20 answers

Breastmilk Taste and Smell???

I have a 12 week old baby girl. She is BF exclusively. When she was younger we gave her a few bottles of formula when she sucked me dry but not since. I have a pump but since it was hard to get any milk in the beginning I got lazy and gave up the idea.

Question: ( it is long so bear with me) she now wont take a bottle, I have bought sippy cups and straw bottles and will try those as per suggestions from other moms on other posts.
But I read something about some milk going bad because of a chemical in it that makes the babies not want it unless it is fresh from the breast. I have been pumping and freezing breast milk in preparation for cereal in a few weeks.
So yesterday or the day before I only was able to get 1 oz o milk. I stuck it in the fridge thinking it was the perfect amount to waste trying to get her to use a sippy cup. I warmed it up and smelled it and it smelled like soap to me, my husband said it smelled like dirt to him. I made him taste it ,i am a chicken about tasting my own milk, to see if it was good and he said it tasted weird but he did not know what breast milk should taste like so we threw it out.
A little later my daughter burped up and I smelled the same soapy smell as the breast milk in the fridge.
So I was wondering what is that chemical and what should breast milk smell like. Also someone wrote something about treating breast milk for storage so it would not go bad. I was wondering what that was so I can not waste milk i am freezing past or future.

Thanks in advance,

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I think that I might continue to pump and freeze the milk just in case it is not bad milk. I am pumping these days because I am trying to build my supply up because it is going to be going down due to blood pressure meds. I also think that sometimes it feels good to pump as I can get to feeling engorged if we just had a growth spirt and she stops eating as much for a few days.
I do not really care if we use the milk in the freezer it will not be the end of the world to me if when she starts rice cereal that I use water or formula in it. I was just trying to be a good mom and give her BM if I can.
I now have a supple of sippy cups of different sizes and shapes as well as food, juice, dishes and spoons for when she is old enough to use them. Most of my pumping has been due to prep for eating foods in a month or so. If she does not take a bottle so be it. I have breasts and she is welcome to have them any time she wants, i just hoped that my husband might be able to feed her once in a while but if she doesn't want that than she does not need to have that.
It is my special time with her and I enjoy it and it will not last forever so I am going to cherish it as long as we have it.
Thank you everyone for the advice and support. It was nice to know that I was on the right track in my thinking. Instincts are best but it is nice to have a sounding board just for reassurance once in a while.

For all the moms that gave good advice, I thank you. I know breast is best and that is what we have been doing so please do not worry. Also everything we are doing is with the consent of the ped. I would never do anything without first checking with the Dr about if it is safe or not.

Featured Answers

Hi T.,

This happened to me too and I thought it was from the soap I was using to wash my hand pump. I even resterilized everything and that didn't work. I never heard of lipaze before and now know that is what it must have been. I agree with Denise & S.H. and find her links very helpful. I will be scalding my BM the next time around!


More Answers

Your milk is made FOR your daughter. It will always smell weird and taste odd to us, becuase we're used to cow milk. Milk lasts about a week in the fridge, about 6 hours at room temp. and several months in the freezer. Do not 'treat' your milk with anything, ALL your daughter needs is you. Sounds like you're starting cereal WAY early, 6-7m would be better. Is she sitting up yet?
Your milk supply will be different at different times of day because it adusts to her needs. The best time to pump is before she gets up in the morning. Or if you wake-up in the night to pee or something, do it then. Or after she goes to bed at night.
REMEMBER to keep your supply up, eat and drink something healthy everytime you feed her or pump.
Keep breast feeding it's THE best thing you can do! Go to the Le Leche League International website or read their book, The WOmanly Art of Breastfeeding. It talks about MANY issues not just feeding. Find a meeting near you if you have more questions.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.,

Congratulations on your sweet girl!

Lipase, an enzyme found naturally in breastmilk, starts to break down the fats in the milk and if abundant can cause this smell/taste that you described. I think this is your issue, I had a similar issue, and there are ways to address it. Check out this site for more detailed information:

-J. W

First...congratulations on your new little girl! Hang on you're in for quite a ride...lol.

Breastmilk lasts about 5-7 days in the fridge. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. The color, taste, and smell of breastmilk will change depending upon what you eat. Don't "treat" the breastmilk before freezing it, just use a sterilized container. I use the pump and store bags made by Medela. I like them because you attach them directly to the pump, then ziplock them and put them directly into the fridge or freezer. You handle the milk a minimum number of times.

You mentioned warming up the breastmilk. If you do, DON'T use the microwave. It breaks down the breastmilk and you lose the nutritional value.

Finally...12 weeks seems awfully early for a sippy cup, straw, and cereal. I don't think I even introduced my son to a bottle until he was about 3 1/2 months old. My pedi didn't want him on solid foods until he was 6 months old. She had me introduce the sippy cup at 9 months. (He's now 10 months old.) I'd recommend talking with your Pedi before taking any of these steps. I'd also keep trying the bottle. A couple of suggestions...have you tried a different nipple/bottle? Also, have your husband give the bottle to your daughter. You shouldn't be anywhere near; you may even need to leave the house. (I had to go into the back bedroom and close the door.) If she smells you, she won't want to take the bottle. It will take a bit of trying. Once she's easily taking the bottle from your husband, then you can try giving it to her. Good luck!

Here is a great website that discusses your issue:


I always have loved the smell of breastmilk. It has a sweet smell. Perhaps you did not sterlize the cup enough? I never had a problem storing my milk in the fridge or the freezer. My first daughter didn't mind it one bit. My second daughter however, just would not take any milk from a bottle, sippy, or even the boobie bottle (a bottle that has the shape and feel of a breast). Make sure that you properly sterilize all pumping parts and bottles. Then make sure you follow the rules about how long your milk can be stored. I think it is like 2 or 3 days in the fridge... can't remember... it's been awhile. It shouldn't be a problem to store and should keep just fine. I think that your daughter just prefers the breast! Good luck!

Hello T.. Unfortunately, I don't know what to tell you about your problem, but one thing that piqued my interest was that you warmed up the breast milk. I haven't breastfed in almost 13 years, but I don't remember it being all that warm, and was wondering if maybe you warmed it too much. I think taking the edge off the chill from the fridge is ok, obviously, but I would say don't make it too warm. That's just my opinion. Sorry I couldn't help you, but good luck to you :)

I had this problem with the breast milk that I put in the freezer - after only a short time, it smelled and tasted soapy. The milk that I put in the fridge for a few days and of course the fresh milk was fine - tasted a little sweet, actually. I think babies don't actually notice or mind the soapy taste, but I ended up donating the frozen milk to a milk bank. I only gave my babies the milk that had been in the refrigerator. Some women have more lipase in their milk, which apparently causes the soapiness. To me, it was undrinkable, but I believe it's safe for babies, and if they don't mind the taste, you can give it to them.

Looks like you got good advice already from Maribel K.

Otherwise I would suggest checking out:


There is someone at la leche league with a lot of experience that you can reach on the phone and talk with in depth about breasteeding and breastmilk. They even have weekly meetings at someone's home close to where you live - so you could also talk in person.

Sorry I don't have any more specific answers for you. But the moms from la leche league are very helpful!!

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