salty breast milk - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 02-24-2014, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have successfully weaned my 4-year-old son down to one feeding a day, just before bed time. Sometimes it only lasts 2 minutes, and sometimes close to 20. Lately I have noticed that he stops for water breaks during nursing and often drinks water when he is done nursing. I have asked him why, and he says, "Mommy milk makes me thirsty because it is salty." I thought it was a little strange, but figured it gave him an excuse to drag out our nursing time.

 

Over the past 2 days, my eyes have been itchy and goopy--I think I'm coming down with an eye infection. Naturally, I did a search on mothering.com for threads related to eye infections, and I saw that breast milk was the most frequently recommended treatment. So I got out my pump and tried really hard but only managed to get a few drops, which I poured in my eyes. It was very thick and temporarily blinded me as it ran down my face and a couple of drops found their way onto my lips, so I licked them off. It was very salty. I thought it might have mixed with my tears, but I decided to taste the last drop in the cup, and it was disgustingly salty. Bleh.

 

I have looked up salty breast milk and found 3 common causes: mastitis, pregnancy, and weaning. I am guessing I have the latter. Apparently breast milk becomes salty as feedings become less frequent. I am assuming it is still safe to drink, but does it still have immune boosting properties? Is it going to help my eyes? Does anyone have any insight on this salty weaning milk?


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#2 of 10 Old 02-24-2014, 08:15 PM
 
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I don't know about salty, but when I got preggo with DS2, my milk dried up but DS1 kept nursing. He weaned completely right before the birth. Then, when he tried it again, he said he didn't want it anymore because it was "a little bit too spicy" LOL. So, I first thought that maybe your son said it was salty because he didn't know how to describe the change in taste. But since you tried it yourself and it was salty, then I'm stumped!! Must be from the weaning I would guess!

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#3 of 10 Old 02-25-2014, 02:34 AM
 
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Hmmmm. I have nver heard of salty. Have you ever tasted it before? I always thought mibe tasted like vomit! Didn't seem to bother my daughter
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#4 of 10 Old 02-25-2014, 02:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I read about it last night and apparently the sodium content goes up the longer the milk stays in the body, but maybe somebody knows more about it.

 

I have tasted it before and while I always thought it tasted a little off, it didn't taste like that.

 

My eyes feel much better today, so apparently the salty breast milk worked anyway!


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#5 of 10 Old 04-05-2014, 03:49 AM
 
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yes, milk becomes salty during weaning. I guess natures way to encourage weaning. also lower potassium. 

I don't know about immune properties. it must have immune cells anyway, but maybe not as much.

your eye infection sounds viral, it will get better regardless of what you do, but salty breastmilk can't be bad!

 

mine became salty at every pregnancy. It is salty right now (my 2 y.o. also wants water). 

 

So with pregnancy and weaning, sodium concentrations increase and potassium decreases. 

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#6 of 10 Old 04-08-2014, 07:52 PM
 
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My son is two and as half and he has started asking for water during nursing too!
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#7 of 10 Old 04-12-2014, 05:17 PM
 
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Mine was salty when I weaned my youngest.  I tasted it and it was very salty and not good.

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#8 of 10 Old 04-13-2014, 12:58 AM
 
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It is a well known fact that a woman's milk is somewhat salty as compared to that of other species, say bovine. Further, quite often the taste changes with time, among other things, depending on her food intake. In our community new mothers are advised to avoid taking spicy and bitter tasting food, liquor, excess of tea, coffee, etc.  and instead take sweet tasting fresh fruits and dry fruits, milk etc.. In case a nursling complains or starts avoiding breast-milk the first thing that is checked is whether the mother had recently changes the composition of her diet. There may, of course, be other reasons as well such as effect of medication, some infection or disease. The doctor must be consulted if the situation prolongs. 

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#9 of 10 Old 04-13-2014, 03:56 AM
 
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I think it is much sweeter than other species (due to our big brain that can only live on sugar).

not sure about sodium composition compared to other species, but the concentration of sodium in breastmilk is 100% absolutely not related to diet. 

milk comes from blood, and sodium concentration in the blood is not related to diet (unless it is extreme, but still....mostly related to extreme change in water consumption than salt). then, from blood to lactocytes, there are special transporters of sodium, that are regulated. we don,t know a lot, but it seems that sodium and potassium transporters (or pumps) are influenced by 2 factors; active weaning or pregnancy.

 

all this means to OP: yes, your milk taste is normal in the context of weaning. 

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#10 of 10 Old 04-17-2014, 06:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uzra_hashmi@rediff View Post
 

It is a well known fact that a woman's milk is somewhat salty as compared to that of other species, say bovine. Further, quite often the taste changes with time, among other things, depending on her food intake. In our community new mothers are advised to avoid taking spicy and bitter tasting food, liquor, excess of tea, coffee, etc.  and instead take sweet tasting fresh fruits and dry fruits, milk etc.. In case a nursling complains or starts avoiding breast-milk the first thing that is checked is whether the mother had recently changes the composition of her diet. There may, of course, be other reasons as well such as effect of medication, some infection or disease. The doctor must be consulted if the situation prolongs. 

 

Have you tasted weaning, salty milk?  It's a very different taste from "normal", non-weaning milk. 

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