Do your breast milk smell like eggs, onions, or fish and you’re not sure what could be the reason behind it? Have you ever wondered what breast milk smell like? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many mothers experience this, so there’s nothing wrong with you. The reason behind this variation in odor, taste, and color can be due to your diet, medications, or the storage techniques you may use to store your expressed milk. Keep in mind that, regardless of these differences in taste, color, and odor, breastmilk is always the best food for a baby during their first six months of life.
How to know if your breast milk has gone bad or not?
As a new mom, you need to be vigilant and observant so you don’t feed your baby bad milk. Below are ways to know if your breast milk has gone bad.
1· Look at it closely
The question you need to consider first is “How do you know if breast milk has gone bad?” Breast milk naturally separates after pumping, with the hindmilk (milk rich in fat) rising to the top and the foremilk (breastmilk rich in water) falling to the bottom. When milk is still good, it easily mixes with a gentle swirl of the bottle. If your breast milk remains separated or chunks float in it after attempting to re-mix, it has likely gone bad and it’s a good idea to discard it immediately.
2. Smell your breastmilk
If you’ve stored your breastmilk in the refrigerator or at room temperature, smelling it could be a reliable way to determine whether your milk has gone bad or not. Though, the method may not be reliable, if you’ve frozen your breast milk. The lipase in breast milk breaks down fats for your baby. The question here is “what does bad breast milk smell like”? In mothers with high lipase breast milk, the enzyme can cause thawed frozen breast milk to smell sour or soapy, even though it is still perfectly safe for consumption. Frozen breast milk can also smell fishy.
To test whether you are one of those mothers whose milk takes on this scent, freeze a small amount of breastmilk for five days, then thaw it, and then test the scent. This short time frame of the experiment will help you be confident of your milk that it has not turned sour, and it simply takes on this smell after freezing but is still safe for your baby. Sometimes breast milk smells funny after freezing. Some breast milk even smells sour.
3· Taste your milk
If you stored your breastmilk in a refrigerator and it tastes sour or rancid, then it has likely gone bad and should be discarded immediately. However, in the case of frozen breast milk smell, do the little experiment mentioned above, and if the frozen breast milk smells sour after a few days of freezing then it is still safe for consumption. However, if it only turned sour in one instance, then the milk is not safe for consumption.
Breastmilk smell like fish
Breastmilk varies from mother to mother. When babies are born, they can recognize the unique taste and smell of their mother’s breastmilk and are comforted by it. It is because the amniotic fluid that nourishes the baby when they were still in your womb, has similar flavors to your breast milk.
But, how about freshly expressed breast milk that smells like fish? Is it a sign that the milk is no longer good for the baby? Don’t worry if your breast smells or even slightly tastes fishy. This is because there are several factors that can make the breast milk smell like fish, such as eating fish and fish oil supplements. Therefore, if your breast milk smells fishy, check your diet.
Breastmilk smell like onions
Many mothers ask “why does my breast milk smell like onions” even though they haven’t had any onions in their meal. The reason breast milk smells like onions is due to apocrine glands in the nipples, which are the same glands found in the armpits and groin. These glands cause this onion-like smell when you sweat. It is apparently activated in some people by saliva from the baby during nursing. So, there’s nothing wrong with your breast milk if it smells like onions, provided that’s the issue behind this smell. This could also cause your nipples to smell like onions while breastfeeding. Your nipples could also taste like onions because of this same reason.
Breastmilk smell like eggs
When your breast milk smell like eggs, it is probably because you have extra high lipase in your breast milk. Lipase is an enzyme that helps in breaking down fatty particles in the milk so it is easier for a baby to digest. High lipase in breast milk can cause it to smell sour, soapy, or smell like eggs. There is no odor in milk with excess lipase if it’s fed through nursing or if it is fed to the baby immediately after pumping.
Breast milk smells like eggs when the milk is frozen or refrigerated for quite some time. It can affect any milk that’s not fed right away, but because lipase acts over time, the newer the milk, the less likely it is that lipase will be an issue. Heating freshly expressed breast milk to about 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius) will inactivate the lipase. After scalding, you can refrigerate or freeze the breast milk, and the taste won’t go off for a much longer period of time.
The bottom line is that spoiled milk is disgusting. If a mother doesn’t correctly store her breastmilk in the refrigerator or the freezer, it will be stinky and unsafe for consumption. Breast milk should always be stored in specially designed milk bags, BPA-free plastic bottles, or glass containers.
Furthermore, they have to be clean and dry. Wet containers will become a breeding ground for bacteria, especially if left hanging around the countertop or the refrigerator for longer than the recommended time, i.e. four days.
Also, don’t store your milk next to raw meat as there is a possibility of bacteria transfer. Expressed milk should have its own clean space in the fridge. You work so hard to pump your breastmilk, so naturally, you don’t want a drop to go to waste.
Apart from your breast milk smelling like fish, onion, and eggs, it can also smell like Vinegar and garlic. when your breast milk smells like vinegar, you need to check your diet. For example, If you are eating lots of sugar, it can lead to breastmilk smelling like vinegar. Your hygiene habits can also be the culprit. For instance, if you sweat a lot but don’t like taking baths regularly, it will smell like vinegar. It can also be a result of bacteria. Second, if your breast milk smells like cheese, it is a result of high lipase in your breastmilk. Actually, breast milk that smells like cheese is not harmful to babies, but you should double-check with your Pediatrician.
Does Breast milk smell?
Yes, breast milk can have a peculiar smell. So if breast milk smells, then “what does breast milk smell like?”. According to some moms, breast milk smells like it tastes – just like cow’s milk, but it is sweeter. Some say breast milk smells soapy, which is quite normal.
However, if your breast milk smell like eggs, onions, or fish, follow the recommendations above. If there is no improvement, please see your doctor. Following proper storage recommendations and understanding the variations in the appearance, smell, and taste of “normal” breast milk can prevent you from throwing good milk. You need to be sure that the milk you’re feeding your baby won’t make them sick and knowing how to test it for spoilage will do just that. So, be vigilant about the different tastes and smells of your breastmilk but don’t be very anxious about it because most of the time the smell won’t be an issue if you follow the proper guidelines for storing your expressed milk. So if your breast milk smell like eggs, onions, or fish, read the tips above and also see your Pediatrician.