Back when I was nursing and pumping for Tino, I started sending frozen milk to his grandma’s house. Upon defrosting it, I noticed it smelled pretty gross. I had followed the rule of 5 (5 hours out fresh, 5 days in the fridge, and 5 months in the freezer), so I knew it wasn’t old. Tino wouldn’t take the milk, though, so I started looking into it. Turns out, I had high lipase, something I had never heard of before. For those of you who don’t know, “Lipase is an enzyme that breaks down the fats in your milk to help baby digest it. When lipase occurs in excess, this process happens much more rapidly and can make the milk taste off or sour after a period of time. Milk with excess lipase is safe to drink, but some babies dislike the taste and refuse it.” (San Diego Breastfeeding Center, LLC) Unfortunately, since Tino wouldn’t take it, I had to toss it. Turns out, I could have donated it to a NICU, but I didn’t know at the time.
This time around, in the NICU, we immediately asked the nurses what I could do about it, and they recommended scalding my milk (also called blanching). This heating process kills the lipase, causing it to *hopefully* get rid of the smell once it is defrosted. So, I immediately started blanching all of my milk so that this time, when I defrost it, Andrés will take it. *I will note, I have tried to give him milk that was frozen before I started blanching it (and it DOES smell) and he takes it fine, so that’s good to see! It can be different between kiddos.*
Anyway, when I started blanching I couldn’t find many resources on it, so I thought I’d walk you through the process step by step, in case you are lost and looking for help like I was!
How to Scald Your Breastmilk
Step 1: Pump and refrigerate your milk. I usually do this process every 2 days, so I can have enough milk to make the process worth it. Since milk is good in the fridge for up to 5 days, you could go even longer.
Step 2: Pour it all into a sauce pan and turn to high heat.
Step 3: Heat until there are bubbles around the edges (NOT boiling)
Step 4: Take it off the heat and put it in an ice bath to cool it quickly. Stirring will help. *I want to say here that I kept seeing to “cool the milk” but I didn’t know how exactly without letting it go bad. Heated milk is only good out at room temperature for an hour, and it would take longer than that to cool without the ice bath. I didn’t want to put it right into bottles in the fridge after being so hot. Then someone finally recommended the ice bath and it was the best suggestion!
Step 5: Once cooled, transfer to something easy to pour. You could use a funnel, or something with a spout.
Step 6: Measure it into whatever increments you like. I do 6 just because that’s what the bag holds.
A few notes- not everyone needs to do this, by any means! If you are wondering if you might need to, I’d recommend freezing a bag of milk and defrosting it in 3 weeks to a month. If it smells fine, you are in the clear! I’d really only recommend even thinking about this if you already know you’ve got that stinky milk 😉
Happy to answer any questions and hope this helps!