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WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER BREAST MILK
I stared at the sign in the window of a salon advertising breast milk facials. My first thought was, why are they wasting precious breast milk on facials???
My second thought was, I wonder what the benefits of a breast milk facial are. Don’t judge. I live in Colorado and it’s really dry. We need good facials.
Breast milk has such amazing properties. Moms work hard to make their liquid gold.
Unfortunately, there are times when you need to either pour it down the drain or find good ideas of what to do with leftover breast milk.
There is little in a nursing mom’s life that will make her sadder than having to throw out her milk. Fortunately, there are many uses for extra breast milk.
WHY YOU MIGHT NEED TIPS FOR USING EXTRA BREAST MILK
Do you have an oversupply issue? Do you have a freezer full of breast milk and are running out of room?
Do you have a baby who has no interest in taking bottles and you don’t know what to do with all the milk you diligently pumped?
DONATING BREAST MILK
If you have more milk than your baby can use I hope you will consider donating to a milk bank. Milk banks collects human milk. They process the milk and distribute it to babies in need. They have rigorous screening procedures to ensure safety.
But not everyone is eligible to donate their milk. Certain medications or illnesses may mean a mom can’t donate. Other moms live too far away from milk banks or their depots.
In my Facebook group the other day a mom shared that her freezer had defrosted and she had to throw milk away.
Never throw milk away. Even if it is past its “use by” date there are many uses for extra breast milk.
My contact at the milk bank has told me that if there is any part of the milk that is still frozen then it can be refrozen.
If the milk has completely thawed and gotten to room temperature then this is when you’ll want to get creative. Keep reading because I have lots of great ideas of what to do with thawed breast milk.
You may have frozen milk while you ate something that you later found made your baby fussy. There are a variety of foods that can cause fussiness in babies. Although it may make your baby unhappy, this is a great example of when to consider donating to a milk bank.
Milk Storage Guidelines Printable
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Too Much Lipase
- Lipase is an enzyme that breaks down breast milk fats.
- Some mamas have a lot of lipase in their milk.
- The result is that their milk may taste and smell sour or soapy after being stored in the freezer or fridge.
- You can still feed it to your baby if she will drink it. But a baby may refuse it.
Milk Is Past It’s “Use By” Date
Does Breast Milk Expire?
Breast milk storage guidelines state the period of time that breast milk will experience the minimum changes in it’s composition.
- Basically the guidelines tell you how long the good stays stays as good as it can be.
- If the milk has passed that date you probably don’t want it to be your baby’s sole source of nutrition, but it might be fine to add to use in recipes once in a while.
- If the milk smells bad or tastes bad and you don’t have a history of excess lipase you won’t want to use it as food.
Don’t be discouraged though. There are still a variety of creative uses for breast milk.
Milk Was Thawed and Not Used
There may be times when you thaw milk ahead of time and it doesn’t get used.
Once breast milk has completely thawed it is recommended that it be used within 24 hours (Source).
Leftover Milk From a Bottle
Your baby may not have finished all the milk you put in his bottle.
It is recommended that milk not be offered again if it has been 2 hours since your baby finished it (Source).
Remaining Freezer Stash After Weaning
Once your baby has weaned from breastfeeding you can still give milk in a cup or bottle.
You may have a lot of milk that you aren’t able to use in a timely manner.
The good news is that there is a use for all these different scenarios of extra breast milk.
BREAST MILK HOME REMEDIES
Breast milk has been used effectively as a treatment for a variety of conditions.
BREAST MILK IN COOKING
Breast milk can be added to your baby’s food. It can also be added to your food!
People have used breast milk in cooking with many different recipes.
Breast Milk Popsicles
Popsicle made out of breast milk are great for teething. They are also a tasty treat for your little one on a hot summer day.
You can make a simple popsicle by freezing milk in popsicle molds.
If you are looking for a little variety you can blend the milk with fruit.
Breast Milk Ice Cream
If you have preschoolers this could be a fun family activity. The process is pretty simple.
- 1 cup breast milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (I always use Mexican vanilla because the flavor is so much better).
- 1-2 Tablespoons of sugar (breast milk is very sweet, so you may want to use even less)
You can you an ice cream maker like the Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet and Ice Cream Maker.
Mason Jar Method
- Combine the ingredients in a mason jar
- Shake vigorously for about five minute
- Freeze for four hours
Plastic Bag Method
Another low tech method is to double bag the ingredients in a freezer strength plastic bags.
- Fill a plastic container with 6-8 cups of ice mixed with ½ cup of rock salt.
- Shake the container until it looks like ice cream.
Breast Milk Smoothie
Smoothies are a great way to sneak a few daily servings into anyone’s diet. Breast milk makes a great substitute for any liquid you normally use.
BREAST MILK FOR SPA TREATMENTS
- Breast milk soap
- Breast milk facials
- Breast milk baths
One of the benefits of a breast milk bath is that it can help with various skin conditions, like excema and some rashes.
Moms also add breast milk to their baby’s bath water for memorable photos.
You will often hear about breast milk baths for babies. But there is no reason why you can’t put some breast milk into your own bath.
Having extra breast milk is a great excuse to take advantage of the moisturizing effects of some of the fatty acids in breast milk, like palmitic acid and oleic acid.
BREAST MILK JEWELRY
For a special breast milk keepsake various companies will take your breast milk and make jewelry with it.
- Breast milk pendant
- Breast milk ring
I love the different options on Etsy for getting breast milk jewelry made.
CAN I SELL MY BREAST MILK
You can sell breast milk. That salon had to get their breast milk from somewhere!
I don’t recommend selling breast milk for babies to eat.
I feel very confident that breast milk that has been collected and processed by a milk bank that is accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America or the European Milk Bank Association.
I don’t recommend casual milk sharing either because of the risks involved.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER BREAST MILK
I hope I have given you plenty of ideas for what do do with your extra breast milk. There really is no reason to have to make the sad decision to throw it away.
Have you heard of other ideas for uses for leftover or expired breast milk? Leave me a note in the comments!
Andrea Tran RN, MA, IBCLC
Andrea has been working with new families as an RN for over 35 years and a Lactation Consultant for over 25 years.
She has her MA in Health and Wellness with a focus in Lactation.