If you have been using a pump to express and breastfeeding around the clock, you probably feel that wasting breast milk should be a crime.
It feels awful to have to throw away extra breast milk, in any amount. But babies have a tendency to not finish their entire bottles! It can be hard to figure out exactly how much they will take at each feed.
So next time you are considering throwing away a half-drunk bottle of milk, consider these ideas for how to use your milk instead of throwing it away.
In this article, I am going to cover the difference between expired breast milk that is no longer safe for eating or drinking (like milk that has sat out for too long, or is leftover in a bottle) and what to do with excess breast milk, like a freezer stash.
What Is Expired Breast Milk?
Expired breast milk is milk that is no longer considered safe for your baby to drink.This would typically be if a bottle of expressed breast milk has been left for too long without being frozen.
Another reason for expired milk is if you have defrosted some milk for your baby to drink, and they didn’t drink the whole bottle. This milk should be consumed within 2 hours, and if it’s not, it should not be given to your baby.
Reasons Why You May Have Expired Breast Milk
- You have high Lipase
- Your baby didn’t finish the bottle and you have leftovers
- You thawed too much milk and the fridge storage time period has elapsed.
Luckily, there are plenty of uses for expired breast milk, you just can’t feed it to your baby and you probably shouldn’t consume it yourself. And If your milk has spoiled it must be thrown away immediately.
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What Is Excess Breast Milk?
Excess breast milk is the leftover breast milk in your freezer stash that is more than what your baby needs, or more than you can store.
If you have a strong supply and have filled up your freezer with expressed breast milk you will know what I mean!
You might end up with a huge freezer stash of breast milk if your baby has weaned early, or if you started giving formula instead of breast milk, or possibly if your baby has returned to full time breastfeeding.
How To Know If Your Breast Milk Is Spoiled
Like cow’s milk, breast milk that has spoiled is not safe to drink. You can easily tell if your breast milk has gone off because it will smell terrible. Off breast milk smells rancid. If you have concerns that your milk is no longer fresh, do not feed it to your baby.
Creative Uses For Expired Breast Milk
Once breast milk has been left out, it shouldn’t be consumed by your baby. These DIYs are perfect for milk that can’t be consumed. Please only add fresh milk that hasn’t expired or excess frozen breast milk to your baby’s food.
Breast Milk Soap
Breast milk is naturally antibacterial and healing for the skin. Using breast milk in soap is a great way to use up your expired milk and to soothe sensitive skin.
Here is a great recipe for learning how to make breast milk soap.
Breast Milk Baths
A breast milk bath is a great way to soothe and protect your skin. Not only does it have natural antibacterial properties, but it also contains nutrients that can help to nourish your skin. If you’re looking for a way to pamper yourself, a breast milk bath is a great option.
How To Make A Breast Milk Bath
To make a breast milk bath, all you need is some warm water and expired breast milk. Pour the water into a bathtub or large bowl, and add enough breast milk to make the water cloudy.
The benefits of breast milk baths are numerous. Not only will your skin feel softer and smoother, but you’ll also enjoy the natural antibacterial properties of breast milk. If you experience any dryness or irritation, it will help to soothe the symptoms.
Many people recommend using this type of bath for babies who are experiencing diaper rash, cradle cap or other skin irritations. The nutrients in breast milk can help to nourish and repair your child’s skin.
Breast Milk Lotion
Did you know that not only is breast milk full of antibacterial agents but it is also soothing for your skin? This simple breast milk lotion is great for calming eczema, acne, diaper rash and dry skin that you or baby might experience.
How to make breast milk lotion
- 6 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp beeswax
- 3-5 drops of Vitamin E oil
- 6 tbsp fresh breast milk, at room temperature
Using a double boiler or a saucepan on a very low heat, melt the beeswax and oil until the beeswax is almost completely melted, and remove from the heat.
Add 3-5 drops of vitamin E oil.
Add the breast milk to your oil mixture and mix to emulsify. You can use a whisk or an immersion blender to completely mix the ingredients together.
Transfer to a storage container. The lotion will thicken as it cools. If it seperates, you can use the immersion blender to whip it again.
Tip – I actually find it better to allow the mixture to start to set before blending with an immersion blender.
Store in the fridge, and use within 3 months.
Breast Milk Jewelry
Breast milk jewelry is a unique and beautiful way to keep your child close to your heart. You can choose from a variety of different pieces, including necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
Most breast milk jewelry is made from the mother’s own milk. The jewelry is made by mixing the milk with resin, which helps to preserve it. Many companies that offer breast milk jewelry also allow inclusions, including hair, placenta and even ashes.
Breast milk jewelry is very sentimental. It’s a great way to keep your child close to you even when they’re not with you.
If you’re looking for a unique way to commemorate the time you spent breastfeeding your child, this is it!
Eczema and Dry Skin
Studies have shown that breast milk is as effective as steroid ointment for atopic eczema. You can apply it directly from the bottle onto your baby’s skin, or dip a cotton ball in some breast milk and use it to gently dab the milk onto your baby’s rash.
What To Do With Leftover Frozen Breast Milk?
We’ve already covered what to do with expired breast milk that is no longer considered safe for human consumption… But what about your leftover freezer stash?
If you have leftover milk that is still fresh, it is perfectly fine to eat. You may find yourself with leftover breast milk if you have defrosted too much for your baby to drink, or if you have a large freezer stash that you need to use up.
Other reasons that you may find yourself with leftover breastmilk include:
- Baby weans
- You return to exclusive breast feeding
- You’ve left your milk in the freezer a little bit too long
Is Leftover Breast Milk Safe To Eat?
Of course, your freezer stash of breastmilk is completely safe to eat. Even milk that is past 6 month freezer time frame will usually be fine to consume, so long as it hasn’t spoiled. It’s really easy to tell if breastmilk has spoiled as it smells rancid!
Creative Breast Milk Recipes To Use Up leftover Breast Milk
Breast Milk Butter
Once your baby is eating solids, you might like to try making a little bit of breast milk butter to put on their foods. Toast fingers are perfect for little ones learning to eat, and this breast milk butter will be so much more beneficial than traditional butter.
Breast Milk Butter Recipe
Making breast milk butter is super easy. All you need is 2 or more ounces of fridge temperature breast milk and an immersion blender.
Place your cool breast milk in a blending jug and use your immersion blender on high to churn your milk. It will take a few minutes, but when it thickens you will have fresh breast milk butter. Perfect for putting on pancakes, toast, roast potatoes, anything you and your family like to eat.
Breast Milk Yogurt
Making yogurt from breast milk is a great way to preserve it. You can either use fresh or frozen milk to make yogurt.
How to make yogurt with breast milk
To make yogurt, add your thawed breast milk to a pot and heat on low until it reaches a low boil. Immediately remove from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Add a small scoop of probiotic powder or 1-2 tablespoons of fresh (unflavored and unsweetened) yogurt. Leave it in a warm place overnight, or in a yogurt maker for 6-8 hours.
Breast Milk Popsicles
Making breast milk popsicles is a fun and easy way to enjoy your breast milk. You can flavour them anyway you like and your baby will love this tasty treat while teething.
To make plain breast milk popsicles, simply pour into popsicle moulds and freeze.
To make flavoured breast milk popsicles, process breast milk plus any fruits you would like to add with an immersion blender. Then pour into moulds and freeze.
Breast Milk Oats
Once your baby has started weaning, you can use your excess breast milk stash up in their foods. This baby porridge is a great way to start using up your freezer stash.
Breast Milk Rolled Oats Recipe
- 50g rolled oats
- 350ml breast milk
Put oats and milk in a saucepan over a low heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the mixture has thickened and the oats are cooked.
Allow to cool before serving.
Donate Excess Fresh Breast Milk
If you have lots of excess breast milk in your freezer stash, there is sure to be a way to donate it. Breast milk banks are popping up everywhere, and most will be more than happy to take your extra breast milk as long as it is fresh.
You can use this link to find a breast milk bank near you.
You could also try the human milk bank association.
But if you only have a small amount, or you aren’t near a breast milk bank, another option is to directly donating breast milk to a friend.
Another option is to try a Facebook group, like Human Milk for Human Babies, who often have call-outs for people who need a breast milk donation.
We’ve provided a few ways you can use your breast milk, even if it’s expired. For small amounts of expired milk, throwing in in your baby’s bath or making a lotion are great ways to use up the amazing skin benefits of breast milk. But donating your milk or making yogurt, popsicles and other recipes are great options for using up any leftover milk that’s still safe for consumption.