15 Things That Will Make Mom’s Breastmilk Taste Bad

If the baby is arching their back and crying almost every single time mom tries to nurse, it might just be because mom’s milk tastes bad. Gasp! Yes, it really is true. And, there are many reasons why mother’s milk can occasionally taste just as rank as it might smell. Breastmilk can taste a bit funky to the baby, thanks to mom choosing to eat certain vegetables, stress, and even environmental pollution.

As much as people would like to think that their baby does not have a sensitive palate, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The baby develops tastes and preferences for certain foods, depending on what they were exposed to while growing in their mama’s womb. If mom is not careful about what she eats, or how she stores her breastmilk, the baby will happily snub any milk offered.

Now before mamas go into a panicked frenzy, worrying about whether her baby is or isn’t okay with her breastmilk, mama should take a deep breathe and relax. The baby could just be fussy about breastmilk because of poor production, letdown issues, a growth spurt, or a poor latch. If neither of those are the case, it could be due to mama’s breastmilk tasting a little off to their little one, because of one of the reasons listed below.

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15 Freezing Breastmilk (And Thawing It Out Later)

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It makes sense for a busy mom to stow away breastmilk in the freezer for later. After all, since many moms still have to work, and enjoy limited maternity leave, it’s a smart decision to leave breastmilk behind for the baby when mom’s away. But what about the taste and texture? The baby might notice the difference between getting a bottle of fresh breastmilk, and a bottle that has been thawed out.

The baby might give mom a funny face, or flat out refuse to drink any breastmilk that was previously frozen. Even though storing breastmilk in the freezer is a great way to keep the milk from spoiling or being wasted, it can cause the milk to separate, affecting its taste. Care must also be taken about bottle cleanliness, and storage and defrosting of milk for improved quality and taste.

14 Eating Asparagus

Asparagus is one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. Even though this veggie packs the power of chlorophyll and vitamins, and detoxifies, there is a side effect. Believe it or not, asparagus is not only capable of making your wee smell bad, giving it an unmistakable odor, but breastmilk is impacted too.

Mom may eat asparagus for her health, and enjoy the fact that it is an inexpensive veggie that is easy to cook. However, if she decides to breastfeed her babe, she might be in for a surprise when the baby starts turning up their face. Maybe mom can help encourage the baby to drink asparagus-tinged breastmilk, if she eats enough of the vegetable when pregnant. But if the baby is still unwilling to drink any breastmilk after mom eats a heaping serving of asparagus, then mom might want to take the asparagus off of her plate.

13 Drinking The Mommy Juice

Okay, so being a mom can be stressful and drive mom to want to pick up a cigarette or a glass of vino to relax. Well, unfortunately, drinking alcohol while breastfeeding just doesn’t mix. Unless, mom doesn’t think that the baby being a teetotaler is of any value.

See, anything that mom chooses to eat or drink ends up in her breastmilk. So if mom has been drinking, a good amount of alcohol is floating in her breastmilk. Most babies will snub tainted milk, but babies who end up drinking breastmilk with alcohol can risk poisoning, becoming really sleepy, or have other health issues if mom isn’t careful with her booze.

When in doubt, mom should really pump it and dump it. After having a glass or two, mom should forego giving the baby any tainted milk, unless she adores seeing the baby making disgusted faces.

12 Spicy Food Should Stay Off The Menu

Many moms may eschew chomping down on chilies or spicy food when pregnant because most mothers incur some serious heartburn and acid reflux for indulging. However, once the baby is out of the womb, mama still might want to exercise some caution when it comes to eating loads of spicy food. Her baby simply might not be able to handle the heat, and eating spicy foods can change the taste of breastmilk.

Unless the baby was exposed to spicy food all the time in the womb, they are more than likely going to pass up on breastmilk from a mom who loves food with heat. The capsaicin in peppers is what gives them their characteristic flavor, and sets your mouth on fire. When the baby gets a bit of breastmilk tainted with a side of chili pepper, it can lead to acid reflux, upset tummies, and a fussy and unhappy baby.

11 Taking Certain Medications

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It’s tough being a mom, especially if you have health conditions that require taking medications. If it wasn’t enough for mom to take precautions during her pregnancy, if mom chooses to breastfeed, her medication may be why the baby doesn’t like drinking breastmilk. Instead of running for the formula, mom should consider consulting their physician for advice and change their medication if possible.

If mom is battling something incredibly difficult like cancer, breastfeeding is really not the best idea. There is risk of passing on problems to her baby through her poor quality milk. Moms who live with hypertension, diabetes, or other health conditions, can still successfully breastfeed without giving baby dosed milk.

A medical professional can best assess mom’s health and ability to nurse, and choose a suitable switch in dosage or medication type, so that the baby won’t be running away from mom anytime she wants to nurse.

10 Eating Seafood

Fish may have some health benefits, but just as mom needs to take caution eating fish while pregnant, she still needs to be wary about the fish on her plate if she chooses to breastfeed. Thanks to things like man-made pollution, climate change, and fishing practices, mom might not be solely eating fish alone.

Plastics in the ocean leech into the water, and often become part of a fish’s food supply. It is not an uncommon sight to see fish having bits of colorful plastic hiding in their guts. Toxins like PCBs, dioxides, and other contaminants lurk in fish.

Mom should choose fish that have lower levels of mercury poisoning, and less exposure to contaminants. Mom may also want to avoid eating fish too often. It is possible for traces of toxins to appear in breastmilk, and cause her baby some distress.

9 Watch Out For Water

Even though municipal water supplies do their best to keep the public safe with the water offered, there are still contaminants that manage to get through. As there are cases around the world where people become terribly ill, or suffer long-lasting health complications from drinking poor quality water, getting a filter should be a must-have for a mom. Especially if she wants to breastfeed.

Water is needed for everything, from cooking, cleaning, drinking, and bathing. If mom drinks water that is contaminated by lead, arsenic, heavy metals, or even traces of pharmaceutical drugs, she can pass on bad milk to her baby. The baby might not even want to drink mom’s breastmilk, if enough toxins have built up in mom’s tissues over time.

Contaminated water is not only an issue of taste, but toxins in water can contribute to delays in certain milestones for the baby.

8 And Say No To Organ Meats

Meals like liver and onions may be a go-to for some mothers during their pregnancy and when breastfeeding. But, if mom chooses to consume a lot of organ meats, albeit nutrient rich, there is a risk of passing on toxins to the baby in the breastmilk. Mom needs to be choosy about where she purchases her meats, and might want to keep it to a minimum in her diet.

If the animal protein selected comes from animals that were treated with antibiotics, growth hormones, or exposed to feed dowsed in toxins, the baby might be reasonably turned off from drinking their mom’s breastmilk. Any traces of toxins can end up in a mother’s breastmilk, and can accumulate over time, depending on how much mom consumes certain things. When in doubt, mom should consult a nutritionist, and consider getting her milk tested.

7 Eating Garlic


Garlic, loved or hated for it’s pungent flavor and fieryness, doesn’t just repel vampires. Babies who get breastmilk with even a hint of the stuff might want to run for the hills too. Garlic is a very strong herb, and although it has health benefits like fighting off colds, and making dishes more flavorful, it also makes breastmilk suck, a lot.

If mom enjoys eating a lot of garlic-based dishes, or is constantly throwing garlic into her food, she might want to cool it. Unless the baby was exposed to lots of garlic while developing in the womb, they might have an adverse reaction and will snub any breastmilk offered. If mom can’t help herself, she should keep garlic-laced meals at a minimum of a few times a week.

Mom can keep garlic-free breastmilk stored in the fridge for later use, just so her baby won’t go hungry.

6 It's Never A Good Time To Smoke

Smoking is really bad for your health. Not only is smoking really terrible for mom, her teeth, skin, and hair, but it is especially more so for the baby. It goes without saying that mom should not smoke while pregnant. And even after the baby arrives, mom should really kick the cigarette habit to the curb, and not pick it back up.

Why? If mom chooses to breastfeed but still smoke, she can thank herself for giving the baby a dose of milk with a touch of nicotine, chemical additives, and a yucktastic flavor. Babies know the difference between quality breastmilk for their healthy growth and development and milk that is tainted thanks to mommy’s ongoing vices.

It’s a no-brainer that smoking illicit substances is equally if not more damaging to a growing baby’s health, and can pass on lethal and detrimental toxins to a nursing baby. Just don’t do it.

5 Being Stressed Out

Being in a sour mood can really sour a mother’s milk. Feeling depressed, or super stressed out can trigger hormonal responses in a woman’s body. These hormonal responses can negatively impact the quality of her breastmilk supply. And her baby can taste the difference!

It is so important for mom to make sure that she gets a break throughout her day and uses calming techniques. Life can be difficult when juggling work responsibilities, taking care of the house, and her new baby. Babies can be quite the handful, so mom should enlist some help when needed.

Planning for a babysitter to come through, taking time out for a spa date, or curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee or tea is helpful for mom to relax. The baby wants to drink a healthy amount of breastmilk, not stress-milk. So mom, know when it is time to relax, and carry on.

4 Pesticides And Herbicides

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Mom should try to eat organic foods that have not been exposed to herbicides or pesticides. Even though pesticides have been used on produce for years, and were deemed safe for public consumption, times have changed. Links to developmental delays, birth defects, and negative effects on human health have been connected to various chemicals sprayed on growing plants. Glyphosate has definitely come under attack for its long-term impact on human health.

It may seem inconvenient, overly difficult, or expensive to avoid foods with herbicides and pesticides. However, investing in your health as much as possible is important for mothers who want to breastfeed. Whatever mom eats can end up in her breastmilk. Sadly, herbicides and pesticides from fresh produce and even processed foods can leech into her bodily tissues and impact the quality and taste of breastmilk.

3 High Levels Of Lipase

The enzyme lipase is necessary to help a baby digest mom’s breastmilk. However, when the amount of lipase in breastmilk is higher than it should be, it can leave the baby with a sour taste in their mouth. Lipase doesn’t pose any hazards to a little one nursing, but some babies will turn up their face because it causes breastmilk to taste sour or off.

If mom’s lipase levels are out of control, and baby keeps snubbing her breastmilk, she should consult her doctor and a lactation consultant. Lipase levels can be dramatically increased if mom has an inflammed pancreas, tumors in the pancreas, or there is something off with her stomach.

Mom should investigate further for abnormally high lipase levels, if her expressed breastmilk taste or smells like soap, or just smells rank.

2 What's In Your Makeup Bag?

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Moms who choose to nurse definitely need to be cautious about the type of makeup they use, and take precautions about the food and water that they consume too. The reason? There is a risk of toxin buildup in body tissues like skin, hair, and also breastmilk from heavy metals. Even certain pharmaceutical medications can contain heavy metals which can build up in mom’s tissues, and impact her breastmilk.

The metals mom need to be cautious about most are lead, mercury, arsenic, phthalates, dioxins, and petroleum byproducts. Many agents used in cosmetics, added to food as preservatives, lurking in cigarettes, house paint, and more can negatively impact health. If mom chooses to consume things with a high count of heavy metals, it can be passed on to breastmilk, and onto the baby.

1 A World Full Of Pollution

Sadly, we live in a world full of air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution. Thanks to many of the advancements in modern technology, our planet is overrun with plastics, petroleum-based byproducts, and the exhaust from cars. Greenhouse emissions continue to contribute to climate change, declining human and animal health, and can negatively affect breastmilk.

It is not always possible for a mom to raise her family around more trees, or avoid a work or home environment saturated by man-made pollution. It is possible for a mom to make the best choices she can possible - using an air filter for her home, filtering water, avoiding spending a lot of time around heavy car traffic, and avoiding food with a lot of contaminants helps. Whatever pollution mom is exposed to can taint the taste and quality of breastmilk, and the baby may find a reason to snub nursing.

Sources: National Institute of Health, Medela Moments, Mom Junction, Baby Center, Breastmilk, Womens Mental Health, Essential Baby, Baby Gooroo

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