As you know by now, breast milk is considered to be the best source of nutrition for babies. It provides them with essential nutrients and antibodies, helping to build their immune system and protect them from infections. However, sometimes moms may need to scald their breast milk due to various reasons such as high lipase activity, bacterial contamination, or excess fat content.
Scalding breast milk is a process of heating it to a specific temperature to kill harmful bacteria and reduce the activity of lipase enzymes that can cause the milk to taste sour or rancid. We have an entire article dedicated to explaining this phenomena: Breast Milk Lipase: Why Your Breast Milk Tastes Metallic. In this post, we will discuss in detail the process of scalding breast milk and the precautions that need to be taken in order to do it properly.
Reasons to Scald Breast Milk
1. High Lipase Activity
Some moms may have excess lipase enzymes in their breast milk, which can cause it to taste sour or rancid when stored for several hours (such as when pumping at work). Scalding breast milk can help to reduce and neutralize the activity of lipase enzymes, and prevent the milk from spoiling or tasting soapy, metallic, or otherwise off.
2. Bacterial Contamination
Breast milk can become contaminated with harmful bacteria during storage, handling, or pumping. Scalding breast milk can kill the bacteria and make it safe for the baby to consume. If you are concerned that your breast milk has been contaminated in some way (left in an open bottle, spilled breast milk, everyone at home is sick, etc.), there is no need to throw it out. You can scald it instead.
3. Excess Fat Content
This is a rare occurrence, but some mothers may have breast milk that is very high in fat content. The high amount of fat may cause digestive problems in infants such as colic, gas, or diarrhea. Scalding breast milk can help to reduce the fat content and make it easier for your baby to digest. Speak with your healthcare provider if you think this may be an issue with your breast milk.
Related article: Can I Mix Breast Milk and Formula? Yes, Here’s How.
How to Scald Breast Milk
Before starting the process of scalding breast milk, make sure to wash your hands and sterilize all the equipment used.
1. Collect Breast Milk
Pump breast milk into a clean container using a breast pump or by hand.
2. Heat Breast Milk
Heat the breast milk slowly in a saucepan over medium heat. I set my electric stove to 5. Stir the milk gently to avoid scorching or burning. Also, avoid using a microwave as it can destroy the nutrients in your breast milk.
Related article: Breastfeeding While on Your Period? 7 Helpful Tips for Your Milk Supply.
3. Check Temperature
Once the milk reaches a temperature of 180°F, remove the saucepan from the heat source and let it cool for a few minutes. You can use a simple cooking thermometer (this is the one I have) to check the exact temperature. It took about 6 minutes to heat the breast milk up to 180°F.
If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, you can scald breast milk by heating it over medium heat and checking for bubbles on the side of the saucepan that look like this:
4. Cool and Store
Allow the scalded breast milk to cool for 5 minutes. Then, transfer the milk to a clean and sterile container (baby’s bottle, a breast milk container, etc.) and store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
Related article: Baby Refusing Bottle? Try This.
Precautions to Take While Scalding Breast Milk
- Do not boil breast milk as it can destroy the nutrients and antibodies present in it. Promptly remove it from heat whenever it reaches 180°F or you notice bubbles on the sides.
- Do not mix freshly expressed breast milk with scalded breast milk. The difference in temperatures can affect the nutrients and antibodies in the freshly expressed breast milk. If you need to combine the scalded breast milk with the non-scalded breast milk, refrigerate both until they are the same temperature and then combine.
- You can give your baby freshly scalded breast milk after it has cooled. Do not reuse or refrigerate any scalded milk that the baby does not consume within 24 hours.
- Discard the breast milk if it has an off smell or color after scalding, or if the baby refuses to drink it. If this occurs, it likely means your breast milk has spoiled. No amount of scalding will change that.
Scalding breast milk is a simple process that can help to remove the metallic or soapy taste caused by high lipase. It is essential to take all necessary precautions while scalding breast milk to ensure that it retains its nutritional value and remains free of contamination. Please make sure to consult with your healthcare provider or lactation consultant if you have any questions or concerns about how to scald breast milk.
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