Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Excess Lipase

Yup... that baby is starting to sit up.  She's four and a half months old.

I think I know where the idea to fill hourglasses with sand came from.  It's because time can seem to go as fast as sand running through your fingers!  The past week has been completely consumed with getting this baby to eat.  The GI specialist said that she should be taking in between 24 and 30 ounces of milk a day.  She's doing more like 17 to 21 most days, dipping as low as 15 some days.  It's extremely stressful when your baby won't eat, as I'm sure you can imagine.  She only weighs three pounds over her birth weight.

I do think I may have had a breakthrough a couple of days ago when I was feeding her and I randomly decided to smell the milk.  It smelled TERRIBLE!  The milk had been refrigerated and pumped that day, so I knew it hadn't gone sour.  It didn't smell like sour milk at all though - instead it had a slightly metallic, almost soapy smell.  No wonder the child didn't want to eat!

When we got home I fixed her a fresh bottle, making sure that I smelled the milk before I poured it into her bottle.  It smelled fine. I started to feed her and as usual, the first two ounces went smoothly.  After the first two, she started to fight the bottle again.  I pulled off the nipple, took a sniff, and sure enough, it had that same bad smell again!  HOW?

Well, it occurred to me that when I saw the lactation consultant two and a half months ago, I had made a remark about the smell of breast milk.  I said part of the reason I don't mind pumping is because I can't stand the smell of formula.  Breast milk doesn't smell good to me either, but it's better than formula!  She exchanged looks with the woman she was training that day and asked me to describe the smell.  I couldn't really, so she had me pump and then we smelled the bottle.  

It didn't smell like I was thinking, but it did have a smell.  She asked me if I had eaten asparagus recently.  At first I said no, but then I remembered that we had Chinese takeout the night before and my beef had pieces of asparagus in it.  We all assumed that it was something in my diet that was giving the milk that slight odor, or maybe what I was thinking about was the smell of old milk on baby clothes and burp cloths.  It really didn't seem to be much of a concern.

What I smelled in the bottle a couple of days ago was NOT what I smelled in the lactation consultant's office.  It was the smell I associated with breast milk in my mind, but only much, much stronger.  I dipped my finger into the milk and tasted it too.  Not gonna lie - I've never tasted breast milk before this because the thought of it made me gag a little.  The milk tasted like soap.

Of course I freaked out and started Googling what could cause this, and if it could harm the baby.  Turns out that there's an enzyme some women produce in excess called Lipase that can cause breast milk to get a soapy smell and taste after it's been refrigerated and frozen.  I did read about this on someone else's blog a while back, but had forgotten all about it until I started looking for answers.  It doesn't sound like it's harmful to the baby, only that it would make them not want to drink the affected milk.

This baby has only received refrigerated milk for the past three months of her four and a half month existence.

No wonder she doesn't want to eat!  I wouldn't want to eat either if all I knew of food was crappy, nasty food!  It's like growing up thinking I hated vegetables because the only vegetables my mom gave us were canned peas, corn, and green beans.  Oh, and something called Veg-All.  Once I learned about fresh veggies, and about all the different ways you can prepare them besides boiling... well, now I love vegetables!

So, for the past few days she only gets freshly pumped milk.  This is kind of a bummer because I was only pumping three or four times a day and now I have to pump every time she needs to eat.  I tasted the freshly pumped milk and it's actually very sweet, so that's good.  We did try another kind of formula last week out of sheer desperation, and she refused that too.  This would be the fourth kind that she's refused.  She'll take a pull or two on the bottle, realize what it is, and spit it all out.  Talk about a freaking picky eater!  Sheesh! 

On the plus side, she's been over 22 ounces for the four days we've been doing this.  It's still hard to get her to finish a bottle, don't get me wrong.  At least now it's hard but the bottle's getting finished.  Before, it was hard and bottles were left with an ounce or two in the bottom.  When we go to see the pediatrician next week I plan to take a bottle of the refrigerated milk so she can smell it and I can get confirmation that the lipase is the issue.

I keep telling myself that this is just a season.  I bumped into someone I knew at the grocery store the other day and she told me the best thing:  "Once they get big, you won't remember how hard it was when they were little."

We can hope.  :)



Blogger Katy said...

How crazy! I've never heard of this. And disappointing since you had such a stash! But I'm glad you're figuring it out.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

P didnt seem to mind the freezer smell. even after it was there a year!
ps- i love love love love love her outfit. so super cute. P sat up around this time too!!!!!

2:10 PM  
Blogger Becky (My Fabric Obsession) said...

Oh my goodness that is so frustrating! I know you had quite a supply. Hopefully you can find an easier solution than pumping on demand.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I always enjoy reading your blog, but have never posted. I first discovered you through 2 peas. I have a daughter about the same age as your son (she turns 4 tomorrow). Anyway, I didn't want to read this and not post. My older daughter (who is 7 1/2) had milk soy protein intolerance as an infant. She fought eating until she was diagnosed and I cut milk and soy protein out of my diet, so those proteins weren't in the milk. She still didn't gain very well. She had started out at 3# 13 oz. @ 35 weeks due to gestational high blood pressure, so she was tiny forever it seemed. She is completely normal now, but it was a very frustrating. Maybe this has nothing to do with your problem, but I just wanted to mention it. I went to a support group when she was young at the lactation consultant's office. There were people there who's babies were intolerant to beef, wheat, corn, citrus, nuts, etc. My oldest child (I have four) also had issues gaining weight. He was breastfed and my milk supply dwindled without me knowing it. One thing they suggested with him was to not let him have a pacifier (don't know if you use them). They speculated that he was sucking on it a lot, which satisfied his sucking urges and thus, didn't eat as much as he should have. Good luck to you, hope you get your problem figured out.

11:04 PM  

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