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get lives
08-09-2014, 11:28 PM
I'm trying to find the easiest way to centrifuge my wife's breast milk, so we can save the fat from her extra milk to use for my daughter's last bottle of the day (so she'll sleep better). I'm thinking about getting a medical-grade centrifuge, but I also have a corded electric drill and a vitamix (commercial grade) blender.

If I get a centrifuge, I'd like one that can hold the 50 ml test tubes, because anything much smaller would be time-consuming. I need some help finding a centrifuge that would hold that size tubes, though. The ones I've seen on ebay seem to hold only smaller sizes (I think).

I'm open to rigging something up with my drill or blender, or just getting a centrifuge, but I hope to keep the cost under $500 or so. The cream doesn't always separate out well, so this is all I've come up with.

USCDiver
08-09-2014, 11:47 PM
You could just try collecting hindmilk for such a purpose.

get lives
08-09-2014, 11:56 PM
You could just try collecting hindmilk for such a purpose.

Granted, your idea would work, but I am hoping for a little more fine-grained control over the cream-to-skim ratio. Hindmilk will vary in fat content day-to-day and over time as well. I appreciate the suggestion, though.

rowrrbazzle
08-10-2014, 12:47 AM
Do you have a top-loading washing machine? Spin cycle.

WhyNot
08-10-2014, 01:01 AM
Is your wife lactating yet? Most women don't need a centrifuge to remove the fat, they just need a refrigerator. Unlike homogenized cow's milk, breast milk readily separates when you let it sit still and chill in a bottle or jar. The more opaque stuff on the top is the fat, the watery stuff more water and protein. You can skim off the top.

get lives
08-10-2014, 01:13 AM
Do you have a top-loading washing machine? Spin cycle.

I wish, but our apartment complex only has a central laundry area. Thanks, though.

get lives
08-10-2014, 01:14 AM
Is your wife lactating yet? Most women don't need a centrifuge to remove the fat, they just need a refrigerator. Unlike homogenized cow's milk, breast milk readily separates when you let it sit still and chill in a bottle or jar. The more opaque stuff on the top is the fat, the watery stuff more water and protein. You can skim off the top.

Hers doesn't always separate that well. It's unreliable in that way.

yorick73
08-10-2014, 01:14 AM
Is your wife lactating yet? Most women don't need a centrifuge to remove the fat, they just need a refrigerator. Unlike homogenized cow's milk, breast milk readily separates when you let it sit still and chill in a bottle or jar. The more opaque stuff on the top is the fat, the watery stuff more water and protein. You can skim off the top.

Agreed. Also, centrifugation separates things based on density. Since fats are less dense than the rest of the milk the fats will accumulate at the top of the milk when centrifuged. Since you are not pelleting the fats I don't know if centrifugation will speed up the accumulation of fats at the surface. Even if it does speed up the process it seems like a huge expense and hassle to do something that can be accomplished by placing the milk in the fridge for a while. Plus, by the time you get up and running, baby will be sleeping through the night.

Isilder
08-10-2014, 06:39 AM
Tie the bottle into the spokes of a pushbike ? turn the pushbike upside down... pedal by hand.

BrotherCadfael
08-10-2014, 08:32 AM
Just pick up a cream separator (http://www.amazon.com/Cream-Separator-50L-H-Manual/dp/B0035QZ1G4) -- it should do the trick

get lives
08-10-2014, 09:10 AM
Just pick up a cream separator (http://www.amazon.com/Cream-Separator-50L-H-Manual/dp/B0035QZ1G4) -- it should do the trick

Do those work with really small amounts of milk? My wife only makes about 5 ounces at a time.

get lives
08-10-2014, 09:13 AM
Tie the bottle into the spokes of a pushbike ? turn the pushbike upside down... pedal by hand.

I actually like this. I work out of town a lot though, I don't know convenient it would be for my wife to do while she's home by herself with the baby. We might try this, though. We already have an exercise bike in storage.

Elemenopy
08-10-2014, 09:34 AM
I actually like this. I work out of town a lot though, I don't know convenient it would be for my wife to do while she's home by herself with the baby. We might try this, though. We already have an exercise bike in storage.

As interesting as a question as this is...when you are not home, why can't the baby just get milk from the tap, so to speak? Evening milk should be just what you want. Attempting to feed the baby an even higher % of milkfat than natural will probably lead to indigestion. Seriously.

If your wife is able to nurse normally, just make it easier to snuggle in somewhere comfy with baby around 7 PM or so. How old is baby? When baby is ready for a little cereal or vegetable mush, give that before bed as the first feedings and go from there.

Cite: Nursed babies for about 10 years, and 2 more to go.:cool:

Ruken
08-10-2014, 10:33 AM
Don't centrifuge at > 3750 g.min, or it's hard to resuspend the fat.
http://www.internationalbreastfeedingjournal.com/content/4/1/3

get lives
08-10-2014, 10:36 AM
As interesting as a question as this is...when you are not home, why can't the baby just get milk from the tap, so to speak? Evening milk should be just what you want. Attempting to feed the baby an even higher % of milkfat than natural will probably lead to indigestion. Seriously.

If your wife is able to nurse normally, just make it easier to snuggle in somewhere comfy with baby around 7 PM or so. How old is baby? When baby is ready for a little cereal or vegetable mush, give that before bed as the first feedings and go from there.

Cite: Nursed babies for about 10 years, and 2 more to go.:cool:

She's 1 month old, so solids are not realistic yet.

As far as indigestion, the goal is to find the maximum fat % she can tolerate well, and use that. With my first child we gave formula for the last bottle of the night, but I'm trying to avoid that.

get lives
08-10-2014, 10:39 AM
Don't centrifuge at > 3750 g.min, or it's hard to resuspend the fat.
http://www.internationalbreastfeedingjournal.com/content/4/1/3


Thanks, that's good to know.

Ruken
08-10-2014, 11:00 AM
Thanks, that's good to know.

That's pretty low compared to most commercial centrifuges. However, I don't know if it's low enough to rig up something on your own. You mentioned a $500, which is more than enough to get your a lower-end lab centrifuge. They even sell them on Amazon.

get lives
08-10-2014, 11:07 AM
That's pretty low compared to most commercial centrifuges. However, I don't know if it's low enough to rig up something on your own. You mentioned a $500, which is more than enough to get your a lower-end lab centrifuge. They even sell them on Amazon.

Actually I just got a Drucker 642E for $72.50 on ebay. It only holds 20 ml tubes, but that's no biggie.

Ruken
08-10-2014, 11:27 AM
Actually I just got a Drucker 642E for $72.50 on ebay. It only holds 20 ml tubes, but that's no biggie.Please let us know how it works out!

dougie_monty
08-10-2014, 11:36 AM
Whatever you do, I hope it doesn't make your wife dizzy.

johnpost
08-10-2014, 11:49 AM
you might try swinging before milking.

bob++
08-10-2014, 11:59 AM
My wife was a nursery nurse for 30 years and she never even heard of anyone doing this. You can bet that if it was a good idea, there would be all kinds of people selling a kit to do it. She specialised in preterm babies and was part of an outreach team that helped the mothers (frequently young teens) to cope at home with tiny (2lb) babies. Breast was not always possible, but always desirable, and much easier and more hygienic.

Some babies take a long time and the tiny ones might take an hour or more to take in 1 oz.

Her professional advice - Don't do it. There are many ways to get a baby to sleep, but this is not one of them.

Ruken
08-10-2014, 12:28 PM
Her professional advice - Don't do it. There are many ways to get a baby to sleep, but this is not one of them.My professional advice - Don't listen to nurses, who often know fuck-all about the science behind their practice, as evidenced by the prevalence of anti-vaxers.

Adjustment of human milk is an established practice, especially for pre-term babies.

For sleep, well, I'm not familiar with the scientific literature. I suggest running your plan by someone who is.

WhyNot
08-10-2014, 02:06 PM
Adjustment for preemies is to add calories and protein, not exclusively fat. I admit, this does make me uneasy and concerned about precipitating diarrhea (which happens when people, not just babies, take in too much fat at once) and mucking with the developing lipid/cholesterol levels and metabolic habits of the body in unknown ways.

But more than that, I'm just not convinced it will make a functional difference in sleep habits. For years people have tried adding cereal to milk and formula to help babies sleep through the night, and it just doesn't work (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2672785). Formula fed babies don't sleep any better than breastfed babies, and by 10 weeks, breastfeeding (naturally breastfeeding, not mucking about with composition) report better sleep than formula feeding moms. (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/11/08/peds.2010-1269.abstract) Baby bellies are pretty damn efficient at moving things through, and there's just no evidence that food of any type has an impact on babies' sleep cycles. Sleep cycles are determined by complex hormonal interactions, not diet.

You certainly don't have to convince me, of course. But I do hope it's something you've discussed with your pediatrician.

RivkahChaya
08-10-2014, 02:28 PM
I assume this means that during the day, the baby is getting "skim" breastmilk, since the fat is being saved for the evening. That sounds like a recipe for a hungry, crabby baby during the day.

Or is your wife pumping extra milk just for skimming, and dumping it, them feeding the baby direct from the tap during the day? If that's the case, then the baby is getting an unbalanced diet.

IANAD, nutritionist, or anything. I just can't fathom that this is a good idea.

Also, confirmation bias, and post hoc errors and all, I wonder if your other child who slept more after a bottle of formula was just sleeping because it was night, and everyone else in the house was in bed, it was dark, and quiet, so the baby slept, and it really had nothing to do with the formula.

get lives
08-10-2014, 03:07 PM
I assume this means that during the day, the baby is getting "skim" breastmilk, since the fat is being saved for the evening. That sounds like a recipe for a hungry, crabby baby during the day.

Or is your wife pumping extra milk just for skimming, and dumping it, them feeding the baby direct from the tap during the day? If that's the case, then the baby is getting an unbalanced diet.

IANAD, nutritionist, or anything. I just can't fathom that this is a good idea.

Also, confirmation bias, and post hoc errors and all, I wonder if your other child who slept more after a bottle of formula was just sleeping because it was night, and everyone else in the house was in bed, it was dark, and quiet, so the baby slept, and it really had nothing to do with the formula.

Are you her mother? Her father? Her pediatrician? Her caretaker? A childcare professional or medical professional? No, you say? None of those? Ok. Just curious. LOL

I mean, if I wanted parenting advice, I'd ask, right?

get lives
08-10-2014, 03:10 PM
Adjustment for preemies is to add calories and protein, not exclusively fat. I admit, this does make me uneasy and concerned about precipitating diarrhea (which happens when people, not just babies, take in too much fat at once) and mucking with the developing lipid/cholesterol levels and metabolic habits of the body in unknown ways.

But more than that, I'm just not convinced it will make a functional difference in sleep habits. For years people have tried adding cereal to milk and formula to help babies sleep through the night, and it just doesn't work (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2672785). Formula fed babies don't sleep any better than breastfed babies, and by 10 weeks, breastfeeding (naturally breastfeeding, not mucking about with composition) report better sleep than formula feeding moms. (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/11/08/peds.2010-1269.abstract) Baby bellies are pretty damn efficient at moving things through, and there's just no evidence that food of any type has an impact on babies' sleep cycles. Sleep cycles are determined by complex hormonal interactions, not diet.

You certainly don't have to convince me, of course. But I do hope it's something you've discussed with your pediatrician.

I know that I myself sleep better when I am getting plenty of good-quality fat, and I'm also a lot calmer. If it doesn't work for her, for any reason, I'll move on to other ideas, but I think it's worth a try.

Elemenopy
08-10-2014, 05:12 PM
Or is your wife pumping extra milk just for skimming, and dumping it, them feeding the baby direct from the tap during the day? If that's the case, then the baby is getting an unbalanced diet.




Assuming that Mom isn't exclusively pumping already, then pumping an oz. or two right after baby has had a feeding should give the highest-fat milk that is guaranteed to be safe for little tummy. Those can be combined in the fridge for dad's night feeding. No further processing needed.


Edit: Just because this IS the Straight Dope, I will mention that I have accidentally made butter in my Kitchenaid Mixer with half and half (from a cow!).

bob++
08-11-2014, 08:55 AM
My professional advice - Don't listen to nurses, who often know fuck-all about the science behind their practice, as evidenced by the prevalence of anti-vaxers.

Adjustment of human milk is an established practice, especially for pre-term babies.

For sleep, well, I'm not familiar with the scientific literature. I suggest running your plan by someone who is.

"Adjustment of human milk is an established practice" - Not over here, well at least, not anywhere my wife worked, it isn't. Prem babies (which is NOT what the OP has) need a very carefully balanced feed. If the mother can't, or won't, do it, then there are good commercial preparations available. Not all nurses are ignoramuses.

Babies are all different - some sleep well, and others don't. There are many places more qualified than this, that will give you good advice on how to help them get off to sleep and sleep well.

HoneyBadgerDC
08-11-2014, 01:36 PM
I always worry when using fats or sugars to soothe that we are helping to program the brain into responding to fats and sugars and seeking them out when we need something soothing. Nurturing along with feeding does more than just nourish the body, it also floods the brain with natural hormones and chemicals related to feeling safe and secure which can promote sleep as well as a healthy stimuli to respond to throughout life.

bump
08-11-2014, 01:48 PM
She's 1 month old, so solids are not realistic yet.

Neither is her sleeping more really either. Sometime around 2-3 months, they start sleeping longer but the first month is just awful, no matter what.

bob++
08-11-2014, 06:27 PM
Not all babies. Ours were pretty good; they woke, got fed straight from the tap, and went back to sleep. My wife got so she could practically do it in her sleep (baby was in a cot by the bed). My wife's sister, on the other hand, did not get a full night's sleep for the best part of a year. No reason that we could determine.

HoneyBadgerDC
08-11-2014, 10:41 PM
I may be totaly wrong on this but I suspect an infant who is experiencing things for the very first time responds very well to a warm, quiet, safe enviroment. I believe this floods the babies with al the right natural chemical and hormones that will relax a baby and help induce sleep. My exwife seemed to have a gift for this even with infants she baby sat for. Our chidren seemed to sleep all night from the very start and crying was almost non existent.

RivkahChaya
08-11-2014, 11:47 PM
I mean, if I wanted parenting advice, I'd ask, right?Well, then here's a little breastmilk storage advice I picked up as a candystriper on maternity, that might affect choices of centrifuge materials. There was a really big sign on the refrigerator that said "Do not store breastmilk in glass containers. The antibodies stick to the sides. Use plastic containers only."