Scalding of Breast Milk (The Complete Guide for Moms)

Offering breast milk to your baby is the best health gift that every mom wishes to achieve right after delivery moving forward.

The problem comes in when you’re a working mom or you are not able to latch, due to certain reasons.

Scalding breast milk can help eliminate excess lipase in the milk. If this isn’t done, then the taste and soapy smell, thus keeping your baby’s health in check and the quality of the milk.

However, don’t worry as breast milk can be expressed manually or by way of pumping and be stored and your baby still get its benefits.

The stored breast milk sometimes develops some smelly odor and certain tastes, which is triggered by excess lipase enzyme found in milk.

To inactivate this excess lipase enzyme, you need to perform a process called scalding and your baby will not reject the milk.

Before we embark on systematic guideline on how to scald breast milk, let us first go into details, as to why stored breast milk will have some funny smell at times.

Why stored breast milk develops funny smell and taste

As mentioned earlier, the idea behind this unusual smell in stored breast milk is actually caused by lipase enzyme, which is in excess in your milk.

The enzyme lipase normally break down so fast immediately after expressing breast milk, which Cause  the milk to have that funny taste and smell, after it has de-freeze.

However, it’s worth noting that lipase enzyme in breast milk is not harmful. I have described the main functions of enzyme lipase as follows:

  1. It helps in keeping the milk fat to have a good mixture with the Whey part of the milk.
  2. It helps in keeping fat globules to be easily digested.
  3. Help in breaking down milk fat into soluble fat nutrients like vitamin A and D, which will be readily present for your baby.

6 Factors to Consider Before scalding breast milk 

1). Check for a metallic or soapy taste

Excess lipase can still have an impact on breast milk even if proper freezer storage  guidelines has been followed.

Change of taste and smell can take place within a very short period of time or even days  during breakdown of fats by lipase.

To check for this change, you can express fresh milk and place in separate container and take another container having milk which has stayed for one or two days and see the variance.

A soapy/metallic taste forms after lipase break down the fats. If the milk tastes okay, then your baby might be refusing the bottle, nipple shape or the caregiver for unknown or known reasons.

2). Rule out any other issues

The smelly taste can also be caused by other reasons such as storage conditions. It’s good to explore some of the reasons, before you settle for milk scalding.

3). Use appropriate storage containers

The best containers are glass, polypropylene food grader and polybutylene plastic. If you find milk bottles and bags, then, it is more suitable and preferable for storing breast milk.

4). Observe storage timeliness

Normally, milk can be stored safely for up to five days. After this five days, you need to put it in the freezer.

This is because milk can stay in frozen state, up to one year but, it is recommended to use it within six months.

5). Adjust freezer settings

In case the temperature settings in your freezer is not correct, the milk might not be frozen.

You also need to keep your milk at the far end of the freezer instead of near the door.

Ensure that you close all other food tins in the freezer, as this will prevent your breast milk from absorbing other smells from that frozen food.

6). Find out the time you have before scalding the milk

If you have tried all the above guidelines and still your milk has change in taste and smell, then you need to find out how much time you have before embarking on scalding the breast milk.

After expressing milk, keep it at room temperature and keep tasting and smelling at regular intervals to check for change. Take note of the time the milk starts smelling or testing bad.

It’s unfortunate that some moms will need to scalds their breast milk immediately after they have expressed, simply because the milk goes bad within a short period.

Other moms are a bit lucky as they can scald their milk every evening after expressing.

How to Scald Breast milk: step-by-step guide 

If you have excess enzyme lipase in your breast milk, it should not pose an alarm, because, you can perform some few tasks to assist in keeping off sour smell and funny taste in your breast milk.

This systematic guide will enable you to have skills on how to avoid change in smell and taste by scalding breast milk and of course the action to take if the baby reject the scalded milk.

Scalding of breast milk is a simple process that, every mom finds it easy to follow and avoid the funny smell and taste in stored breast milk.

However, scalding of breast milk cannot be done on already stored or cooled milk, it’s only applicable to freshly expressed breast milk.

Step One: Prepping

  • The first thing to do is to buy a small kettle or bottle warmer that you will use to scaled breast milk. 
  • You need to remove germs in the kettle by sterilizing it with hot water, before you pour milk into it. An ice bath should be ready where you will set your kettle after milk has been scaled. 
  • Pour you milk in the kettle.

#Golden tip **: Why use Kettle or bottle warmer to Scald Breast milk?

As compared to normal pot, using kettle ensures that there is no milk contamination in the process.

In addition, the kettle or bottle warmer makes it easy to pour the milk out at a later time.

One of the biggest challenges might be the likelihood that, you do not have a stove for scalding breast milk.

Meaning you cannot freeze your expressed milk. However, it is good to remember that scalding milk using bottle warmer or kettle saves you a lot of time.

For example, 350 ml milk takes at least 4 minutes to heat up, so you can approximate by taking this amount as a reference.

If you add 15 to 20 minutes of pumping, it means, you will do all the staff in less than 30 minutes.

Step Two: Scald the Milk

  • Light your stove, place, set the milk on it, and have a keen observation of the milk. Don’t move away even an inch as it will boil very fast. 
  • When you see bubbles forming at the sides of the kettle, you can now turn off the stove. It is advisable not to allow it to boil completely.
  • Tip: Prepare your ice bath while your milk continue heating up.This Saves you a lot of time. But it is strongly recommended, to prepare the ice first, before you set the kettle on fire, especially if it is your first time to scald breast milk.

Step Three: Cool the Milk

  • After removing the milk from the stove, cool the milk immediately in an ice bath by placing it in the ice.
  • You can actually do the washing and pack up, as your milk cools down. This will save you on time, because you will use a shorter time.

Step Four: Measure Milk for Storing

  • I strongly advise you to measure your milk before packing them in milk bags, this is because markings on those bags might not be correct. 
  • Some milk might be lost by evaporation, when it is being scaled.

Step Five: 

All Ready to Be Stored.

How to tell if Excess Lipase is the Issue?

You might have followed all the storage guidelines but still, you get the smelly or that funny taste coming from the milk.

  • Express your fresh breast milk.
  • Pour it into two separate milk bags.
  • Put one milk bag in the freezer and the other in the refrigerator.
  • Leave them inside for 24 to 48 hrs. 
  • Melt the milk from the freezer.
  • Test the two bags of milk.
  • Test both samples of milk.
  • If you find a smell from the frozen milk, then there is likelihood that lipase is in excess.

If there is high lipase in breast milk, it does not necessarily mean that the smell will be rancid.

Having rancid smell in breast milk might also means, there is an issue with storage or probably the milk is expired.

Is Excess Lipase Breast Milk Safe for Baby to Drink

Despite the fact that your breast milk has a slight smell and maybe you have followed all the storage guidelines, high lipase in breastmilk is fully safe for the baby to consume.

If you are lucky that the baby takes the breast milk with high lipase, do not bother yourself.

What If Baby Refuses the Breast Milk

If your baby rejects the milk with high lipase due to unpleasant taste, you can do some of these few things. 

  • Only feed your baby with freshly expressed milk
  • Only feed your baby with freshly expressed milk.
  • Pumping and breastfeeding your baby with fresh breast milk is the best way to avoid a lot of trouble but it is worth noting that, if you are a working mom, then scalding will be the best option for you.