If you discovered your milk has high lipase, here are two simple ways to scald breast milk using the stove top or a bottle warmer.
Once you’ve discovered that your milk has high lipase and you’ve determined that your baby won’t drink it, scalding it before freezing will be the next step to ensuring you don’t lose any of your precious liquid gold.
Scalding breast milk essentially means heating it to a high enough temperature where the lipase gets “killed off”, making sure it doesn’t change the taste of your milk.
As I mentioned in this post about High Lipase breast milk, if you are scalding your breast milk, it’s important to make sure you are still giving fresh milk as well, since some of the nutrients do get killed during the scalding process.
Methods for Scalding Milk
There are two ways that are effective in scalding breastmilk:
- On the stove top
- With a bottle warmer
Each method follows the same protocol – Heating the milk up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and then cooling it as quickly as you can.
Many people find the bottle warmer method to be easier to regulate the temperature without the breastmilk getting to a boiling point and with a newborn you want it to be as simple as possible.
When scalding breastmilk you never want to use a microwave. Always scald milk on the stovetop or with a bottle warmer.
You can read the instructions below or watch this video:
How to Scald Breast Milk on Stovetop
I find this method to take the shortest amount of time.
- Pot- you will want to use a 4-quart pot or smaller.
- Thermometer- you can use any thermometer that can quickly read the temperature of the milk – such as this Instant Read Digital Thermometer. However, I prefer to use a candy thermometer with a pot clip so you can monitor it closely and remove it as soon as it hits 180 degrees.
- Breast Milk Freezer Bags- Once you have scalded your milk on the stovetop and it has cooled slightly, you will need to pour your milk back into a clean freezer milk bag to store in the fridge or freezer. Do not reuse other bags!
- Place the milk in a clean pot on your stove. I try to do at least 7-8 ounces at a time but you can do any amount.
- Place the thermometer in the milk to be able to constantly check the temperature.
- Heat your breastmilk only until it starts bubbling around the edges. Be sure that you stir it to prevent burning on the bottom of the pan.
- Once the milk hits 180 degrees quickly remove from the heat. You do not want your milk to be boiling.
- Cool the breastmilk as quickly as you can by putting it into the fridge or the freezer. You can also use the ice bath method that we explain in detail in the bottle warmer section. If you use that method be sure you place the milk in a container that can handle being heated really hot and cooled very quickly.
If you accidentally boil the breastmilk, you can still feed it to your baby, it may have killed off more of the immune-fighting properties.
How to Scaled Breast Milk in a Bottle Warmer
- Bottle warmer- You want to use a bottle warmer without an automatic shut off. Since you need to heat the milk up to 180 degrees you don’t want the automatic shut off to kick on and prevent the milk from getting to the right temperature. There aren’t a lot of bottle warmers without this feature, but the Phillips Avent Bottle Warmer doesn’t, and it works great for scalding milk.
- Bottle- I would suggest using a stainless steel bottle or container that fits in your bottle warmer – heating plastic to this temperature isn’t a great idea. I did the demo of this method using a stainless steel Miracle 360 cup (which just so happens to be my favorite sippy cup, too!)
- Digital thermometer- No matter your method for heating your milk you need a thermometer to test it to make sure it reaches the right temperature. Again, you can use one like this Instant Read Digital Thermometer. However, I prefer to use a candy thermometer with a pot clip so you can monitor it closely and remove it as soon as it hits 180 degrees.
- Container for ice– The best way to cool the bottle with the bottle warmer method is with an ice bath. So grab a container you can submerge the bottle into with 3-4 cups of ice as well.
- Ice– Always have a big bag of ice on hand for scalding your breastmilk.
To Scald Breastmilk using a Bottle Warmer
- Begin by filling your bottle with breastmilk. Leave a few inches of head space at the top.
- Place your bottle into your bottle warmer.
- Go ahead and turn on your bottle warmer and begin heating the breastmilk. Be sure you insert the thermometer into the bottle so you can keep an eye on the temperature.
- While the breastmilk is heating up, prep your ice bath with ice and cold water.
- While the milk is heating stir it on occasion to ensure that it heats evenly.
- Once the thermometer reads 180 degrees remove the bottle quickly and place it in the ice bath for 2-3 minutes leaving the cap off. Be sure no water gets in the bottle.
- Once cooled, put the lid on the bottle and you can place it in the fridge, or transfer to a proper milk storage container and freeze.
- If you are at work or not able to put it in the fridge or freezer right away then place it in insulated bags with ice packs to cool it off quickly and keep it cool, until you can freeze.
As always, you want to safely freeze breastmilk properly. Here are some freezing tips you want to follow.
- Always use sterile breastmilk bags. Do not use Ziploc bags and do not reuse bags.
- Do not store breastmilk in the door. The constant opening and closing can cause the temperature to change too often making the milk spoil.
- Freeze breastmilk flat. When you are freezing a lot of breastmilk lay it flat to let it freeze. Once frozen, you can stack it on top of each other or stand it up to save space.
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Which method do you prefer for scalding your milk for high lipase? Share what works for you in the comments!
Katie Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.