Smelly Breast Milk

Typical smell/flavor

Milk straight from the breast is often described as tasting sweet, like ice cream or bananas. Most breast milk retains a similar smell during storage.

Breast milk flavor can change during storage

You might notice a tiny change--no more than how foods smell a tiny bit different when they have been in the freezer for a while. But a big change in flavor can be problematic.

Breast milk that develops a strong odor/flavor change during storage is usually caused by high lipase or chemical oxidation. Moms who describe the smell/taste of their stored milk as soapy, metallic, rancid, or vomitous need to know why, and how to prevent it. High lipase and chemical oxidation have different solutions.

As long as your baby doesn't mind a change in flavor, your milk is still perfectly safe for your baby to drink. But if your baby DOES mind the change and refuses your stored milk, your pumping efforts were wasted.

If you are planning to stockpile (store lots of) breast milk, please take time to smell your stored milk before storing very much. Once your milk has changed in flavor, there is nothing you can do to undo the change. Prevention is key.

Smelly Breast Milk class

In this short class, you get access to handouts and a video where I walk you through everything you need to know about smelly milk, including: How to perform an initial smell/taste test, how to determine if the change in flavor is caused by high lipase or chemical oxidation, all of the steps to consider if you are dealing with high lipase, and how to resolve chemical oxidation. All of this information for only $7!