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Thread: Fish-y Smelling Milk - HELP

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Chicago
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    Default Fish-y Smelling Milk - HELP

    Hi there,

    I have been working overtime building a freezer stash for when I go back to work, since pumping there might be difficult (I'm a nurse and unfortunately it's hard to get away even for lunch). I was doing GREAT! Like, have 500 ounces of milk great. But, a few days ago out of curiosity I decided to thaw one of the older bags, about 7 weeks old, and give it to my baby.

    Well, it smelled like fish. Like a huge pile of fish. WTF? I tasted it and it definitely didn't taste like the fresh stuff, but I don't know if I'm the best judge of breast milk flavor profiles. I tried to read about what that might be, and some articles suggested that it could be from fish oil supplements, which are in my prenatal vitamins, but other articles said that no detectable odor change was observed from taking supplements. Ugh. Or is what I'm observing actually the lipase problem other women seem to have?

    So, have any of you ladies noticed this with your milk? Is it safe to give to the baby? I gave her a few test sips and she didn't seem to love it, but she didn't refuse them either. Plus, it was after she had just been fed at the breast, so maybe she would have taken more if she was hungry.

    I do everything right when it comes to storage: pump the milk, milk to bag, milk to basement freezer. I really hope that my hard-earned stash isn't a waste, because I had almost enough for three months worth of feedings while I'm at work, which would get my little one to six months exclusively on breast milk.

    Please help.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fish-y Smelling Milk - HELP

    if she'll take it, i'd give it to her. maybe it's some form of lipase issue?
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    SoCal
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    Default Re: Fish-y Smelling Milk - HELP

    Did LO drink it? In my experience milk that is bad smells rancid...like no mistaken nasty! If it's fishy and she drinks it then no problem.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    1,293

    Default Re: Fish-y Smelling Milk - HELP

    how come you are giving bottles after breast? just to introduce the bottle?

    its probably lipase if it tastes nasty. do a test with a fresh oz in the fridge, leave it and taste it periodically until you notice it going off.

    agree with pp if she is taking it it is fine. if she ends up refusing it then you can start scalding.

    if you have a whole freezer stash you can work with it. scald from now on when you freeze but you can give as much fresh as possible. to use up funky tasting milk you can mix some with fresh in the future.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Fish-y Smelling Milk - HELP

    I gave her the bottle just to make sure my frozen milk would be ok for her to get when I go back to work. She doesn't routinely get bottles, and if she does it's because I couldn't do a direct feeding, like in my absence.

    I am doing a test batch with scalding some freshly expressed milk to see if that takes care of it. The milk that we have in the fridge seems to be ok at 2 and 3 days old. But the 3 day old milk IS starting to get a hint of ick to it.

    I just tested another sample of thawed milk on myself and that one was just awful. I can't, in good conscience, feed that to my child. Unfortunately I think the freezer stash is a total waste.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    middle of IA
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    1,885

    Default Re: Fish-y Smelling Milk - HELP

    oh no!

    what about mixing with fresh, as PP suggested? i hate to see you throw out the freezer stash, especially when you've been counting on it. of course you'll need to pump a lot at work anyway, to keep up your supply, but that stash is so (emotionally) important.

    i know other people have been able to bake with their lipase milk - maybe in oatmeal, biscuits or something. but by then it'll be anohter 3 months in your freezer, not sure if your freezer is good enough for that length of time?
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Fish-y Smelling Milk - HELP

    I wouldn't assume that. AND your idea about what's awful and the childs are not the same and when it comes to breastmilk, trust the child. I say that because I always thought that my fresh milk tasted so good and sweet but at around three days old I also thought it was nasty. Like it had a gamey quality too it. But my LLL leader told me that you can trust your baby. They won't drink it if it's truly bad. And my son would always drink things that were left inthe fridge for up to 6days. But you aren't really a great judge because the only thing we have to go off of is COW MILK and how WE test that. And that isn't how it works with our own milk. So I would not assume ALL your freezer stash is bad. If you thawed some that was older and you got her to drink it, chances are MUCH of the fresh frozen stuff would be consumed. Fishy Smell doesn't= BAD.

    Way too lazy for formula

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Fish-y Smelling Milk - HELP

    I don't want it to be a waste either...if it was just fishy smelling then that is one thing. But when I taste it, not only does it taste sour, it burns when it goes down. What is that about? I don't want to burn a hole in my tiny girls tummy

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fish-y Smelling Milk - HELP

    No no. That is different! THAT sounds like Lipsase. How old was the first milk vs the 2nd milk you thawed?

    Way too lazy for formula

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Fish-y Smelling Milk - HELP

    So far I've tested three samples, one from 3/5, one from 3/17, and one from 3/23. All the same. I can try and test one from more recently too. Like I said, I have A LOT of stored milk.

    I pumped some milk on 4/20 and scalded that. It's currently sitting in my freezer and I was going to wait about a week to test it, so we'll see. If it is a lipase issue, then is my current stash still no good?

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