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!