thawed breastmilk

Celeste - posted on 11/20/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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How is thawed out breastmilk supposed to smell?

I finally worked up the courage to leave for the afternoon, and have my husband attempt a feeding using my stockpile of frozen milk. It did not go well... I came home to a stressed out husband, a sippy cup that was still almost full, and a screaming mad hungry baby!

After I nursed the poor little guy, I checked out the cup - and it really did not smell appetizing at all. I can totally see why he didn't want it.

Is thawed breastmilk supposed to smell just like fresh breastmilk? If there is a difference, how much of a difference should there be?

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Stephanie - posted on 11/27/2010

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You can also have the smell of soap. If you have a deep freeze that is much better, but if you don't then make sure the milk is stored in the back of the freezer and not close to the front. This will help with the thawing every time you open the door. Each time you expose it to any warmth it introduces bacteria into the milk which it didn't have before. You can store milk 6mo -year in a deep freeze. Especially if it isn't opened much. You may also want to try the NUBY silicone tip cups. They offer a much easier transition to sippys and they act more like the breast. Just a try. My kids ADORE them and that is how they made the switch easier.

Nicole - posted on 11/27/2010

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I have heard from several lactation consultants that thawed bm can smell soap-like, from the fat breakdown with freezing. Supposedly it doesn't affect the composition of the milk though.

Heather - posted on 11/28/2010

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I work in foods and deal with thawing things correctly every day. The best way to thaw foods is to place it in the fridge. Obviously, you can only do this if you know a day in advance that you will need it. The "emergency" thawing procedure is to place the item under cool running water. (I am not one to leave the water running over something, so I put it in a bowl of cool water. If it needs to be thawed fast I put it under room temp or warm water.)
The reason that things should not be put in hot or too warm water is that the inside of the bag of mil will be frozen, the outside will be hot, and in between that the milk sits directly in the "temperature danger zone," from 40-140 degrees. In this temp range bacteria flourishes.
When I place my milk in room temp water it thaws in less than ten minutes. I break up the frozen middle as it thaws to make it go faster, and I change the water once of twice, but it can easily be done early and the bottles put into the fridge for later. Breastmilk thaws really, really fast.
On side not, having nothing to do with actual safety, I have also heard that thawing breastmilk in water that is too hot can cause the funky smell. Try thawing in cooler water.

Leona - posted on 11/27/2010

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Ah ha! Sounds to me that you have the exact same problem as me. Breastmilk (like the milk of all mammals) contains an enzyme called Lipase that breaks down the fat in the milk to make it more easily digestable. If you have a very high level of this enzyme, expressing doesn't work so well because the "breaking down" process begins as soon as the milk leaves the breast. Freezing does not stop the process so the milk is breaking down in the bottle or freezer and then smells rancid and "off" when you go to use it. What you can do is scald the milk - heat kills an enzyme. As soon as you express, pour the milk into a little saucepan and put it on the heat. Watch it till you see little bubbles forming around the edges and then take it off and cool it. Once it's cool you can freeze it and it will keep fine. This method is fine as long as it's only, say, one bottle a day or less. You wouldn't want every feed to have been scalded as this process kills a lot of the good stuff in breastmilk.

Carolyn - posted on 11/22/2010

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actually your not supposed to shake breast milk ever. it breaks down the composition and can ruin some of the nurtitional value. you can blend you milk just as easily swirling the bottle.



secondly you should not put your frozen milk directly into hot water to thaw it. you should put it under cold water gradually warming it to luke warm water. lets say you froze 4 oz but only want to use 2, if you put it directly into hot water, you have to waste the last 2 oz as you cannot use it later. hot water may be faster, but it is not the directed or recommended method for thawing breast milk. if you can cook frozaen meat by placing it in hot water to thaw, you can "cook" your breastmilk too.



either plan ahead and thaw it in the fridge, or use cool leading to warm water.



oh and some women, i cant remember specifically what the enzyme is, but some either lack it or have it , which makes the stored milk taste/smell metallic and the child will refuse. someone had previously posted a link about it , i just cant remember in which thread. im sure a few moments spent on google you could find it

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Nicole - posted on 11/28/2010

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I agree with previous posts regarding the extra lipase. The smell changes very quickly, I'd say within 24 hours for me. You can stop the process by scalding, but it does take away some of the benefits of breastmilk. Also, if your baby becomes used to it, the breastmilk is still fine to give your baby. It is not truly sour or bad. My son was tube fed breastmilk in the hospital for months without any problems from it. The hospital was aware of the lipase issue and confirmed it does not otherwise change the benefits or nutrition of the milk.

Stephanie - posted on 11/27/2010

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In australia they say throw it out after 3 months. Once I thawed frozen milk in boiling water and it smelled off and the next time I thawed it in hot water and that works fine. Although I use it within a week of freezing cos I mix with his solids.

Arianna - posted on 11/27/2010

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Some people have more of the naturally occurring digestive enzyme in their milk (than others) and the expressed milk begins to digest itself even when frozen right away. I just saw someone else mentioned this, and I wish I remembered more. Best to you in your search.

Merry - posted on 11/27/2010

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Just a more comical thought, maybe you ate some onions or celery or something else strong smelling way back before you pumped that bag! The milk does smell and taste differently with our diet, so maybe you had something strong smelling before pumping that bag :)

Kylie - posted on 11/27/2010

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My daughter also refused my frozen milk, and it smells awful so i don't blame her! Some womans milk just doesn't freeze well! I never had this problem with my other two girls, just this one!

Lexie - posted on 11/27/2010

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Frozen breastmilk does not smell at all like fresh. Mine smelled sort of like it was metallic. We work on getting my daughter to take a bottle/sippy at a young age, so we never had issues. I froze and thawed hers correctly, but it still smelled metallic.

Brandy - posted on 11/22/2010

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Carolyn is correct, you shouldn't shake the milk it should be gently swirled to remix. My husband when he is franticly trying to sooth our lil girl doesn't know the difference in swirl and shake....lol. milk storage and refreezing can be read at LLL website....but I was just suggesting this could be a reason he pushes the bottle away. Wrong temp is another one. my lil girl has to have it just right or she won't take it. we use lansinoh storage bags and tommee tipee bottles (full feeding line) They work great and several people have commented that the bottles and trainer sippy look like a breast, we went with this line b/c the flow of the nipple was the only one my daughter could take wihtout gagging on tons of milk.

Brandy - posted on 11/22/2010

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make sure to shake the milk. Every once in a while, as the milk is thawing, shake the bag. The milk seperates when it is freezing. My daughter won't drink it if it is not blended again.

Sharon - posted on 11/22/2010

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sounds like you should have had no problems. hope the next try is more successful

Celeste - posted on 11/20/2010

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Thanks! That is helpful. I pump and store in sterile bags, freeze right away. But this milk was from July (4 months ago). I heard that it was supposed to stay fresh 3-6 months in freezer, maybe mine is closer to 3 months.



He thawed by placing the frozen bags in a bowl of very hot water.



We're going to try again in a few days with freshly pumped milk and see if we get success.

Sharon - posted on 11/20/2010

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I have never noticed a difference in my milk when thawed, is it possible the milk got contaminated in some way? I store in sterile milk feed bags and the bag is put in the freezer as soon as i have finished pumping. How did u defrost it. placing it in boiled water to thaw is best, not the microwave. However if your baby is not used to feeding this way bthen the first time is likely to be difficult. my son is 7 months now and still prefers breast, he will push the bottle away and nuzzle for breast milk. I am only giving him a bottle for when he goes to nursery, if i didn't have to go to work i would just breast feed , its so much less hassle. I don't know if iv'e helped at all. sorry

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