What To Do With Leftover Frozen Breast Milk?

No matter how much you plan, there’s always the potential for leftover frozen breast milk.

So what are your options?

Here are some practical ways to use up all that extra milk.

Keep in mind that not every method will work for every mom and child, so choose what works best for you.

And always consult with your pediatrician before making any changes to your baby’s diet.

Happy freezing.

Consider donating your breast milk to a hospital

Donating your milk to a milk bank can be an effective way to reduce waste if you are committed to the process.

To donate, the milk must meet certain criteria including being at least 48 hours old and having less than 24 hours of frozen time. (source)

A good place to start is the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, which has a list of milk banks around the country.

The advantages of this solution are that you obtain an official certificate of donation, which can be used for tax deductions, and milk banks typically pay for the shipping costs.

The disadvantages are that milk bank options are limited in some areas, it can take time to fill out the necessary paperwork, and your milk may not meet all standards initially.

If this is your preferred method consider keeping a few bags of milk in your freezer at all times so you can donate what you don’t need for your baby.

Consider donating your breast milk to a mother in need

Another option for getting rid of excess amounts of breast milk is to donate it to a mother in need if you know one.

Throughout the country, there are many mothers who cannot produce enough milk on their own and will benefit from your donation.

You can find a list of milk drop-off locations here.

If you do this, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing your milk went to a good cause and you may be eligible for tax deductions.

The downside is that you will have to ship the milk, which could get expensive.

You can try contacting an organization like Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast in Massachusetts, which ships within the northeast region free of charge.

Purchase fresh or frozen baby food and mix with leftover breast milk for a nutritious meal

If you are comfortable with the idea of switching your baby to solid foods (it’s not for everyone.), you can mix leftover breast milk with fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, beans, and rice cereal.

This is a great way to get partial nutrition out of that bag of frozen breast milk that’s been sitting in your freezer.

The advantages of this method are that you get to use up your frozen milk while introducing your baby to new foods.

The biggest disadvantage is that it takes some work (and some extra money) to purchase food for mixing with leftover breast milk.

How long is frozen breast milk good for?

You can safely keep it in the freezer for 6 to 12 months.

After 6 months, you should start rotating it with new milk so that you always have some recent milk on hand. (source)

How do you defrost breast milk from the freezer?

The safest, most effective way to defrost is by immersing the container in a bowl of warm water.

Be sure to check frequently so that it doesn’t take longer than necessary.

Alternatively, you can put the bottle under hot running tap water for about 10 minutes, being careful not to allow too much water into the container.

You can also defrost it in the fridge overnight or on the counter for 2 to 3 hours, but the thawed milk will be warm and not as fresh and nutritious. (source)

Is frozen breast milk still healthy?

Yes.

You can safely freeze your breast milk until it expires.

Once frozen, it is still full of the vitamins, minerals, and antibodies that are so beneficial for your baby.

It just doesn’t have quite as many of these helpful ingredients as fresh, recently pumped breast milk. (source)

Can I put breast milk from the fridge to the freezer?

You can, but there are two problems with this.

First of all, the milk in the fridge is largely safe because it’s pasteurized; however, breast milk in the freezer has gone through no such treatment and could become contaminated when taken out of the cold.

The second issue with putting the milk from the fridge to the freezer is that it takes longer to freeze.

Frozen milk is less nutritious than fresh, recently pumped one because the nutrients are lost when it thaws and refreezes. (source)

Can babies drink cold breast milk?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that it is safe to serve cold breast milk to babies because the pasteurization process has eliminated any bacteria that might have been present. (source)

However, research also suggests that children become more susceptible to infections when they drink cold breast milk.

This makes young babies especially at risk for getting an ear infection or a respiratory illness. (source)

How will I know if breast milk is spoiled?

what to do with leftover frozen breast milk

The most obvious sign that your milk has spoiled is an off taste or smell.

However, it’s important to remember that there are other signs as well.

For instance, if you notice any clumps in the milk, this is a sign of spoilage.

Additionally, you should avoid feeding your baby milk that looks thin or watery or has any visible mold or particles in it. (source)

Can thawed breast milk go back in the fridge?

It’s best to use the thawed milk as soon as possible.

However, if you’re pressed for time, it is acceptable to put the defrosted milk back in the refrigerator for a day or two.

You should not refreeze it after this point because it has been thawed and refrozen once before going bad. (source)

When can I start frozen breast milk?

It is safe to serve frozen breast milk to babies because the pasteurization process has eliminated any bacteria.

However, research suggests that children become more susceptible to infections when they drink cold breast milk.

This makes young babies especially at risk for getting an ear infection or a respiratory illness.

Does frozen breast milk help a sick baby?

When a baby is sick, it’s important to get them the nutrients that they need.

At this point, it can be a lifesaver for many moms because it contains immunoglobulins and antibodies that babies don’t receive when they drink breast milk from the tap rather than the bottle. (source)

Can you mix different days of frozen breast milk?

If your baby is exclusively drinking frozen breast milk and you’re running low on supply, it’s okay to mix two different bags together.

However, the AAP suggests that if this is an issue for you, purchasing a machine that automatically stores and thaws your breast milk may be helpful. (source)

Can you store breast milk in bottles with nipples?

It is safe to store in bottles with nipples, so if this is your preference, you do not have to transfer the milk from a bottle meant for storing breast milk onto a bottle meant exclusively for serving it.

However, some healthcare professionals suggest that storing the milk in a bag and then pouring it into a bottle prior to feeding may be a better idea because it allows you to use all of your milk.

Before this technique became popular, many people would only store the milk in bottles for relatively short periods of time.

However, with this new trick, mothers can extend their freezer stash and feed more breast milk to their babies without wasting any leftovers. (source)

What happens if a baby drinks spoiled breast milk?

When a baby drinks spoiled breast milk, he or she can become ill.

It usually has an off taste or smell and contains mold or particles you wouldn’t expect to see in fresh milk.

If you notice these signs, it’s imperative that you throw away the bad batch of milk immediately so your child doesn’t get sick. (source)

Conclusion

If you’re looking for ways to use up all of that extra frozen breast milk, consider one of the 3 methods I’ve outlined.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so choose what works best for you and your baby.

And always consult with your pediatrician before making any changes to your baby’s diet.

Happy freezing.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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