Signup for our newsletter to receive pregnancy, parenting and child health updates.

ask an expert

My milk smells and tastes bad, how did it go bad?

I thawed two bags of frozen breast milk overnight for use the next day at the sitters. My baby would not eat it. I later smelled and tasted the milk to find that it had a foul smell (like freezer burn) and tasted terrible. Any ideas? Is all of my frozen milk bad?

Kolene Moore | Other Provider

Kolene Moore

Jessica, the frozen milk seems to have a high level of lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat, in the milk that causes it to have a foul smell/taste to it.

Freezing slows but does not stop the lipase from digesting the fat in the milk. It is considered safe for the baby but if the baby if refusing the milk, you can prevent this change in smell and/or taste from occurring by scalding the milk before storing it, which will deactivate the lipase.

This is done by heating the milk in a pan on the stove until it is bubbling around the edges, but not yet boiling, and then cooling the milk quickly. (Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple, 2010) You will just have to thaw the milk to see if all of it is this way. You cannot change this after it has been frozen. Sorry for this! I know it is frustrating.

Read more answers by Kolene Moore