Breast milk may sometimes smell rancid due to oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Changes in water and diet may correct the problem.


Clinical findings:

(1) The breast milk smells rancid ("off") soon after being expressed.

(2) The odor increases during storage or if the milk is heated.


Interventions to improve the odor of the milk:

(1) Reduce intake of copper and iron in food and water.

(2) Avoid anchovies, fish oil and other fatty foods that may impart a rancid odor.

(3) Avoid flaxseeds and flaxseed oil.

(4) Increase intake of antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta carotene.


Some trial and error may be necessary to identify specific foods contributing to the problem.


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