There may be a stinky reason your breastfed baby won't take a bottle


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Michelle Stein

posted in Parenting

Does your nursling refuse to drink thawed breast milk from a bottle? If so, then you're definitely going to want to read this.

Mom of two Michelle Kraft is spreading awareness for an issue that makes bottle-feeding breastfed babies nearly impossible. She originally shared her story on the Breastfeeding Mama Talk Facebook page, where it quickly gained momentum.

"When my baby refused a bottle of breastmilk thawed from the freezer, but would eat freshly pumped breastmilk with no problem, I contacted my lactation consultant to see if there was a reason this was happening," Kraft wrote, of her then-3-month-old son, Waylon. "And there was!"

The Bethel, Missouri mom learned that she produces excess lipase -- an enzyme that breaks down the fats in breast milk. Too much lipase breaks down the fat more rapidly, which can make milk taste sour or soapy when frozen and then thawed. Sure enough, a taste test of her own proved this was the case; the frozen milk tasted soapy and the freshly-pumped milk was sweet. The excess lipase milk is safe to eat, but some babies refuse it because of its altered taste.

Before freezing it, Kraft now has to scald her breast milk on a stove to stop this process. "It was definitely trial-and-error," she told BabyCenter. "I scalded some of my freshly pumped milk, let it cool, and froze it. After a week, I thawed it out and tasted it myself and it was still sweet with no soapy taste. So, I let my baby try it and he ate all 4 ounces with no issue. I couldn't believe it!"

Waylon, who is now 8 months old

Unfortunately, Kraft learned about her excess lipase issue after she had already had more than 800 ounces of breast milk stored in her freezer. Her son obviously couldn't use it. So she decided to donate it to a milk bank in Indianapolis -- where it was pasteurized, refrozen, and sent to hospitals for babies who need it.

breast milk donated

Waylon, cheesing next to the bags of frozen breast milk his mama donated

"The thought of throwing out all of the milk I had already froze made me want to cry," Kraft told BabyCenter. "So I asked my LC [lactation consultant] if I could donate it even with the excess lipase in it and she said absolutely! She told me that the milk bank pools several mother's milk donations together, pasteurizse it, and refreeze it before sending it to hospitals. I was so happy that my milk would help so many babies!"

Pictured above: Michelle Kraft, her husband, Eric, and their two children, Greyson and Waylon.

I know from experience how frustrating it can be to get a breastfed baby to take a bottle -- so much so, that I have to wonder if I have excess lipase, too. (I always thought the thawed milk smelled slightly "off.") We must have tried half a dozen different types of bottles and nipples. I had my husband offer bottles and I even left the house for an entire day each token as a test run before my maternity leaves were over. But still, my babies cried and refused. Eventually, my older two (reluctantly) drank thawed, expressed milk from a bottle. It was either that or go hungry while I was at work.

We skipped this emotional roller coaster with our third child, since I now work from home. But this whole excess lipase business is definitely something to keep in mind for the future.

What do you think of this mom's story? Does your breastfed baby refuse to drink expressed milk from a bottle?

Images courtesy of Michelle Kraft

The post There may be a stinky reason your breastfed baby won't take a bottle appeared first on BabyCenter Blog.