Breast milk is truly incredible stuff, and fully deserves its name as the liquid gold of infant nutrition.
Studies also show that breastfed babies do better on intelligence tests when they grow older, have eyes that work better, and have far fewer digestive, lung, and ear infections.
Evidence also suggest that the composition of your breast milk can actually change when your baby is sick, to help them fight off any infections they are facing – which is pretty mind blowing when you think about it.
These are just some of the incredible properties of breast milk, so it goes without saying that no mom wants to throw away their highly precious milk if possible.
So let’s take a look at 10 useful things you can do with extra and expired breastmilk, to ensure wasting or dumping this liquid gold is a thing of the past!
Table of Contents
- Does Breast Milk Expire? How Should It Be Stored?
- What To Do With Expired Breast Milk?
- What To Do With Extra Breast Milk That Is Still In Date?
Does Breast Milk Expire? How Should It Be Stored?
- At room temperature (77°F or colder) for up to 4 hours.
- In the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- In the freezer: 6 months is best, although 12 months is acceptable. As a side note, there may be some white spots on your frozen breast which occurs when the fat separates from the rest of the milk, but this is nothing to worry about.
Here is a handy table that shows breast milk storage guidelines:
What To Do With Expired Breast Milk?
Although breast milk does expire, that doesn’t mean that it should automatically be thrown out or dumped.
Are you are wondering what to do with frozen breast milk after 6 months or one year?
Perhaps you’re looking for ideas on what to do with breast milk that you’ve pumped immediately after drinking alcohol?
If so, here are some great suggestions on how to make use of any expired breast milk:
1. Milk Lotion
Breast milk lotion is fairly straightforward to make and can be extremely soothing for your baby.
A great benefit of this lotion is that because it’s only made from natural ingredients, it is nice and gentle on you baby’s sensitive skin.
Some of the surprising uses for breast milk lotion include helping treat and soothe the following:
- Diaper Rash
- Cradle Cap
- Sensitive Skin
- Baby Acne
- Cuts & Minor Scrapes
How To Make Breast Milk Lotion
The good news is that with only a few ingredients and a handful of simple steps, making homemade breast milk lotion is pretty straightforward. .
Here is one of the best and easiest to follow breast milk lotion recipes:
- 100 ml grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon of beeswax
- A few drops of Vitamin E oil
- 3.4oz (100ml) fresh breast milk, at room temperature
- Optional: 2-3 drops of an essential oil for scent
- Heat the oil and beeswax together until the beeswax has just melted – this should take approx. 3 minutes in a microwave in a low setting. Then add the Vitamin E oil.
- Slowly pour in the breast milk while whisking the oil mixture rapidly. What you want is for the mixture to emulsify and thicken.
- Leave to cool before using (the lotion should continue thickening as it cools).
- Store in a sealed container in a dark cool place.
- If you wish you can store the lotion in the fridge, but it will harden (because of the beeswax), so let it come back to room temperature before using.
- Store away from any type of heat source as beeswax is combustible.
- Avoid storing in the freezer as it will alter the texture.
- Use within 3 months.
2. Milk Baths
You may be wondering what is a milk bath (or expired breast milk bath, as they are sometimes known).
This is simply a normal baby bath, but with some added breastmilk – enough to make the bath cloudy.
Milk or expired breast milk baths are very soothing for babies and can can help clear up the issues we mentioned above, such as diaper rash, cradle cap, eczema and irritated skin.
When giving your baby a milk bath, simply follow your usual bath routine, add enough breast milk to make the bath water cloudy, and then let you baby soak in the tub for 5-10 minutes so they can get all the wonderful benefits of your liquid gold.
3. Breast Milk Soap
You might be surprised to learn that breast milk can make a fantastic soap.
Similar to breast milk lotion, a soap made with breastmilk has many benefits and is naturally kind to your baby’s skin.
Breastmilk soap is a great remedy for:
- Dry Skin
- Diaper Rash
4. First Aid Syringe
If you are interested in using excess or expired breastmilk for its medicinal and healing properties, then you might want to make a first aid syringe out of breast milk.
To do this, simply fill a syringe with breast milk, and then store in the freezer (ideally in a date-labelled freezer bag, so it’s kept clean and you know how long it’s been stored for).
You’ll want to replace the syringe fairly often, as the potency and anti-inflammatory properties will naturally lessen over time when stored in the freezer.
Then the next time your child is suffering from any of these, you’ll have a natural, effective remedy:
- Insect Bite
- Minor Cut
- Minor Burn
- Diaper Rash
- Pink Eye
- Nasal Congestion
- Dry Skin
5. Stretch Marks
Brest milk also has healing properties that can benefit mom as well.
Some women claim that applying it to stretch marks can help reduce their visibility.
Bear in mind that you’ll need quite a lot of extra breast milk for this remedy, as those who have been successful often say they apply it generously to the area, sometimes as often as 3-4 times per day.
6. Sore Nipples
Another way that you can benefit from breast milk’s healing properties is to use it to soothe sore nipples while breastfeeding.
Simply apply some directly onto your nipples and then let it dry to enjoy a natural, completely free remedy.
Breast milk can also be used to treat and soothe sunburn by rehydrating and moisturizing burnt skin.
You hopefully won’t need to use this on your newborn, who should be kept completely out of the sun for the first 6 months according to the AAP.
But if your toddler has been refusing to wear their sunglasses, or you’ve caught a bit too much sun on your face, then that extra or expired breastmilk can come in very handy, especially on vacation when you may not have any aftersun lotion.
What To Do With Extra Breast Milk That Is Still In Date?
If you have extra breast milk that is fresh or still in date, you can of course still use it for any of the suggestion above.
Additionally, because it’s still in date and can be safely consumed by your baby, there are some other options available to you.
So if you have extra breast milk that is still drinkable and is not passed its expiration date, you could also use it as follows:
1. Make Popsicles
If your baby is teething, they will most probably find sucking or chewing on something cold to be very comforting.
Many parents therefore find that an effective tip for soothing their baby’s mouth during teething is by giving your them some frozen breast milk, which is both free and 100% natural.
To do this you just need to make a popsicles or “milksicles”, which is an ice lolly made of frozen breastmilk or frozen formula (breast milk is definitely the better option).
2. Mix With Food
Mixing in a small amount of fresh or unexpired breastmilk can help create a softer texture that mimics typical baby food, which your little one may be more familiar and find it easier to chew and swallow.
You can also add the breast milk to any purees, to pack in some extra nutrients and make baby food taste more exciting for your baby!
3. Donate It
Finally, if you are producing extra breast milk and are unsure what to do with it, why not consider donating it to someone who is in need?
There are hundreds of breast milk donation centres across the country that would be very grateful for your extra breast milk, and some will even pay you a small fee.
Just keep in mind that breast milk banks tend to have fairly strict screening in place such as interviewing you and drawing blood, so they can be sure that what they receive is safe to use.
Summary of 10 useful things you can do with breast milk instead of dumping it:
- Make Milk Lotion
- Use In Milk Baths
- Make Breast Milk Soap
- Create A First Aid Syringe
- Treat Stretch Marks
- Remedy For Sore Nipples
- Treat Sunburn
- Make Popsicles
- Mix With Food or Cook With It
- Donate It