
        I have about 40 frozen bags of milk saved and every time I defrost one the oder of bad soap is horrific. Im devastated to think that
        I cant salvage my frozen supply. I am so upset that this happened. I have contacted LLL and every person I speak to has no knowledge about this and no answers. my child’s dr said if the milk smells i cannot give it to her. Someone at LLL said not to scald it bc it kills all the nutrients… if do scald it will it be ok after I freeze it ? please help Im desperate to try to find out answers. Also will a milk bank take this milk ? I cannot toss it, and how can they salvage it for donation and i cant? please help….Natasha

        • Rebekah says:

          Natasha, I’m sorry you’ve joined the excess lipase “club.” Hopefully, I can help you can find some answers.

          1. There is nothing wrong with excess lipase milk. It tastes bad, but it is still healthy and good for your baby. If your baby will accept the bad tasting milk, then it is fine to give it to her. Some babies will drink it anyway and some won’t. Mine didn’t and I don’t blame her! It really does taste gross. (Yes, I’m saying your dr is wrong. However, I am NOT a medical professional. Do what YOU feel is best.)

          2. Scalding your milk will stop the bad taste from coming. If you scald the milk and then freeze it, it should taste ok when you thaw it out later.

          3. I was able to donate my bad tasting milk to a milk bank. Call around and see if you can find one that will take your milk before you throw it away.

  3. Ethel says:

    I found your post linked from your post on LLL’s forums. I wanted to mention a faster technique (with disadvantages) for women who might find the method above impossible.

    I was lucky and discovered the lipase issue before I returned to work when my twins were 8 months old. Unfortunately, at the time I was sharing an office with two men, and using a bottle warmer at work wasn’t an option. My lipase issues seemed to be relatively severe; I tried delaying scalding by 30 minutes once, only to find my milk was soured within 4 hours.

    I ended up microwaving the milk in a ceramic container in the break room. While microwaving gets bad press, it has no more harmful effects than any heating of breastmilk (destroys some small amount of vitamin C and most IgA, an antibody). The big disadvantage is the difficulty in knowing when you’ve heated the milk enough; I just heated to boiling to be sure, knowing I would lose more of the benefits but preferring that to not providing enough milk for the next day if the milk accidentally soured due to underheating (after discovering this issue, I just couldn’t bring myself to build up a stash, and underheating incidents were just heart-breaking, especially when pumping for 2 – usually over 24 ounces of milk).

    I’d also suggest that women with this issue consider encouraging reverse-cycling by dream-feeding their kids when they (the moms) go to bed and get up, as this can give two more feedings when mom is home without cutting into her sleep. Cosleeping can also encourage more night-feeding without hurting moms’ sleep too much, for some mother-baby pairs (or triads). Feeding more at night allows mom to pump less during the day, which saves time, and gives the baby more non-scalded milk, which will have more antibodies.

    I’m starting work on Thursday w/ my third, and think I’ll try your bottle-warmer technique this time :-)

    • Ethel, thank you so much for sharing this! I have heard of women using a microwave, but the potential disadvantages always scared me off from trying it myself. I am glad to hear that the microwave worked well for you. Please let me know if you have any questions about the bottle-wamer technique as you experiment with that option.

      • Ethel says:

        I actually do have a couple of questions (I also posted them on the LLL Forum). I’ve never used a bottle warmer before, and need to figure out:

        - Will all bottle warmers heat up hot enough, or do some automatically shut off before the bottle gets too hot for feeding (since that wouldn’t be hot enough to get rid of lipase)?

        - Are bottle warmers noisy? I have two other people in my office yet *again*, so the noise of the method is pretty important. And, like I mentioned above, I can’t wait to scald, not even until the end of my work day.

        • I bought the Munchkin’s bottle warmer because I read that someone on the LLL forum used it and it was sold at a store close by. It does NOT have the safety shut off. I believe that most warmers sold by The First Years do have that feature. Avent also has a warmer that “calculates the warming time” for you. I don’t think you want that kind of feature. I would avoid all the bells and whistles when it comes to buying a warmer for scalding your milk. You want your warmer to shut off when all the water is used up. Not when the milk is heated to a certain temperature.

          My Munchkin’s warmer isn’t loud. When the warmer is steaming the milk it sounds like a pot of water boiling on the stove. It certainly isn’t loud enough to disrupt a conversation. When the water is gone the warmer beeps 3 times. That is kind of loud, but very short. I would be very surprised by the insensitivity of your co-workers if they complained about a couple short beeps!

          Keep me posted, Ethel!

          • Ethel says:

            It’s been a couple of years, but I ran across this post again while looking up the latest information – I have a new little one. The bottle warmer method worked great for me. The warmer did shut off before the milk got hot enough, but I used multiple cycles to heat the bottle enough and double-checked with a thermometer. I liked it *much* better than microwaving in the break room – it’s more private (only my roommates needed to know), and doesn’t heat as high – I had to actually boil my milk to be sure it *all* warmed enough in the microwave.

            Unfortunately, my daughter still weaned at 8 months due to the combination of overactive letdown (unrelated issue, *sigh*) and bottle feeding during the day . . . she just liked the bottle’s more steady flow better. But I was able to use this method for 4 months, which I’m sure was very good for my daughter, and (if I need it – haven’t actually checked yet to see if my milk is ‘souring’ this time around) I will use it again with my new son.

  4. Sarah says:

    Quick Question: if my milk does not smell/taste “soapy” for about 24 hours after pumping can I freeze it immediately after pumping and not have to scald it? I realize I may need to experiement with this to see but my friend thought I could do this and then as long as the frozen milk, when thawed, is consumed within 24 hours as it should be anyway, it would not be soapy tasting. Have you found this to be true in your experience?

    Thanks!
    Sarah

    • I wish that would work, but it doesn’t. :( Freezing your milk slows down the lipase, but it does not stop it. I found out that my milk would stay “fresh” in the freezer for one week, but at the two week mark it was nasty. If you use up your frozen stash before it goes “bad” then that might work for you. I tend to store my milk for several weeks before I use it.

      • Sarah says:

        Thanks again for all of your great help. I have been scalding my milk using your awesome and easy method. My son gets about 8-10 ounces/day of the scalded milk at daycare and nurses for the rest. I was really resisting at first but it’s really not that bad. I just scald all the milk I pumped earlier in the day at night and since I use the bottle warmer I don’t have to be standing over the milk the entire time. I load the dishwasher or respond to some emails and it’s done. I am so happy I can continue to give my son healthy breast milk. My older son was on formula starting around 7 months and it was EXPENSIVE. Thanks again Rebekah – you have been wonderful!
        Sarah

  5. Katie Boehle says:

    Hi. I just found out I have excess lipase as well. I have been using the stove top technique with a kind of double boiler system. Thanks for posting your bottle warmer technique, I will definitely give it a go so I won’t heat up my whole house on warm summer days.
    My question is: is the scalded milk good in the refrigerator or should it be frozen? And if so, how long is it good for in the fridge? Like could I scald my milk Friday and give it to my baby on Monday while I am at work? I just wonder if by heating it and not freezing, bacteria could grow easier in the scalded milk or something.

    • Katie, as long as you are quickly cooling down your scalded milk right after you scald it then it should be fine in the fridge for several days. I usually hold on to my scalded milk for about 4 days before I freeze it. Now that I’m using breast milk in my daughter’s cereal, I’m not collecting enough to freeze each day. So I wait until I have enough and then freeze it all in one bag together. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  6. Mandy says:

    Oh Rebekah… thank you SO much for this.

    We discovered excess lipase about a week before I went back to work – when the 100 or so oz of milk I had pumped in the last 3 months was all “bad”. Working full time, with no milk-bank to pull from, I had to pump enough EACH NIGHT to make sure we made it through the next day. And when I had a few days off? It had to go in the freezer IMMEDIATELY or I would have no milk when I went back.

    It was stressful, and exhausting, and lead to a lot of tears. The ONE time I tried to scald a batch of milk (about 30 ounces) on the stove, I burnt it and ended up losing the whole thing. I cried for hours, and never tried again. This method seems SO MUCH better, easier, and less likely to destroy my milk!

    I’m very, very, very excited to try this on our second time around, to see if I can actually have some frozen milk stored up this time. THANK YOU again for not only figuring this out, but sharing it. <3
    Mandy recently posted..Project 365 Week 4

    • Rebekah says:

      *Gasp!* Mandy, you lost 100 oz of frozen milk and THEN lost 30 oz on the stove?!?!?! That would have pushed me over the edge! I really feel for working women who experience the loss of their frozen milk. I was heartbroken enough over my loss and I was able to still nurse my little one all day.

      I really hope that the bottle warmer scalding method works for you and your new baby. Please keep me posted!

  7. Kelly says:

    Rebekah –
    I just found out I have this issue and I am going to go out and buy a bottle warmer tomorrow! I have a bunch of giftcard money to spend at babies r us… and they don’t carry the munchkin brand. Do you know of any other brands that are working for people? This lipase thing is such a pain! Thanks for your post!

    Also, is there a particular reason you need to do the ice bath versus just putting it right back into the fridge or freezer? Is that better for the milk?

    • Rebekah says:

      Kelly, the key with choosing a bottle warmer is that you don’t want a super fancy one. If it says it shuts off automatically that is fine, but you DON’T want one that shuts off automatically when the milk reaches a certain temperature.

      Concerning the ice bath, I personally think it is an important step. Bacteria can grow really quickly when the milk is at that high temperature. By cooling it down fast in the ice bath you lower that risk.

  8. Gretchen says:

    Through a couple experiments I’ve determined I too have the lipase problem. I return to work next week and am trying to figure out a routine for scalding my milk. Thank you so much for your post; it is SO HELPFUL!

    I had 200 ounces stored in the freezer to help through my transition back to work so although I’ve cried over this discovery I’m glad there is something I can do.
    Gretchen recently posted..Giveaway Winners

    • Rebekah says:

      Gretchen, I am so sorry… 200 oz is a lot of milk to “loose.” Some women have had luck mixing their icky milk with the fresh or scalded milk, so there is a chance that you can still use it. Personally, I was so upset about it all that I didn’t want to mess with mixing my milk. Instead I choose to donate it. If you have 200 oz the you would probably be eligible to donate your milk.

      Best of luck to you as you go back to work, figure out the scalding routine and decide how to handle your 200 oz. Please keep me posted!

  9. Mindy says:

    Thank you so much for this blog. I had noticed a sour smell/taste previously with some of my milk, but I thought it was just due to something I had just ate. Then tonight, my husband was trying to feed my son a bottle of frozen breastmilk, and he wouldn’t take it and started crying. I tasted the milk and noticed the same sour taste and knew something was definitely wrong. It is nice to know I am not the only mom going through this. Luckily, I have less than 30 oz of frozen breast milk, although it is still heartbreaking to lose any amount of breastmilk. I will try to salvage some of it by mixing with fresh but if my son doesn’t like that, I will just start using the scalding method. Thanks so much for posting information about your method of scalding. I have the same bottle warmer and plan to try it next time I pump.

    • Rebekah says:

      Mindy, you are right that any loss of breast milk is devastating! I really hope your son takes the mixed milk. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions that I can help with!

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  11. Colleen says:

    Hello! I found your blog through the master thread on lipase on LLL. I have a quick question, I apologize if it has been answered.

    When my munchkin warmer heats up it boils and steams. Is this ok for the breastmilk? I have read not to boil BM, but doe that just mean dont allow the milk itself to boil or the water around it? Thank you for all the help.

    • Rebekah says:

      Colleen, the water around the milk can boil and should boil. It shouldn’t cause your milk to boil, but you’ll want to keep an eye on your thermometer and remove your milk once it gets to your desired temperature. Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with!

      • Colleen says:

        Thank you! I tried it just now and it worked well. I am just now concerned about storage.

        Is a regular freezer ok? I need it to last several weeks.

        I have a -80 freezer at work that i could use if necessary, but i would need to drive the milk there until i go back to work. is this necessary? if yes, should i drive it over there every day or could i put it in the regular freezer for a few days first?

        you are the best!

        • Rebekah says:

          Colleen, a regular freezer will be fine for your scalded milk. If you only need to store your milk for several weeks, then seriously don’t worry about it. You can store milk longer in a separate freezer than you can in a fridge top freezer, but the storage life of your scalded milk should be the same as regular milk.

  12. Rachael says:

    I’m about to embark on the scalding adventure my question is do I have to freeze it out can I put it in fridge… Also after to scald it is it ok to reheat it in the warmer because my daughter is only two months and probably wo t take cold breast milk

    • Rebekah says:

      Rachel, it is perfectly fine to put your scalded milk in the fridge instead of the freezer. If you are going to keep it for more than a couple days then I would freeze it.

      Yes, you can reheat scalded milk. Obviously, you’ll want to use less water so it doesn’t get so hot. :)

  13. Mollie says:

    Thank you so much for all the info! I just discovered last wk that I think I have this prob & my daughter is 9mo. I called my LC & she said just to pour milk directly into pan & heat till bubbles around the edge. Do you think that is ok or should I get a bottle warmer? I tried this last night & am going to check the milk when I get home tonight. I work full time & have no idea if my milk has been like this all along or just recently. I had tasted it periodically & never noticed till recently, I didn’t know what had happened. I poured some out this wkend that I had from couple days earlier, it tasted horrible & I thought it had ruined. At least I haven’t had alot go to waste like some moms but am so glad I found all this info! All of my frozen milk has been used & I usually just have what I pump during the week so I hope this works! Thanks again!!

    • Rebekah says:

      Mollie, if the stove method works for you, then go for it! The reason why I love the bottle warmer process is because I don’t have to babysit the stove to be sure it doesn’t boil. Once you figure out how much water you need in the bottle warmer, you can just let it do it’s thing.

      I’m glad you didn’t “loose” much milk! It breaks my heart to hear of moms having a huge frozen stash “go bad.” :(

  14. ellavinophile says:

    Rebekah – This post has been a GOD send. I have been crying for two days thinking that I was going to have to start giving my baby formula. I found the link to this site from LLLI website and am I happy. I’ll be going out to buy a bottle warmer tomorrow, but I have a few questions.

    I’m on the road 75-80% of the time for work and I planned on pumping in the car. Do the travel/portable warmers work the same way? Would I have to warm the milk in the car? Or could I pump 2-4 times during the day, cool the milk, then scald all the milk at home before bottling/storing?

    What do you suggest?

    • Rebekah says:

      Oh sweetheart! I am so glad you found me.

      Everyone has different amounts of lipase in their milk. My milk started to go “bad” after 24 hours. I’ve heard from some women that it was as short as 4 hours for them. The amount of lipase in your milk will determine if you can wait until the evening to scald it or not. Pump and then leave 1 oz of unscalded milk in your fridge. Every couple of hours taste a drop to see when your milk starts to turn. You’ll notice a sour aftertaste first. If you normally store your milk in a cooler in the car then that is how I would test it instead of in the fridge. Cold slows down lipase, but it doesn’t stop it. So milk sitting on the table will likely turn faster than in the fridge which will turn faster than in the freezer. That is why I would recommend testing your milk in the condition that it will be in during your drives.

      I hope this helps! Feel free to stop by and ask any more questions that you might have.

  15. ellavinophile says:

    Rebekah –
    XOXO!! Any insight into the car/portable warmer? I downloaded the munchkin product manual and it makes no mention of water, but it does say that it doesn’t shut off until you take the bottle out of the warmer…sounds like as long as I have the thermometer in the bottle, It’ll warm to the right temperature. Have you used a portable warmer?

    • Rebekah says:

      Sorry, I have no experience with a portable warmer. I would only pursue that option if you absolutely have to because you’ll also want to cool the milk quickly in an ice water bath. That just sounds like a lot of complications while driving in a car!!

      • ellavinophile says:

        Rebekah –
        I purchased the same bottle warmer that you recommended. I’m still in milk test mode, but so far, the results have been positive. I have two samples in the fridge and freezer. The refrigerated milk has been there since 8/1. 1 Sample I scaled immediately after pumping and the other I chilled then scaled’ 8 hours later (which is what will happen when I return to work). As of today, both refrigerated samples still taste super sweet. I will thaw the frozen milk on 8/8 to see how that tastes.

        Looks like I won’t need that portable milk warmer after all. =)
        Thanks again!
        Mia

  16. Christina says:

    hi. Is it ok to cool my milk after I pump it, then scald it when I get home, then warm it again for my daughter? I worry about cooling and warming the milk too many times. My 3month old baby has been refusing the bottle and I am supposed to return to work in a week. For the life of me I cannot get her to accept a bottle. After tasting my milk that had been refrigerated for two days- I now know why she hates the bottle so much. I’m hoping that once I’ve corrected the milk problem she will become receptive to the bottle. Any tips you can give on getting a baby to take the bottle that she has learned to hate? I tried a fresh pumped bottle and a scalded and reheated bottle and she still refused both-

    • Rebekah says:

      Christina, in my non-medical professional opinion, I think it should be fine to pump, cool, scald, cool, and then reheat again. I would often cool and heat my milk.

      I’m sorry about her refusing the bottle. I had similar problems with Grace. I’m not sure if it was related to her bad experience with the bottle, if the scalded milk taste different from the fresh milk, or if she just truly preferred her milk straight from “the tap.” :)

      Try not to be around when a bottle is being offered. Don’t even be in the house. She’ll likely hold out for you. And she may STILL choose to hold out even if you aren’t in the house. Sometimes babies will drink just enough to satisfy their thirst, but then tank up when mom comes home. Best of luck to you!

  17. Gabrielle says:

    Hi. I had excess lipase with my first son, born march 2009, and I was wondering if this is a problem that only happens with some pregnancies, or if you are stuck with it if you have it. Do you know?

    • Rebekah says:

      Honestly, I do not know. Sorry, Gabriella. My guess is that once you have it you’ll always have it. I have heard of women who didn’t have it with their first child, but then had it with their second. I’ve never heard of anyone who had it and then didn’t have it the next time around.

      Sorry if I’m not that helpful. I would be prepared to have excess lipase with all future children. I hope you are pleasantly surprised and don’t have it!!

    • Cindy says:

      Gabrielle, I had lots of lipase in my milk for both pregnancies. One thing I found interesting is that when my kids got older (over 10 months old), there was less lipase. I had some milk that I forgot to scald and it didn’t go “bad” in 24 hours like it normally did. It didn’t last much longer though so I didn’t stop scalding altogether. I scalded some (the stuff I planned to freeze) and didn’t scald the milk I intended to use within 36 hours. So, at the end, I was usually only scalding on Friday and that was nice.

  18. Kelly Schnitzler says:

    I’m devasted! I have over 500 ounces in our deep freeze and just discovered that ALL of it is “bad”! :( If I understand correctly, there is no way for me to get rid of that yucky taste in any/all of that frozen milk?

    In addition, on the flip side, the only way for me to get rid of the taste is to scald my milk before I freeze it?

    I was blessed with over-producing breasts, but this is the second time a whole freezer full of milk is “bad” and needs to be thrown into the garbage! (The first time my daughter needed soy formula and I was on anti-depressants that kept me from donating it.)

    Sadly frustrated,
    ~Mother of 2

    • Rebekah says:

      I’m so sorry, Kelly. :( 500 ounces is a LOT of milk. I’ve been there so I feel your pain. Please consider donating your “bad” milk instead of throwing it away. You can read about my experience donating excess lipase milk here: http://simplyrebekah.com/excesslipase

      You are right that there is no way to make the bad taste go away once it is there. However, you can try to mix the bad tasting milk with fresh milk. You can also try to use it in baby food. Honestly, those things never worked for my baby. She didn’t want anything to do with it, but it is worth a try.

      You will need to scald all of your milk before freezing it. The only reason you wouldn’t need to do that is if you use the frozen milk before it gets the bad taste. For me, it took my milk 2 weeks in the freezer before it started to get the bad taste. However, for you that time may be much shorter or longer. If you already have 500 oz, then I’m guessing you don’t go through your milk very fast so you’ll probably want to stick with scalding before freezing.

      Good luck to you! And keep your chin up!!

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  20. Kitty says:

    I’m jumping on the lipase train. I figured out my frozen stash was “bad” a few weeks ago, and came to terms with it, but all of the sudden it seems my refrigerated stash is not lasting as long as it used to. My son is only 9 weeks old, but a day or two in the fridge it was fine before. Then yesterday I got out a bottle for him and smelled it after he gagged on it :(

    So I went out and got a munchkin bottle warmer today and I’m trying to get into my new routine.

    One question, after scalding, do you get a film on top of the milk? I did…does this mean I left it warming too long??? Or if the crusty like film is normal, isn’t that gross when it gets thawed from the freezer??

    Thanks so much for all of your info! I’d be lost and in tears probably without it.

    • Rebekah says:

      If you “stir” or “swirl” the milk every once in awhile while scalding it that should prevent the film from happening. Using the bottle warmer method might help with that also. I would also use my thermometer to stir the milk.

      I’m happy to help and to keep tears away! Heaven knows I sure shed a lot of them when I discovered this problem!

  21. Sarah says:

    Hi, I’ve done some experimenting with scalding using a bottle warmer for milk I pump at work, and my glass containers are breaking! Have you ever had this happen? I am using a Munchkin warmer also, and I add water filled to the E line of the cup. I tried an Evenflo 4 oz glass bottle filled with 4 oz of water, and it broke. Then I tried a tall food jar (olives maybe?) with 4 oz of water, which was fine – the water reached about 150F. However, the jar was too tall for my thermometer, so I used a jam jar with about 3 oz of milk, and it broke and I lost the milk. It was a home canning jar, so I thought it would be fine. I guess I should stick to the olive jar, but I’m afraid it will break too and I’ll lose more milk. Any suggestions?

    Actually, I’m a chemist, and I might just use one of the flasks in the lab, since they’re made to withstand temperature extremes. I know most women don’t have that though, and I’m curious why this is happening!

    Thanks for your help and your post. It is very thorough and helpful!

    • Erica says:

      Sarah, I’ve had the same problems with the Evenflo. I try to just cycle them out after a while. Sometimes I can see that they are starting to get weak. I haven’t tried any other glass containers yet. If you come across a better more reliable container, please pass along. I’ve lost 2 bottles that way, and came close to a 3rd, but luckily the crack was only thru one layer and I was able to transfer it to another container.

      • Sarah says:

        So I gave the lab beakers a try, and they work out great! For those women who aren’t scientists/lab workers and don’t have easy access to these kind of things, you can actually buy the beakers on amazon.com. I use a 250 mL Kimax beaker (about 8.5 cm tall, 7 cm diameter), which fits in the warmer and holds all my milk from one pumping session. Plus, it has a spout for easy pouring into a plastic bottle. My daughter is 6 mo old now, and I’ve been pumping at school since she was about 8 weeks old. Here’s my procedure:

        Fill warmer cup to “E” line and heat freshly pumped milk to 150F (unplug warmer if necessary to stop heating). Leave at 150F for 1 minute, then transfer to plastic storage bottle and put in ice water. Leave to cool while I wash pump parts, then put milk in fridge.

        I’m lucky enough to have an empty office to use for pumping, so I just leave my warmer and a set of duplicate pump parts in there. I have a second warmer that I keep at home. Using this procedure, my milk will stay good for the recommended max of 8 days in the fridge and at least 2 months in the freezer (longer tests ongoing).

        I also pump most mornings before my daughter wakes up and use that milk for daycare that same day (it will be sour by the next day), usually about one feeding’s worth. That at least saves me some of the heating hassle.

        Hope this helps somebody!

        • Rebekah says:

          Thanks for the great information, Sarah! It is nice that you are able to give your little one some fresh unscalded milk. Scalding breast milk isn’t bad, but I have heard that it is recommended that babies don’t drink 100% scalded milk because of some of the benefits that are “killed off” by the heat. Honestly, I don’t know how 100% scalded milk compares to formula feeding. Either way, it is nice that your daughter is getting a mix of both.

          Thanks again for sharing!

  22. Laura says:

    I recently discovered the lipase soapy taste in my milk after Jay started refusing the bottle. He is 7 1/2 months and it hadn’t been a problem until just recently. First question: Has anyone noticed a link between any particular dietary changes and when the lipase became an issue? I’ve heard rumors about DHA, but I haven’t taken that since delivery and haven’t changed my other vitamins. Just curious since it seems strange that I would spontaneously start producing more lipase at this point in the nursing game…

    Second question: How long does the bottle warmer method take for approx 4 oz of milk? I’m currently in med school and pump between classes and am not sure if my milk will last until the end of the day when I get home (I still need to find time to do a time test). I’m just wondering if I would have time to pump and scald between classes. Thanks for any help!

    • Rebekah says:

      The question of diet being related to lipase is a popular one, but it seems like no one has the answer. Like you, I discovered kind of late in the game that I had a lipase issue and I hadn’t changed my vitamins or any other obvious element of my diet. I don’t have an answer for you, sorry. If you experiment with your diet, I would love to hear the results.

      For your second question, I don’t remember the exact amount of time the scalding process took. Perhaps it was 1.5 to 2 minutes in the bottle warmer and then I let it sit for awhile in the ice water bath.

  23. Katie says:

    I think the bottle warmer is a great idea, and forgive me if I’m missing something, but I think there is a much easier way! I was pumping into glass bottles anyway to avoid toxicity from plastic (evenflo- they are available everywhere, are a standard size which fits the medela pump, and very inexpensive). After I pump I just put the bottle in the bottle warmer (or a pan of water with a canning rack if I have more than one bottle to scald), heat it until it is 180 degrees F, then put it in the fridge. If I want to freeze the bottle, I just put it in the freezer after it has cooled down. I agree that the bottle might crack if I were to put it directly in the freezer, but I haven’t had any problems just putting it directly in the fridge first. If I’m sending that milk to daycare I have to defrost it and put it in a plastic bottle because they won’t accept glass, but I try to keep enough un-frozen to send to daycare, and save the frozen stuff for my husband to use at home. I definitely don’t think it’s safe to pour scalding hot milk into a plastic bottle! Even if it’s BPA free, who knows what other chemicals are leaching into the milk.
    Also, all of you who have had to get rid of your “stash”, take heart. All that pumping kept your supply strong over those weeks and months, so it wasn’t all for nothing!

    • Erica says:

      Katie, I’ve been doing the same thing pumping into glass bottle (saves on numbers of bottles to wash at end of day too!) – but like Sarah mentioned above, I’ve lost a couple bottles that way because they break. So now I try not to use them for too long.

    • Rebekah says:

      Using glass bottles is a great tip, Katie. Thank you!

  24. Leslie says:

    Thank you! I am returning to work on Monday and have been thawing milk for my LO to take by bottle now. I just noticed yesterday that when I warm my frozen milk it smells sour!! My poor 10 week old was gagging. He has a hard time with the bottle but add in yucky milk. Ew. I am trying to pump enough for daycare on Monday. I have 2.5 ounces down and scalded. Now only 12.5 more to go. I only have 17 ounces frozen so not a big stash but that was his milk for his first day.
    Oh well onward and upward. Big thanks for all of this!!

  25. Alicia Wilkerson says:

    I am glad to know that there is help out here for such a heart wrenching situation! I have breastfed 3 children and for the 1st time I am encountering this lipase issue..ugh! So my milk has “that taste” after 4 hours..so sad. I am going to by a bottle warmer and I will have to warm in my office right after I pump. Thank you Rebekah and to all the other moms! Oh, I would like to know if anyone has any info on what causes the high lipase?

    • Rebekah says:

      Alicia, there have been many people who question if diet has anything to do with it, but I’ve never found any concrete evidence. If you find anything out, please let me know!

  26. Lani says:

    Just wanted to let you all know I found glass bottles made in raccine wi by a company called Life Factory. I found their bottles at Whole Foods but you can also get them online. The bottled are awesome made to withstand extreme temperature changes! I scald in them put the cap on and put it in my freezer to cool.. I have even forgotten a bottle in the freezer!!!!

    • Alyssa says:

      Thanks so much for the great tip! I already had these, and now I’m extra thankful that it will help speed up this process.

  27. Alli D. says:

    Rebekah. I am just discovering with my 2 month old that I have the lipase issue again, as I had it with my first daughter. I discovered it too late last time to try the scalding-freezing method. I ended up just using the limited time I had in the fridge to store my milk and give it to her. So, now I am trying to learn how to scald and freeze. I am following your directions. I apologize for getting right down to business, as I am trying to get this all while they are both napping….we’ll see! Nevertheless, like others, I threw out hundreds of ounces of breast milk, shed tears, and want to send love, good energy, good karma, thankful prayers – whatever you believe in, as your blog is a wonderful source for all of us! I would praise you more, but the clock is ticking, so now to my question: If I taste my refrigerated milk and it is fine and then scald and freeze it, will it be ok when I thaw it later, whether it be 1, 2, 3 or more months down the road? I read that it still breaks down while frozen, so how do I know that the milk I am preparing now will still be good months from now?

    thank you for all your time in helping us lipase ladies (we should be on a bowling league with matching “lipase ladies” shirts :)
    Allison

    • Rebekah says:

      I love the bowling league idea! haha!

      Yes, your scalded & then frozen breast milk will be fine. You are right that freezing breast milk only slows down the lipase, but scalding stops it completely. If you are scalding your milk before freezing then you shouldn’t have any problems.

      I’m glad you were able to find some information this second time around. Good luck!

  28. Millie says:

    I have read that if your LO drinks the thawed breast milk with no issue, then nothing to worry about, even though it smells & tastes soapy to us. Is that right?

    • Rebekah says:

      That is correct. There is nothing wrong with the milk except for the taste. Some little ones are pickier than others. My daughter wouldn’t touch the stuff, but if your baby will then don’t worry about it. If they ever start to reject the milk, you can always try scalding it.

  29. krista says:

    how many ounces is the glass relish bottle but you use? I own some 4 ounce and 9 ounce glass bottles and wanted to know if I could use either of them. Thanks!

  30. Holly says:

    I just found out today my frozen milk has excess lipase too. My son has a cold so I took out the milk I froze the first few weeks he was born. I thought it would maybe have colustrum. He wouldn’t take the bottle, etc., alas, it tastes soapy. I have maybe 150 oz. The sad thing is, he’s having a hard time nursing, so I pump a lot. My supply is kinda low, because I have pcos, but was overproducing the first two months, so this is a huge hit to me. I don’t know what to do now.

    • Rebekah says:

      Holly, I am so sorry. Don’t get too down on yourself. You are doing an amazing thing by pumping for your son. Start scalding and take it one day at a time. You can do this!

  31. Denise says:

    Thanks for this site. Do you know if there are any car warmers or on the go warmers that will get the milk hot enough. I will need to streamline if I have to do this at work. My milk is not lasting long in the fridge and my baby will not take the funky milk.

    • Rebekah says:

      Denise, I don’t know of any car warmers, but the key to getting the milk hot enough is to add enough water. A normal bottle warmer shouldn’t get your milk that hot if you follow the recommendations for how much water to use. Instead, you want to add extra water to continue heating the milk. If you find one that works for you, please let me know!

  32. Denise says:

    Thanks. I think I will order the munchkin, since people seem to have success with that. Don’t know if I will be able to do all this at work and I think my milk is turning quickly. Tonight my baby would not even take the scalded milk. maybe I did not heat long enough or maybe I haven’t truly pinpointed the problem. I feel like I need a support group. This is making me sad and anxious! 4 more weeks till I return to work.

    • Rebekah says:

      I understand. I was devastated when I found out I have excess lipase. I seriously cried for days. A huge part of my struggle was finding someone who understood and could tell me how to fix it! I needed a support group, too!

      My daughter never did do that well with a bottle. I don’t know if it was because the scalded tasted different from the fresh or because she was traumatized from the nasty bottles we had given her or if it was just her personality to wait for mom. Give it some time and you’ll make the best decision for you and your baby.

  33. Denise says:

    Did your lo wait and scream for mom? I wouldn’t care so much if she wasn’t frantic while I was away.

  34. Pingback: The lipase mini-saga… « theadequatemother

  35. Lynn says:

    Hi Rebekah,

    Is there a set time when the lipase turns the milk? i.e. – every 24 hours it changes? Or does it depend on the batch of milk? i.e. – sometimes it becomes “soapy” after 12 hours, sometimes it becomes “soapy” after 24 hours, etc.

    Thanks!

    • Rebekah says:

      It really varies from person to person. I would error on the side of caution and be sure to scald your milk before the 12 hours is up even if it can sometimes last 24 hours.

  36. Alyssa says:

    Rebekah,
    Thanks for the informative post, it has been so incredibly helpful!

  37. MVL says:

    Thanks for this awesome post..its is so encouraging! I have a 9month old and am just returning to work now and discovered the lipase issue. Off to buy a bottle warmer. Thank you so much:)

  38. A'Llyn says:

    Thank you so much for this post…I just noticed the soapy taste in previously frozen milk after returning to work last week. That’s probably why my husband had trouble getting him to take the bottle those days. :(

    The 16 oz from my pumping on Friday still taste OK now (Sunday), so I hope they’ll hold through his feedings on Monday. We only had about 30 oz in the freezer, so that’s not as painful as the large amounts some commenters lost (I winced in sympathy–we lost power briefly last night and my only real concern was preserving the stored milk!).

    It’s so helpful to know I’m not alone with this weird issue, and your tips for scalding are fantastic. I will definitely be using the bottle warmer method in my office if my milk starts going ‘off’ more quickly than he drinks it.

    But mostly I’m just relieved to hear that it’s a version of normal and others have managed to get through it.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  39. CaliDad says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this with the world. We just had to throw away 6 months’ worth of frozen breastmilk because it smelled like vomit when thawed and our baby, rightly so, wouldn’t go near it. It was excruciating to trash those gallons (!) of milk bags. Now, thanks to your article, we are scalding the milk before we freeze it, and I can happily report that our daughter just had her first taste of thawed, scalded breastmilk today, and she chugged the whole bottle in a minute! So, it worked! Thank you, again. You’ve given us a wonderful gift and a sense of relief.

    • Rebekah says:

      Oh my goodness. I feel your pain. Truly I do. I’m so sorry you had to trash your milk and couldn’t even donate it. That is so sad, but praise God your little one is taking the new scalded milk!!!

  40. CaliDad says:

    I also meant to add that we couldn’t donate the breastmilk because my wife takes meds (Keppra) to control her seizures, and no milk bank will accept “medicated” milk. So, sadly, the trash can was our only option for our frozen milk.

  41. Hannah says:

    I just discovered this week that I also have this issue with lipase. I liked the post on the emotional struggle. I was devastated to see all of that milk (150+ oz) that was no longer acceptable to my baby. All of that time and work to pump for something I thought was being stored for later. I tried the method suggested above and broke 3 different jars (one relish jar and 2 small mason canning jars). More wasted milk and frustration!! What might I be doing wrong? Also, any tips to scald on the stove-is a metal pan ok or should I put it in a glass jar in water?

    • Rebekah says:

      If you are having a problem with breaking jars, then I would switch to plastic. I’ve actually been using all plastic with my second child that was born this spring. If you do it on the stove, you’ll want to put the milk straight into your pan.

      • Hannah says:

        I was waiting to reply until I tested the scalded milk after 3 weeks in the freezer. One bag was a little “off” but the others seem ok. They taste slightly different to me than fresh or regular frozen, but she seems to take it ok. After conducting several experiments and having a fridge and freezer that looked like a laboratory I was able to discover that my fresh pumped milk only lasts about 12 hours. If I freeze fresh milk I can get about 4-5 days from it and then anything I want to save longer than that needs scalded. I plan to immediately freeze anything I pump after returning to work in the freezer there so that it can be used at day care the next day or day after. Anyone else with this pesky lipase issue know how long my scalded milk SHOULD last now? Loving the other posts above and knowing I am not the only person to have this. It feels almost like my body was betraying me/baby in some ways. Pumping, freezing and storing was time consuming and it was pretty devastating to see all of that milk was soured. Glad to see some other mamas that have dealt with the lipase and were still able to provide breastmilk!

        • Rebekah says:

          Hannah, I believe that your scalded milk should last as long as regular milk should last. You should treat the storage of your scalded milk the same way you would for normal milk that doesn’t have any lipase issues.

          It is great that you are going to be able to freeze and use your milk right away. That cuts out the scalding step! Scalding certainly isn’t hard, but it is always a good thing when a busy mom can cross something off her to-do list.

          You might want to consider scalding your milk on the weekends before you freeze it. That way if you end up getting ahead at all with your pumping, you can have some that doesn’t need to be used up right away. Just don’t forget to label which is scalded and which isn’t!

  42. Hannah says:

    Oops, I must note that the jars broke in the bottle warmer. Of course I poured the milk into a cool jar for the water bath cool down. ;)

  43. Kathy says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! My baby is 11 weeks old and after weeks struggle with him to breastfeed, I switched to exclusively pumping. He’s been taking breastmilk from a bottle all this time, but in the last week has been refusing the breastmilk. This has been very upsetting since I have struggled with low supply and it has taken a lot of effort just to get to where I am (pumping just enough for the next feed, and still supplementing a little bit of formula when he is still hungry).
    I did a taste test between freshly pumped vs pumped at last feeding and the milk definitely soured. The time difference is only about 3 hours. Can lipase affect milk so quickly? Also I wonder if my milk has always tasted this bad, or if this is just a recent occurrence.

    I can still get baby to take the soured milk with some fussing, and offering a bottle of formula at the same time, but I’m going to try scalding to see if I can rid the milk of the sour taste

    • Rebekah says:

      Lipase can change the taste of your milk pretty quick. My milk lasts for about 24 hours, but you aren’t the first woman I’ve heard from that has to scald their milk right after pumping. That is pretty annoying, but hopefully you’ll get into a good routine soon.

      I don’t know why your baby is just now refusing your milk. I had that question with my own daughter. It is possible that your milk changed OR that your son is just getting picker. I don’t really know though.

  44. Marissa says:

    When you store it after your done scalding it do you store it in the fridge or the freezer? And what do you store it in? Do you let the glass jar cool down mad then store it in that? Or do you store it in the plastic bottle that it cooled off in? Thanks! This has been a great help!

  45. Cara says:

    Just did this with the beaker and bottle warmer. I bought the munchkin one but it shuts off before the milk reached 144 so I kept having to turn it back on. Is that necessary or should I have just waited. Certainly got the milk up to the 150s quickly by pressing it again. Next test will be to see if she’ll drink the scalded milk. I have in my freezer so much frozen milk that she won’t drink (2.5 months, AM pumping only and each pumping was anywhere from 3 oz to 7 oz…too depressing to actually count how many oz). I wonder if some of it is actually rancid though because it smells kind of fishy like what my hands free pumping bra smells like after a couple days. I did a taste test of my milk and around 18 hrs is when it starts to get the hint of soapy taste but the smell doesn’t occur. That only seems to be there after it’s been frozen and thawed. My milk from 3 wks ago has the slight smell and taste but it seems that after it’s been thawed and in the fridge for a few hours, it gets even stinkier and nastier tasting. Like the warmed up lipase then goes into hyperdrive and destroys the milk fats faster than it was before it was frozen…does freezing then rewarming act as a catalyst for the enzyme?

    • Rebekah says:

      If the munchkin warmer is shutting off too early, it probably because you need to add more water. It should only be shutting off when the water runs out.

      Your milk shouldn’t actually be turning rancid if you are using proper storage guidelines. The lipase milk does smell/taste pretty nasty though.

      If you have frozen milk that you have not scalded, then it will get the bad taste after thawing. Freezing slows down the lipase so you will notice the milk getting the bad taste after you thaw it.

      I hope that helps!

      • Cara says:

        It definitely shuts off before the water is gone and I’ve even added more water than up the E line. Regardless, the method still works fine and I use this method on the mornings that I don’t intend on using the pumped morning milk that day since its not enough milk to use a saucepan to scald. I just reorganized the deep freezer and I have 12 1 gallon size ziplock bags stuffed full of milk from the end of July until mid october, when I discovered why my milk smelled when thawed and that my baby won’t drink it. Talk about depressing to see all that milk that won’t be used unless she becomes less picky. Since she’s being anti-bottle in general, I’m only using fresh stuff or thawed scalded milk to make sure she doesn’t stop taking the bottle completely.

  46. Sandra Chaplin says:

    Thank you so much for posting the information about using a bottle warmer! I found out with my first child that I had excess lipase…thankfully the taste didn’t bother her until she was about 7 mo. old…although I did end up throwing out some milk that I had stored. Now that I have a newborn, I was certain to not let any of my pumping time go to waste. After a little research online, I found your site and advice about using the bottle warmer has been working perfectly. Thanks!!

  47. Kerry Hull says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    I am really happy to have found this site. I have been realizing lately how funky my milk smells and tastes after taking it out of the fridge and freezer. My daughter (9 months) doesnt seem to mind, but it really bothers me! It seems to last about 2-3 days in the fridge. Not sure about the freezer yet.

    I have a question about the bottle warmer you use. I know you said the Munchkin brand, but there are several. I guess the one I got (the Precision Digital) does have the automatic shut-off, and I should get the one you have instead. How long does it take to heat up the milk to 160-180 degrees? Mine just shuts off, and I have to keep waiting 3 minutes and then starting it over. Really frustrating!

    When you donate to a milk bank does the milk have to be in bags? All my frozen milk is in the freezer, and I hate to just throw it all out.

    Also, do you know if the excess lipase is something that happens after time, or have I had this problem all along and just never noticed? I started pumping in the first 2 weeks so we could supplement with breastmilk- my daughter would just fall right asleep everytime I nursed her and wasn’t gaining enough weight. She goes to daycare now, and I send EBM every day. As far as I know she has never refused a bottle.

    Thanks again,
    Kerry

    • Rebekah says:

      Kerry,

      I use a cheap Munchkin bottle warmer. You don’t want a fancy one or it could shut off on you – like your’s seems to be doing.

      What kind of containers do you have your frozen milk stored in?

      I don’t know if excess lipase develops over time or not. I didn’t notice it with my daughter until she was 5 months old! We rarely needed to use any of my pumped milk so I was using milk that I had pumped within her first month when I discovered it. However, I don’t know if I had it from day one or not.

  48. Jamie says:

    I just noticed a soapy taste to my milk (while mixing it into solids). My daughter is 8 months old. I have no idea how long it’s been like this-I only ever tasted small drips, usually while pumping at work. If my daughter has never rejected milk, can I skip the scalding process altogether? Or only do it on Fridays when I need the milk on Monday at the sitters? It seems to be OK overnight.
    Poor baby, I can’t bear the thought that she got bad milk every Monday for the last 5 months!

    Thank you for sharing this info and answering questions! I found it so comforting and encouraging!

    • Rebekah says:

      If you know you are going to use the milk before it gets the bad taste then skip the scalding.

      If there is any doubt that the taste might change before you use it, then scald it. Even though she is drinking it now, she might reject the milk later down the road. I say better safe than sorry.

  49. Natalie says:

    Hi, I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for posting this (several years ago)!!! I am sorry I now have to join the excess lipase “club” but I really appreciate you posting about your success with the bottle warmer. I had to throw out about 60 oz of milk this morning and was devastated :(
    Now off to get a bottle warmer!!

  50. Suzy says:

    Thank you for all of this valuable information– I learned so much reading through the threads. My daughter was refusing to take the milk that had been frozen and realized after tasting it that it was soapy- just thought I didn’t rinse well enough. I’m going to get the bottle warmer and give the scalding a try!

  51. Nancy H. says:

    Thanks so much for this post! After almost two weeks of my 6 month old refusing all bottles filled with previously-frozen milk given to her by her nanny (just went back to work – my little girl didn’t take too many bottles while I was at home, and those she did were always filled with just-been-pumped milk), I started to do some research and came across your post. After doing some serious sniff tests, I’ve been scalding my milk for 2 days and praying this would do the trick. Yesterday my baby girl finally took a bottle with milk I pumped and scalded on Monday!! I’m not sure I could have figured out how to scald my milk at work successfully without your very thorough post. You’re a lifesaver :) My baby and I both thank you!

    • Rebekah says:

      Nancy, my story sounds similar to yours. My little girl had mostly fresh milk when she rarely had her bottle. That is why it took us so long to find out I had lipase issues. She was 5 months. I’m glad you figured out the problem. Best of luck to you!

  52. Ivory says:

    Thank you soooooo much!!!!! I was so confused and saddened, that I was gonna have to stop breastfeeding. Your blog is helping me, so appreciate you taking the time to document your experience! Be blessed! :)

  53. Emily says:

    How long would your milk stay good in a freezer after scalding it?

  54. Dawn says:

    I want to thank you for posting your story, nearly 3 years ago! It has helped so many women, including me. I discovered have an issue with lipase last week when I tried to go back to work, only to have my poor baby refuse to eat all but one bottle while I was gone! It didn’t make sense that he would eat from a bottle sometimes and not others, until we figured out that the bottles he was refusing smelled horrible. We have since tried your bottle warmer method and my milk lasted more than 4 hours before going bad…in fact it is day 3 and it still looks good! I do have a question for you though…

    Did the Munchkin bottle warmer you used fill such that the bottle was submersed in water? The only one my husband could find warms the bottle by steam with a small layer of boiling water at the bottom of the warmer. The reason I ask is because I am using glass bottles to scald the milk and one exploded on me this morning before I could transfer it to a plastic bottle for cooling (another 3.5 ounces down the drain!). I am trying to figure out if it is the warmer I am using. Thanks!

    • Rebekah says:

      The bottle warmer I use sounds like yours – powered by a small amount of boiling water with some steam.

      I had really good luck with my glass relish jar for awhile, but then it cracked on me. After that I couldn’t find one that worked as well. Eventually I went back to using plastic.

  55. Priz says:

    I don’t know how to thank you! I just went back to work and my baby refused to eat for 9 hrs, I thought she missed me too much but now I know what’s really going on. You just may have saved us. Thank you for sharing your story.

  56. Diana ela says:

    Thank you for posting this! You saved me from a breakdown today!!! I have a question. After scalding my milk, can I follow the same storage guidelines (3 days in fridge/ 6 months in freezer)? Or does it have to go to straight to freezer that day after scalding? And if so, how long does it last in freezer?

    My dd gets BM bottles on weekdays while I am at work. I usually have anywhere from 2-4 ounces left over daily that sit in fridge and she gets within the next two days. Fridays I freeze leftovers. Wondering if I need to come up with a new schedule.

    • Rebekah says:

      Your scalded milk should stay fresh in the fridge like normal milk. However, I would do a taste test just to be sure. If you don’t notice a change (and I don’t think you will) then there should be no need to freeze it right away.

  57. serenity says:

    I take care of a 4 month old 4 days a week. his mom gives me her milk that she expressed the day before at work. It seems as thought I’ll heat his 4 oz bottle and after like 5 min of him eating he only eats an oz then decides he is done. I smell it and it smells sour. you talk about heating it then freezing it but what if you don’t want to freeze the milk. can she just scald it then put it in ice water then the refrigerator? when I reheat it later will it then smell normal?

  58. Lisa says:

    Thank you so much for all this info! It was a huge help when I was battling lipase issues with my first son. I’m now on #2 (one month old) and am going to scald my milk from the start, rather than losing a ton of it to funkiness.

    With my first, he never took a bottle after the first funky tasting one I gave him (before I knew about lipase). I tried a zillion different bottles and nipples, but no luck. Our sitter eventually got him to drink some from a Tommee tipee sippy cup. He’s a stubborn little thing to this day!

    I have a question about knowing if you have a problem with lipase vs chemical oxidation. The kellymom site (that links to this page) says that if your milk tastes sour or rancid rather than soapy then it might be because of polyunsaturated fats in your diet or minerals in your drinking water. I always assumed I had a problem with lipase as scalding helped. But it’s so hard to know when you have nothing to compare it to. My milk just smells off and tastes nasty. Any ideas? Is the soapy smell very distinctive (ie there’s no question it smells like display soap)? I wouldn’t say mine smelt soapy. It was nasty, and more rancid. If its not lipase, I want to avoid all the scalding again this time and change my diet or drinking water instead!

    Thanks!

    • Lisa says:

      Sorry, ‘dish’ soap….

    • Rebekah says:

      Excellent question, Lisa. I never felt confident that my milk tasted soapy either. But here is the deal…

      If the problem is coming from your water quality, then why don’t all the mothers in your town have this problem? If the problem comes from your diet, then why don’t we see whole families struggling with this (assuming that they eat a similar diet)?

      If scalding works, then I think you should stick with it.

      Congrats on baby number two! I hope your breastfeeding relationship is a blessing to you both.

  59. Loyal says:

    Hi Rebekah,

    I wish I would have known about being able to scald my milk with my first son! Like so many others, I did not know about lipase until I went back to work and lost 330 ounces of milk! Luckily, I have had this bottle warmer that I can now use for baby # 2.

    My question is if I am using the Medea plastic bottles to scald my milk, do I fill up the “measuring cup”, or do I put. In 1/4 cup of water in the reservoir? I tried only using the “measuring cup”, but the milk would not have gotten beyond 110 degrees. FYI, 1/4 cup is about two of the measuring cups full of water.

    • Rebekah says:

      There are many factors that play into how much water you need to use:
      - the temperature of your milk
      - the type of bottle you use
      - how much milk you are scalding

      I recommend experimenting with how much water you add until you find the right amount for your circumstances.

      I’m not sure that really answers your question, but I hope it helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  60. Gabby says:

    Thank you so much for this info! I recently discovered I had a lipase activity issue. I have 200+ in the freezer that I plan to donate…not ideal but it is what it is! I’ve started to scald and hopefully that works in the future!!

    • Rebekah says:

      I hope the donation process goes smoothly for you, Gabby. I am so sorry you’ve had to join the Excess Lipase Activity “club.” :(

  61. Rahima says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences & ‘how to’ guide. Our little one had been taking a bottle since about 2 mos. old but suddenly stopped. I had no idea about the lipase issue until I started researching a couple of days ago when I almost gagged on a little bit of my milk, so gross no wonder she wouldn’t drink it. Now through your info and my little experiments I have determined that I can wait at least 12 hours before scalding my milk (thank goodness because I go back to work in two days!). Happy to report that my little one is happily taking her bottle again ;-)

  62. Rahima says:

    I meant to add that I have done some additional research and think that an increase in flax seed, yogurt & multivitamins may be the culprits to this change in breast milk. I am cutting those out & hope to see some positive results. Until then, scalding is a great alternative for pumped milk when I am not home. I will feed from the source the rest of the time as she loves to nurse ;-) thanks again and hope this helps! Good luck out there to all the other Mona’s & keep up the great work.

    • Rebekah says:

      Please let me know if you notice a change in your breast milk as you change your diet. I’m working with a doctor to see if we can get some official research done on excess lipase activity and this would be valuable information!

  63. Janelle says:

    Thanks so much for all of your information! It was so helpful. I read somewhere that having your gallbladder removed could be a factor. Has anyone else had this experience? I didn’t have issues with my first daughter but I am now with my second. Thanks again!

    • Rebekah says:

      Janelle, there hasn’t been enough research to tell what causes excess lipase activity, but I’m working on changing that! I hope someday we’ll have answers.

  64. Chas says:

    After recently going back to work I have come to realize that I also have the lipase issue. As much as this devastates me I am determined to figure out a way to make this work. Does the BM need to be scalded right after it is pumped or can I store it in the fridge throughout the day and scald it when I get home from work?

    • Rebekah says:

      Chas, everyone’s lipase activity is different. Some women needs to scald within four hours. I was able to wait 12 hours or longer. Chances are that you will be able to wait until after work, but you’ll need to experiment to find out.

  65. Elisa C says:

    thanks so much for the exhaustive amount of info that you’ve gathered, and for sharing it all with us, including the tears and frustration! I’m in a bit of a pickle because most of the time it seems like my daughter is accepting my high-lipase milk (even though I’ve gagged horribly at times when testing it myself), and apparently it’s all still “good” even though it smells/tastes as if it’s horribly spoiled… I got terribly anxious that at some point she’d start refusing it, so I experimented with the hassle of scalding, but then a friend of mine (who had alerted me to the existence of the high-lipase problem) noted that scalding milk may kill off the helpful antibodies and some vitamins? So now I’m back to not knowing what to do — is it better to go with the most intact (non-scalded) milk but risk that at some point she’ll refuse it (and also feel guilty that I’m giving her some truly awful-tasting stuff), or scald it so it stays sweet-tasting but possibly lose important antibodies/vitamins? Curious what you think based on all you’ve learned!

    • Rebekah says:

      All excellent questions and concerns, Elisa. If I were you I would start scalding the milk. I would be scared that your little one will stop liking the taste of the nasty stuff. Are you freezing a bunch? How fast do you move through your frozen stash? If you don’t keep your milk frozen for long then you could skip the scalding and only start doing it if you have a problem.

      Scalded milk isn’t as wonderful as unscalded, but it is still better than formula. However, I would definitely talk to your own doctor or lactation consultant before making a decision.

      • Elisa C says:

        Thanks, Rebekah — well, after just a couple weeks of being at daycare full-time, the little one has made her way rapidly through most of my frozen collection, so the oldest stuff in there is only about 10 days old at this point (yet another source of stress/angst!)… But that’s a good point — now that we’re dealing with milk that’s been frozen less than 2 weeks, rather than stuff that’s been in there for 2 months, perhaps the lipase won’t have turned it rancid-tasting yet. I think I’ll have to start doing some taste tests again… Fingers crossed that we can skip the scalding (I seem to also lose 5-10% of a day’s batch, about an ounce, through evaporation)!

  66. knickema says:

    Yay, glad to see there are recent comments and responses so I can ask a question! I pump at work in a lactation room with a sink and outlet. My milk does not stay good until I get home from work (donating my 250 oz of frozen), so I need to scald with a bottle warmer after pumping. I have no access to ice, but the water from the sink is cold. How critical is the ice bath? Can I just hold the bottle under the cold running water for a short bit? I then put my bottle in the Medela bag with ice pack and put the bag in the fridge in my office. My worry is the ice bath part. I did some searches online and can’t find any one asking how critical the ice bath is. Do you know? Thanks!

    • Rebekah says:

      The ice bath is important so you can cool the milk quickly. Bacteria love warm milk. :) I’m guessing that using an ice pack in the fridge would be good enough.

  67. Allison says:

    I had no problem with my first, but issues with excess lipase activity with my second baby. I did the scalding in a bottle warmer, as well. One thing I’d caution about is the type of container you use. I started with an empty olive jar, which worked fine — until it shattered one day in my bottle warmer! Using non-tempered glass can easily result in the same outcome. I invested in some tempered glass bottles after that. I’ve also heard that using metal bottles is a good option, with the added plus that you can put them straight from the warmer to the fridge or ice bath.

    • Rebekah says:

      Allison, I honestly never thought about using metal bottles. Thank you for the tip. I’ll have to look into that.

      Yes, it can be very frustrating to have glass break. It happened to me a couple of times and I ended up going back to using plastic because of it.

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  70. Liz says:

    I am also dealing with the Lipase issue. I work a 12 hour night shift in a busy hospital and just returned back to work with a freezer full of soapy milk that my sweet boy will NOT drink! I do not have access to a stove a work and am planning on using the bottle warmer method. Is there a reason you put it in an ice bath? How come you can not just put it directly in the fridge? Also, how long do you leave it in the ice bath after scalding? Once the milk hits 160 degrees do you immediately remove from the warmer? Thanks so much.

    • Rebekah says:

      I do an ice bath because bacteria can easily flourish at that higher temp. On busy days, like what you experience at work, I’ve put the milk and ice bath right into the fridge. Then you don’t have to worry about it until you are ready to go home.

      I liked to keep my milk at 160 for a little bit before I took it out, but I tried to remove it before it hit about 180. Everyone’s milk is different so you might want to experiment.

      I hope this helps.

  71. Knickema says:

    Liz, I’ve been scalding with Medela bottles in an Avent bottle warmer for a little over two months now. My excess lipase made my milk taste like vomit within two hours of pumping, so I have to scald immediately after pumping. I heat my milk to 145 degrees and leave in bottle warmer for one minute (temp keeps climbing). Then I remove, put in Medela bag with ice pack and lid off bottle to let steam out, pack up pump stuff, then cap bottle, close bag, and put the whole thing in the fridge. I haven’t had any problems with this method and my milk stays sweet. Hope this helps!

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  73. Laura says:

    Rebekah,
    I want to thank you a million times over for creating this website! You’ve saved my baby! She has colitis from multiple food allergies (I’m on a restricted diet), and her evolving taste buds had her rejecting the bottle and scaring the poor daycare ladies. I’m copying your method exactly, and the milk is stable, and I’m so grateful! Now we just have to convince Maggie that the milk is worth trying again!

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rebekah says:

      Laura, thank you so much for sharing this with me. I was so upset when I was experiencing excess lipase activity with my first baby. I wondered why this was happening to ME. Well, this is why. YOU are why. I’m constantly amazed at how God has used my blog to help so many families. Thank you again and best of luck with little Maggie.

  74. JM says:

    I was wondering what thermometer you use(d)? I’ve gone through two of the yellow Taylor digital thermometers in the last 6 months. I think that sitting in the steam screws them up and the digital display stops working. I would love to find one that can handle daily scalding for more than 3 months. Thanks!

    • Rebekah says:

      I used a regular thermometer. I would think the yellow waterproof ones would be better than anything I was using. I’m surprised it isn’t holding up well for you. What is the point of waterproof if it isn’t working?!

      I’m not sure what to tell you. :(

  75. faith says:

    hi there thank you so much for the information. I have found it most useful. I do have a quick question, I use the bottle warmer to scald my milk and I often forget when it’s in there resulting in it being in the warmer for about an hour or so although it never goes past 180 degrees is it possible to over scalded milk by the length of time thank you so much

    • Rebekah Hoffer says:

      Is the bottle warmer running that whole time? Well, I suppose it really doesn’t matter if it is or not. Either way I would recommend that you do NOT leave the milk in the warmer for an hour. Heat the milk to 180 or less and then take it out and put it immediately into an ice bath.

  76. FAS says:

    Thanks for sharing your method of scalding. I just recently discovered that I have excess lipase after stocking up quite a bit (I don’t even want to count the bags or ounces! )
    I wanted to ask why you stop the heating process before the temperature reaches 180? I was told by someone else to heat the milk to 180 then quickly cool in ice bath.
    After reading your method I have been heating the milk in dr browns bottle warmer until it reaches 160 then transfer to ice bath in 15 seconds.

    • Rebekah Hoffer says:

      For me, it wasn’t an exact science for how long and how hot to heat my milk. I wanted to be sure I stopped it before it got to boiling. I used 180 as my cut off. If it hit 180, I took it out of the warmer. If you are heating your milk to 180, that is fine, but I wouldn’t heat it much hotter than that.

  77. FAS says:

    What is the best way to scald or does it vary for each person? 145F for 1 minute, 160F for 15 seconds or 180F and transfer to ice bath immediately?
    I’m anxious about getting it right so I don’t lose/ waste more milk!

    • Knickema says:

      I have really high lipase levels in my milk, as in it tastes like vomit within a couple hours, and I do 145 for a minute. I don’t know why the different methods, but this was the fastest, so it’s what I chose and it’s worked so far. No more vomit milk! Hope this helps.

    • Rebekah Hoffer says:

      I understand your fear. Truly I do, but I think you can relax a bit. The point is that you get your milk HOT. I really don’t think the exact temp and exact time matters as much. Try it one way for awhile, test your milk again to see if it is working, and just go with it. You can do this, mama.

  78. Kara says:

    Rebekah,
    I was using your bottle warmer scorching method with my babies r us brands bottle warmer and 6oz canning jar… The first time it worked great the second time the jar broke and I lost 5oz then it broke again another 5oz :( not sure what I’m doing wrong I actually use less water only 1/8th cup and I assumed this jar would be fine since its made to be boiled…my thermometer is not digital but that shouldn’t matter… What do you think

    • Rebekah Hoffer says:

      Kara,

      Is your milk/jar cold before you start scalding or is it room temp? Extreme temperature changes will cause glass to crack. Have you considered trying plastic or stainless steal?

  79. FAS says:

    Thank you for your reply!
    I appreciate your help :)

  80. BB says:

    After collecting over 500 oz of milk and struggling with getting baby to take a bottle, I’ve discovered I too have high lipase. Looking at donating now. I use a saucepan to scald at home until there are bubbles around the rim; this had worked fine. Milk is still sweet after storing. But, I am back at work and using a Munchkin bottle warmer to scald immediately after expressing. I also have a digital thermometer and stainless steel bottle. I heat to just 180 degrees in the middle of the milk (so not just resting thermometer on bottle of bottle where it would be hottest). My husband just discovered that this milk is still tasting soapy within 2 hours of pumping! Is it possible I need to scald it even hotter than 180?? Does it matter that bubbles don’t form around rim at 180? Thanks for any advice. I’m pretty devastated here. :(

    • Rebekah Hoffer says:

      I am so sorry. I honestly don’t have answers for you. You are the first mom to tell me that the stove method worked for you, but the bottle warmer method is not. I just don’t know what to say. Maybe you need to freeze the milk immediately after scalding?

  81. BB says:

    Thanks for writing back! I am going to try to warm with bottle warmer until bubbles form around edge, if that’s even possible. If that doesn’t work, I may need to resort to the microwave, though I know that can destroy the milk molecules (per LLL). Thanks again for putting this info here for the world! It’s nice to know I’m not alone. :)

    • Knickema says:

      BB, I stir my milk every minute or so with the thermometer while it’s heating so everything gets to the same temperature. My milk also tastes bad within just a couple hours of pumping. I do 145 degrees for one minute using an Avent bottle warmer.

  82. BB says:

    Thanks, Knickema! I’ll give that a try, too!

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