Friday, February 12, 2010

Excess Lipase in Breastmilk

My daughter rarely takes a bottle. My fulltime job is staying home and taking care of her, so there isn’t any need for her to get nourishment from any place other than me. Every once in awhile, however, I get curious about how she’d handle taking breastmilk from a bottle.

For about a month, I was pumping and storing milk in case of an emergency. I figured if something happened to me and I’d be unable to breastfeed her, it would be nice for her to have a little comfort from breastmilk while she was slowly weaned off of it.

Sometime during that month, I was once again overcome by curiosity over how she’d handle a bottle. I took a container of frozen milk out of the freezer, put it in a cup of warm water, and waited for it to thaw.

One it was ready, we settled into the recliner, and I put the bottle in her mouth. She gave a few sucks, then pulled her face away and spit out the milk. I tried again, and got the same result. “Wow, she really doesn’t want it from anything but the boob,” I thought. I tried singing to her, switching positions, whatever else I could think of, then gave her the bottle again. This time she gagged for about 10 seconds. I decided to taste the milk to make sure it didn’t have an overpowering plastic-y taste from the bottle.

The second the milk hit my tongue, I ran to the sink, also gagging. It was sour.

My first emotion was pity. I felt awful for my poor baby, having a bottle of sour milk forced into her mouth. I got a fresh container of frozen milk out of the freezer, prepared the bottle, and smelled the milk before giving it to her, just to be sure.

It was sour, too.

My next emotion was anger. I assumed our refrigerator/freezer must not be working properly, because the milk hadn’t been in there very long. I muttered under my breath about worthless landlords who were too cheap to replace appliances that didn’t work.

Next, I felt sad. I realized all of my pumping and storing had been for nothing. I dumped all of the stored milk in the sink, staring sadly as the frozen chunks slowly melted down the drain.

I breastfed my now nearly starving baby, put her down for a nap, and began chatting with a fellow new mother on the computer. I explained to her how I had just fed my baby sour milk twice. She asked if I thought I had an excess of lipase in my milk.

An excess of what…? I’d never heard of anything called lipase, and certainly not in the context of breastfeeding.

I typed “excess lipase” into Google, and was surprised what I found. More on this tomorrow.

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