Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Breast Milk Yogurt

This post is about breast milk, babies, and itchy breasts.  If you don't have some combination of the aforementioned, you're probably going to want to skip this post, because it's not going to do anything but gross you right out.  Back in July, the baby and I had Thrush.  This is a fantastic condition that causes white patches in the baby's mouth and on his tongue, and it infects the breasts as well, making them itch like mad.  It's actually a yeast infection and is usually passed back and forth between mom and baby, so it must be treated.  The baby continues to nurse during the treatment, but any pumped milk cannot be frozen and later given in a bottle or sippy, because Thrush survives the freeze/thaw, and it will re-infect the baby.

I was already on a pump schedule, and had been for months, in order to build my freezer stash.  I continued to pump during our lovely experience with Trush, because changing the schedule would have caused a drop in production.  At first I was just pumping and dumping, but then the pediatrician told me that Thrush doesn't survive heating, so I could go ahead and freeze it and save it for cooking when he started solids.

We had a rough night several weeks ago, and in a sleep deprived state, at two in the morning, I started wondering if I could make yogurt out of breast milk.  I stated on FaceBook that one of the things I wondered about at 2:00 a.m. was whether or not I could make breast milk yogurt, and an awesome friend pointed me at this recipe.  I started researching and looking around to see if other people had done this and what the opinions and different methods were.  What I mostly found where a bunch of lectures on how making breast milk yogurt was stupid because heating breast milk kills all the good things in it.

So excuse me while I go on a tangent here, but no, it does not.  Heating breast milk does indeed kill the white blood cells.  No argument there.  However, heating it does not "kill all the good things in it."  Even pasteurized breast milk is better than formula or cow's milk.  This isn't a breast feeding versus formula feeding versus dairy debate though.  It's simply facts about how cooking with breast milk does not, in fact, negate ALL the good of breast milk.  Here's the nutritional composition of breast milk,  made simple.  Here's an in-depth if you care to read it.  Anyway, my point is that while you do indeed lose SOME of the benefits of breast milk when you heat it, you certainly don't lose them all.  You don't even lose most of them.  The fats, the carbs, the proteins, the vitamins are all still there.  Does cooking your beans make the protein go away?  There's the answer, right there.  Let us not forget the fact that it's human milk, and I wanted to turn it into a treat for a human baby.  Alright, I'm stepping off of my soapbox now.

The recipe my friend linked me was the best of the very few I found out there, so my recipe is a combination of her recipe and my own, coupled with experiences and methodology learned while making soy yogurt in my crock pot (and I should probably post that recipe, because it's so easy and time saving!).  Every now and then I think I've reached the pinnacle of my hippie-ness only to surprise myself and go beyond.  I think this might be it though.  I have produced yogurt from breast milk.  I may have reached the epitome of hippie-dom!


Breast Milk Yogurt

Ingredients:


  • Breast Milk
  • Yogurt Starter
  • Thickening Agent (if desired)

Directions:

1.  Heat breast milk in medium sized sauce pan over medium heat.  If you have a candy thermometer, heat it to 185 degrees.  I don't have have one, so I heated it until little bubbles formed around the edges but it was NOT boiling.

2.  Cool to about 112 degrees.  Again, if you don't have a thermometer, cool until you can comfortably stick your finger in it without scalding yourself.  Please tell me that I don't need to tell you to wash your hands!

3.  Add your yogurt starter.  You can buy it in powder form at Whole Foods, or you can just use 2 TBSP of regular plain yogurt with live active cultures.  This is what I did.

4.  If using, add your thickening agent.  I used one, because we eat Greek yogurt here, and I didn't want him to be put off by the texture of a thinner yogurt.  

You have several choices here.  You can use tapioca starch, corn starch (if you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that baby isn't allergic), or plain powdered gelatin.  How much you use depends on how much milk you started with and how thick you want your end product to be.  You're going to have to play it by ear here.  I used a bit over a teaspoon of tapioca starch.

Sprinkle it over the top and then gently whisk all ingredients together.

5.  Pour your mixture into a WARMED Pyrex dish with a lid.  You could also use canning jars or even a glass pitcher, but it needs to be glass and it needs to have a lid, and it needs to be warm.  I warmed mine by pouring boiling water into it, then dumping it out and drying it.


6.  Place your milk mix into a small cooler and pour really hot water in around it.  I boiled a tea kettle full of water to use.  This made sure it was darned hot, and it gave me a handy spout to make the pouring so much easier.  Pour the water up to the rim of your container, but make sure it does not go over the top.


7.  Cover your cooler almost completely with a large thick towel.  I warmed mine in the dryer first.



8.  Now, don't mess with the cooler except to change the water one time, about halfway through.  I change my water at 4.5 hours, and then I went to bed.

9.  The longer you leave it, the thicker and tarter it will be, so incubate according to your baby's tastes.  We let ours go for a bit over 12 hours.

10.  Store in refrigerator and add any flavors AFTER the yogurt is done.

This bowl has 1/4 of a mashed banana, a splash of vanilla extract, and some powdered ginger.

The flavor possibilities are endless.  We've had banana ginger, apple cinnamon, mashed blueberry, and pumpkin allspice.  He loves them all.

I couldn't shovel it in there fast enough!

Enjoy!





33 comments:

  1. What a neat project. And I like that your not wasting breast milk. :)

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  2. Sounds fantastic. I Must try this. I Would love to see your recipe for the soy yogurt also!

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  3. When you change the water do you also reheat your towel? I may be over thinking this.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't. In fact, I took the bowl of yogurt out of the cooler and tossed the towel over it so it would retain some heat. I dumped out the old water really quickly, put the bowl of yogurt back in the cooler, poured the hot water back in around it, and tossed the towel over the top again.

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  4. How much breastmilk did you use? I may be blind and you stated this, but I cant find it.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't say, actually. I used 20 ounces. I wanted to make sure it would work before I used any more, even Thrush milk. You could certainly use more, but I wouldn't use any less.

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  5. Replies
    1. Mine had been in the freezer for over three months, but it was a deep freeze. If it's frozen, and you're going to heat it anyway, then I don't see why not actually. I wouldn't use unfrozen expired though.

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  6. What's the gray plastic around your container on the pic above?

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  7. If your baby is under 1 year old and has never had cow's milk products (formula etc.)is it still OK to use yogurt as the starting agent?

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    Replies
    1. The rule of thumb is to introduce foods one at a time and wait four days before each new food to make sure there's no allergic reaction or digestive sensitivity: http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/4daywaitrule.htm#.USO02R2sh8F. My pediatrician recommended that we begin dairy products (if we were going to), such as yogurt, at seven months. So my answer is, if you are going to use a dairy yogurt starter and this is baby's first exposure to dairy, wait four days since you gave him/her something new, and wait for four days after until you give him/her anything else new. Also, if you have any doubts, ask your pedi when s/he thinks it's okay to introduce a little bit of dairy.

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  8. I'm making this now, for me & my family...thank you so much for the recipe!

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  9. I boiled the breast milk on accident. Is that OK?

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  10. It didn't set up at all for me :(

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    Replies
    1. Possibly because you boiled it? I don't know; it sets up every time for me.

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  11. Wondering if this would work if I put my dish in a crock pot?

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    Replies
    1. I don't know why not. I've been meaning to try this myself, but I haven't been brave enough yet. I also make soy yogurt in the crock pot, and I've been wanting to try the breast milk yogurt that way too, because it's just so easy, but I haven't been brave enough yet.

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    2. I read another recipe that says the water surrounding your dish needs to be between 90-120 degrees, but you just used boiling water. Does it matter the temp outside the dish keeping it warm?

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    3. I honestly don't know. I always just boil and dump. It's worked fine every time.

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  12. My first attempt failed :(. I'm on attempt #2. I put it the dish into a pot with some hot water, put a cooler and overed it up. I check the water at the 4 hr mark and it was cool :(. I'm afraid I may be going on attempt number three. ( silly iPad wouldn't let my correct my grammar)

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  13. Can I ask, was your breast milk frozen before you started? I have a ton of frozen milk and baby refuses a bottle so I am trying to figure out if it can safely be used in a yogurt recipe.

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    Replies
    1. Mine was frozen. In fact, I turned it into yogurt because it was pumped while we had thrush. The pediatrician told me not to dump it, because while freezing won't kill thrush, heating will. I saved it until he was on solids and made it into yogurt!

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  14. Do you know how long it's good for in the fridge after it becomes yogurt?

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  15. For those who are struggling, I wonder if it has anything to do with fat content. I have recently made my first and second attempt at yogurt making with regular cow's milk and a starter from Cultures for Life, and the first attempt failed. I think it was because I used 2% milk. I used half and half for the second starter, and it seems to have worked really well. Maybe maybe if there is too much foremilk there won't be enough sugar to feed the starter.

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  16. How long is it good for before it will go bad?

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    Replies
    1. We've never had it in the refrigerator for longer than a week, but it stays good for the while week. I honestly don't know if it would last longer than that, because ours always gets eaten in a week.

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  17. I tried twice now and both failed. First time I used fresh raw breastmilk, added my own yogurt made from cows milk. After 12 hours it still didn't set. The fat was all at the top and the bottom seems to be curds suspended in whey. The second time i used frozen milk, heated to near boiling, cooled to 110 degrees, added a new Fage 2% plain yogurt. Now it has been 12 hours and it appears to be the same: not set, though not as separated as the first time. I use a yogurt maker. I have been making yogurt with 2% cow milk for the family for a while and it has always worked. Any suggestion for what could have gone wrong here? Are these batches definitely not good to use?

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  18. I know it has been a while since you posted this... but do you know if you could use frozen breast milk to make the yogurt?

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    Replies
    1. I've only ever used frozen, and it's worked every time for me.

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  19. If you read comments she says frozen is the only thing she used.
    Also did all you ladies use the thickening agent like her? Also Greek yogurt is thick to begin with so make sure you use a thick yogurt.
    Did anyone else get this to turnout?

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