A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Ask an Expert: Lipase

by Robin Kaplan, IBCLC

Fan Question:

“Apparently I may have ‘lipase’!! I have 400 oz in my freezer my babes (twins) won’t take? I’m bawling and depressed, my only relief is I’ve been told I may be able to donate??? Can anyone give me advice on this issue and going about donating? TIA”

How frustrating! Especially when you spent so much time pumping to store that much milk away!  First and foremost, I would check to see if your milk truly has excess lipase, as the bag you defrosted could have just taken on some of the smells and flavors in the freezer.  Secondly, some moms’ milk smells like it has excess lipase in it, yet it can be remedied when mom stops taking Omega 3 supplements. If your milk truly has excess lipase, while your idea to donate your milk is a wonderful one, there is a chance your babies might actually still take your milk.

Here are a few ways to offer milk with excess lipase:

  1. Defrost a bag of frozen milk and combine it with freshly pumped milk.  There is a chance that if the lipased milk is diluted, your babies won’t be bothered so much by the soapy smell and flavor.
  2. Mix the lipased milk with pureed foods, if your babies are old enough and trying solid foods.  The solid foods should mask the flavor of the lipase.
  3. Add the lipased milk to a smoothie for your babies.  The fruit and veggies will definitely cover up the lipase flavor, but will still impart all of the nutrients of the frozen milk.

If these tricks don’t work, there is still a small silver lining surrounding all of that pumping…. you can donate your milk! 400oz is a HUGE donation and there are so many babies who could benefit from all of your hard work!  Here are a few options for donating:

  1. Community milk sharing websites – Eats on Feets and Human Milk for Human Babies are informal milk sharing sites.  If a mom is using donor milk, there is a chance that she is also getting milk from another mom, or using her own pumped milk.  There is a chance her baby may not be bothered by the lipase flavor when mixed with other human milk, so this could be a great option.
  2. Informal milk sharing – Many communities have informal milk sharing from mother to mother.  There may be a mom in your community, or even one of your friends, who is looking for donor milk and would be willing to see if her baby will take your frozen milk.
  3. Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) – This website lists all of the human milk banks in North America.  These collection sites pasteurize human milk to give to sick babies in the NICU.  Because the milk is heated and combined with hundreds of other mothers’ expressed milk, the lipase will not be an issue here.  Check out this website to see if you qualify to be a HMBANA milk donor.

Lastly, to deactivate the excess lipase in the milk you pump in the future, you can scald the freshly pumped milk before you freeze it.  Here is an article describing this process on my website: Battling and Resolving Excess Lipase in Breastmilk.

Hope this helps!

unnamedRobin Kaplan is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, frequent media commentator on the topic of breastfeeding, and host of The Boob Group, a weekly podcast about breastfeeding.

Robin is also an active advocate for mothers and their legal right to breastfeed. She is a prolific writer and presenter on breastfeeding topics. She was the founding co-editor of the International Lactation Consultant Association’s (ILCA) blog, Lactation Matters, and curates The Sanity Spot, the San Diego Breastfeeding Center’s popular blog.  Robin is also the founder of the San Diego Nursing in Public Task Force and a newly appointed Take Action Ambassador for Best for Babes.

Robin lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, Jason, their two sons, Benjamin and Ryan, and their dog, Tilly. She loves traveling, hiking, going to the beach, social media, and perusing cookbooks for hours upon end.