High Lipase Breast Milk: What Does It Mean for Your Baby?

High Lipase Breast Milk: What Does It Mean for Your Baby?

High lipase breast milk may sound like chemistry gone bad. We take you through what it means for both you and your baby. Read on for more.
You’ve finally got the hang of this pumping thing.


But all of a sudden, your baby is not so keen to actually drink all that liquid gold you worked so hard for!

So you take a little sniff and wow, does it smell weird.

Take a breath — there’s no need to cry over this “spilled” milk.

You may just have what the experts call high lipase breast milk.

Say what now?

Let’s take you through all you need to know about something many pumping mamas have experienced.

In this article: 📝

  • What causes high lipase in breast milk?
  • Can babies drink milk with high lipase?
  • How do you know if you have high lipase in breast milk?
  • What does high lipase breast milk smell like?
  • What can we do about high lipase breast milk?

What causes high lipase in breast milk?

All breast milk contains lipase.

It’s an enzyme that helps babies break down the fats in the milk they drink to best absorb all its important nutrients.

It’s actually a good thing!

We don’t know exactly why, but some mamas just have more of this lipase activity going on in their breast milk.

If your baby doesn’t like the taste or smell of your stored breast milk, there are a few things you can do to make your pumped milk more palatable to your little food critic (more about that below).

Can babies drink milk with high lipase?


Right off the bat, let us reassure you that if your breast milk has a high lipase content, there is nothing wrong with it.

It won’t make baby sick, and it’s still very much liquid gold.

Many breastfeeding mamas go on to have long and happy breastfeeding journeys even with a high lipase content.

How do you know if you have high lipase in breast milk?

The funny thing is, you may not even know you do!

It can be something that goes unnoticed by both you and baby.

When baby takes milk directly from the breast or immediately after pumping, there are no changes in flavor.

For most folks, the first clue they have high lipase milk is when baby refuses to drink expressed and stored breast milk.

This is because the flavor and taste of the milk changes from the extra lipase activity breaking down the fats in the milk over time.

This flavor change can occur in milk stored for a few hours, over a day or two, or you may only notice it when you thaw some of your freezer stash.

If you smell something funky, the first thing to do is to check your pump parts to make sure they are being cleaned properly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Also make sure you are following our guide to milk storage.

If you’re all good on that front, it’s likely that you have high lipase in your breast milk.

What does high lipase breast milk smell like?

A little while after it’s expressed and stored, high lipase milk starts to taste and smell a little odd.

Most mamas report it as having a slightly fishy or soapy smell, while others call it metallic or even a little rancid.

Anything other than the slightly sweet taste we usually associate with breast milk is worth taking note of.

What can we do about high lipase breast milk?

If your baby is refusing to drink stored breast milk, there are a couple things you can try.

Start by trying to take note when your milk turns. Is it after it’s been stored for an hour?

A day?

That’ll give you a timeline to work with.

The first possible solution is to mix stored milk with a little fresh.

For some babies, taking the edge off the unusual flavor is all they need to guzzle it down again.

If that doesn’t work, you can try what’s called “scalding” the milk before storing it.

This is when you heat the breast milk gently on the stove, just until the point at which bubbles start to appear on the sides of the saucepan.

It’s important not to boil the milk, as this can damage its important nutrients.

But scalding before freezing or storing will prevent it from getting that characteristic fishy/soapy or rancid smell.

Breast milk that’s already been frozen won’t benefit from scalding, but you can try mixing it with fresh as mentioned above.

Milk from different sessions may not be as affected (if you froze it sooner than other batches for example), so you could try those and see what baby thinks.

Exclusivepumping.com also notes that what some babies refuse today they may accept next week.

You never know.

It’s worth a try!

And remember, if they’re eating solids, some of that milk can be used in baby’s food.

That way they still get the full nutritious benefit of that wonderful milk!

Who knew that pumping could come with needing to be a professional taste tester!

The great news is that even if you have high lipase breast milk, your baby might not care.

The even better news is that if they do, there are ways to manage it.

Check-in with our Peanut community if you need a little extra support on this pumping mothering journey.

We’re with you all the way.

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