Lets talk LIPASE
Lipase is a normal enzyme found in all breastmilk, a natural emulsifier that breaks down the fat in breastmilk to make it easier to digest for baby and some mamas have higher lipase activity than others.
A high activity level of lipase is not dangerous, it just means your milk fat breaks down faster, which can change the smell and taste of the fat, often causing a soapy smell/taste, but it is not expired!
What causes high lipase activity?
Various pancreatic, gallbladder and liver fluctuations in the mother can cause high lipase activity. Having a healthy balanced diet that caters to the pancreas, gallbladder and liver or having acupressure adjustments may help this, but sometimes the cause is simply unknown and there is no solution, and thats okay!
Avoiding gluten is the best place to start to see if it helps, which will make you healthier all around, not just for your breastmilk! Gluten is like glue to the digestive system and gut. Don’t expect instant results from eliminating gluten, it took years and years of build up in your gut, give it at least a few months to dissipate.
Taking Betaine HCL as a hydrochloric acid supplement (stomach acid) to ensure you have proper bile in your digestive system is also very important for balancing lipase activity levels in the body.
What can you do if you have high lipase?
One option is to serve fresh expressed breastmilk to avoid the allowance of the breakdown of the fat to occur that produces the smell and taste but thats not always feasible, especially for an exclusively pumping mama, working mama, donor milk recipients etc.
Boiling/scalding the milk is another option. Before you use the milk, put it in a saucepan, bring it to a medium heat boil, roughly 180 degrees, watching for the milk to bubble all around the sides and the middle, remove and place in containers to cool in the fridge, and it can also be put in the freezer safely to be stored after scalding, for up to 6 months. If serving the milk shortly after boiling, be sure it is at a SAFE temperature to serve to baby before feeding!!! This process destroys the lipase, it does break down some other nutrients but not enough to make the breastmilk non-beneficial and non-nutrititional, your breastmilk is still perfect for baby’s needs.
If you still don’t feel comfortable using it once you discover that you have high lipase milk on your hands, please don’t dump! You can use it for so many other things such as lotions, jewelry, milk baths, anything!