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10 Ideas for What to Do with Extra Breast Milk

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You’ve probably heard breast milk referenced as liquid gold. That’s because it contains so many vital nutrients for your baby that she won’t get anywhere else.

While your baby may consume a good amount of breast milk, there may be times when you have some leftover. You don’t and shouldn’t waste it. So, what do you do with leftover breastmilk? We’ve got some ideas that will help you preserve your liquid gold.

What to Do With Extra Breast Milk

1. Donate It

Many moms decide to donate their extra breast milk to a milk bank. These banks process the milk and give it to babies in need. There are rigorous screening processes to ensure that everything is safe.

Before you donate, make sure you’re eligible. Some women can’t donate because of certain medications or illnesses. The bank you are considering will tell you if you can donate or not.

2. Breast Milk Popsicles

Just as you would freeze fruit juice to make popsicles, you can freeze breast milk. Simply put breast milk in a popsicle mold and freeze it. Breast milk popsicles make a tasty treat for your baby and are also great for teething babies.

3. Breast Milk Baths

Breast milk has many moisturizing effects that make it great for adding to bathwater. You can do this for your baby or yourself. Fatty acids like palmitic acid and oleic acid help to make the water soft for your skin or your baby’s.

4. Treat Diaper Rash

You can also use breast milk to treat diaper rash. Because of its soothing qualities, it can help your baby’s red and irritated skin. While it helps many babies, if your baby has a yeast rash, he won’t get any relief.

Yeast can thrive on sugar that’s in breast milk which is not going to help your baby. Keep an eye to see if the rash is going away. If it doesn’t, you may be dealing with a yeast rash that will require a trip to the pediatrician.

5. Cradle cap

Breast milk can help to get rid of the cradle cap.  Use a cotton ball to apply it to your baby’s scalp. The soothing qualities of breast milk can help the flaky scalp.

How to Tell If Your Breast Milk Has Gone Bad (3 Quick Tips)

6. Mix it With Solid Food

As you consider what to do with extra breast milk, consider mixing it with solid food. Since your baby is already familiar with the taste, it may help you to get him to begin to eat the food he’s never had before. Try it in foods that have a different texture than your baby is used to having. 

7. Make Chapstick

Breast milk can make some great moisturizing chapstick. Wash, clean, and sterilize an empty chapstick container. Fill it was your extra breast milk and freeze it.

Once you take it out, you have a great chapstick for cracked lips. Breast milk chapstick typically lasts up to six months in the freezer.

8. Insect Bites and Sunburns

The next time you have an insect bite or sunburn, try some breast milk for relief. Add water to the breast milk to make a cloudy solution. Spray over your bites or sunburn for soothing relief.

9. Plant Fertilizer

Looking for your plants to grow faster? Try adding breast milk to the soil. Since that’s where plans get most of their nutrition, adding breast milk can help them grow better from the roots.

10. Breast Milk Jewelry

You may have heard about using extra breast milk to make jewelry. Pendants and rings are popular pieces that can be made. Etsy has some great options if you’re looking to do this.

FAQs

When it comes to leftover breast milk and what to do with leftover breast milk, women often have some common questions. Here are a few that you may be wondering about:

Do I have to throw out all of my stored frozen breast milk if the power went out?

This depends on how long the power was out and how defrosted the milk becomes. If a freezer is left unopened during a power outage, food can be safe for 48 hours and about 24 hours if the freezer is only half-full.

The other frozen items can help keep the milk frozen longer.  Food will stay cold in a fridge for about four hours when the power is out. The key is to keep both the fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep the cold in.

When the power comes back, check your breast milk. If frozen breast milk has started to thaw but still has ice crystals, it can be refrozen. If the milk has thawed completely, but still feels cold, put it in the fridge and use it within the next day. If you don’t, throw it away.

What happens if my milk is thawed but not used?

If you’ve thawed breast milk, use it within 24 hours.

Can you feed your baby milk that’s leftover in the bottle after a feeding?

The CDC recommends that if your baby doesn’t finish a bottle, you can use the leftover breast milk within two hours after the baby is finished feeding. After two hours, you should throw out the milk.

Can you put warmed breast milk back in the fridge?

Don’t leave warm breast milk out at room temperature and don’t refreeze it. Once you warm breast milk, give it to your baby right away or put it in the fridge for up to four hours.

How can I tell if my breast milk is spoiled?

There are a few ways to tell if your breast milk is spoiled. Breast milk gets a layer of fat that will rise on top. When it sits for a while, you can notice this layer more.

If you shake the bottle, the fat should blend in with the rest of the milk. If it doesn’t or you notice small chunks forming, the milk may be spoiled. You may also notice the milk gets darker. This is also an indication that the milk is probably spoiled.

Always check the smell to see if your milk is spoiled. Breastmilk either smells sweet or has no odor when it’s fresh. If you smell something sour, the milk has spoiled. You can also taste it to see if tastes sour. Any sour milk should obviously be thrown away.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to what to do with leftover breast milk, you’ll notice that there are many practical uses so that it doesn’t go to waste. From making popsicles to using them in the bath or for sunburn, there’s always something you can do with the extra breast milk you have lying around.

Kristina is a freelance writer and children's book author. She's the mother of two girls who keep her very busy! When she's not spending time with her family, she enjoys taking a spin class and reading a good book.