Ever wonder what to do with leftover breast milk?
Breastmilk is amazing as it has all the ideal nutrients for a baby’s needs. Its “unique composition of nutrients, enzymes, growth factors, hormones, and immunological and anti-inflammatory properties reduce the risk of a wide range of illnesses for a child well beyond infancy,” according to Science Direct. Breastfeeding helps to protect your baby in many ways and is therefore known as liquid gold, thanks to all of its benefits.
As you embark on your breastfeeding journey, you’ll need to pump and store breastmilk to ensure your little one always has it ready. Using a breast pump makes things easier, but learning to prepare and store milk is hard work, especially in the beginning. But allows us a bit more freedom in the long run.
What to do with leftover breastmilk
Some important notes about breastmilk
The CDC guidelines can be used to understand the best way to prepare and store breast milk on the countertop, refrigerator, or deep freezer and at different temperatures.
One of the most important general guidelines the CDC gives is to “never store breast milk in disposable bottle liners or plastic bags that are not intended for storing breast milk.” A proper storage container should always be used.
Wondering, “What to do with leftover breast milk?”, Try my favorite breastmilk storage containers
- Silicone Breastmilk Storage (Eco-friendly/BPA Free)
- Nulie Plastic Breastmilk Storage Bags (BPA Free/Pour Spout make it easy to make bottles)
As busy breastfeeding moms, we don’t have time to waste milk. However, once you thaw frozen milk, the baby doesn’t finish their bottle; what can be done? If you consult a lactation consultant, they will encourage you to feed the baby using a fresh bottle of breast milk, then put the milk back in the fridge and use it for the second feeding.
That second feeding should be within the next 2 hours.
If the milk is still left over after the second time, it can’t be given to the baby again. This remaining milk can get bacterial contamination from the baby’s mouth, which can enter the baby’s bottle as they feed.
*However, despite anything you read here, please remember to check with the CDC first for best practices.
What to do with leftover breast milk
On top of being unable to use the rest of the breastmilk that was pumped, other reasons for having leftover breastmilk are that the milk expires, and now you don’t know what to do with it, or you accidentally thaw too much milk. This often happens when my daughter sleeps longer throughout the night than usual.
Ideally, breast milk should be saved in smaller amounts, but you could be weaning and still have a freezer stash of milk. And that milk will no longer be safe for human consumption.
So, if it’s not good for the baby, what are some creative ways you can use the extra milk? Today, we have a few ideas for you to try out using your breast milk. All of these are safe, but if you have any questions, consult a professional or your pediatrician.
24 Ideas For What to Do with leftover breast milk
It’s hard enough being a mom to a little while figuring out what to do with outgrowing clothes, piles of shoes, and poop consistency. Factor in nursing an infant and tracking breastfeeding rules- it’s almost impossible to manage. So, let’s not feel any worse than we already do when we “waste” milk for whatever reason (sometimes they just want the comfort of the boob, and that’s okay). Try these tips to put that leftover milk to good use.
1. Make a healthy and fun breast milk bath
Got a baby with dry skin or even eczema?
If you’ve got too much milk that you’re now thinking of throwing away, you can add it to your baby’s bathwater. Add it until the water becomes a milky, cloudy solution. It’s safe and healthy for the baby’s skin and keeps it moisturized.
2. What to do with leftover Breast milk? Make Breast milk ice-cream.
On a hot summer day when everyone is having ice cream, your baby doesn’t have to be left behind. Use stored breastmilk to make delicious and nutritious homemade ice cream for them while avoiding cow’s milk and refined sugar.
Try this easy recipe without any sugar, and your baby will be just as excited to have their tasty treat. You can use it to soothe baby’s teething gums too.
*Pro tip: breastmilk popsicles are great teething hacks for soothing babies irritated gums.
3. If you’re wondering what to do with leftover breastmilk, Make a breast milk lotion.
More genius eczema hacks. Use undrinkable breast milk to help calm your baby’s eczema. How cool is that? You can make your own breast milk lotion using beeswax, shea butter (my favorite), and a fresh-smelling essential oil like lavender or coconut oil.
The lotion will help moisturize your baby’s dry skin and lasts up to 3 months. The breastmilk lotion can be used to smooth wrinkles and stretch marks. So, you can even save on getting those anti-aging products.
The whole family can use this lotion to moisturize their skin.
4. Add your liquid gold to solid food
When your baby starts eating solid food like cereals, fruits, or vegetables, they can be fussy because they’re not used to it. Adding your breast milk which they’re familiar with, to new food will help them accept it better.
The extra breastmilk liquid helps to loosen the consistency and makes it thin while still providing the nutrients your baby is used to getting.
The milk can be used cold or at room temperature. However, warming the milk made it more reminiscent of nursing and made my kiddos more likely to eat/drink it.
If you’d like to use warm breast milk to add to the baby’s cereal, don’t heat the milk on the stove or microwave, as you’ll lose the nutrients in breast milk. Rather run it under lukewarm water for a few minutes, then add it to the baby’s food.
One of the most important things to remember when adding breastmilk to baby purees is it must never be refrozen. So you need to use your fresh leftover breastmilk, and if you use the frozen one, use it once, then don’t refreeze the puree and use it again.
5. Breast milk smoothie
As moms, we must come up with creative ideas for feeding time. Instead of making your baby’s food the same way again and again, switch it up and try a smoothie. And you can add your breastmilk in there.
Put frozen or fresh breast milk with a fruit or vegetable puree into a blender and serve the smoothie to your baby cold or at room temperature.
6. Make breast milk popsicles
A teething baby is cranky and annoyed because they’re uncomfortable. You can keep their gums cool with a cold spoon or chilled teething ring. Another great idea you might not have thought of is using your leftover breastmilk to soothe your baby’s gums.
Simply take your fresh milk and put it in popsicle molds, then freeze and give it to your baby. You can mix the milk with a fruit or baby vegetable puree, freeze it, and use it to comfort your little one.
*Learn to make breast milk popsicles with the Honest Company
7. What to do with leftover Breast milk- Make Breast milk facials.
Breastmilk facials are actually a thing. In fact, it helped a lot with my newborn’s baby’s acne. Using an applicator brush, apply the undrinkable breastmilk to your face for about 5-10 minutes and let it dry a bit. Then use warm water to rinse off the milk gently.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised when your face starts to feel super soft, silky, and slippery.
8. Breast milk soap
If we can put goat milk in soap, we can certainly put human milk in soap. This soap is gentle enough for the baby’s sensitive skin. The soap can also be used by the entire family. Though something feels a little weird about that to me- but that’s just me.
You can add dried herbs, flowers, and essential oils to the breastmilk soap.
Breastmilk Soap Tools
9. Use it for minor cuts and bruises
Did you know that breastmilk is also a healing agent? When your baby gets minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises, you can use breast milk on the affected area and help soothe and heal your baby.
Works wonders for all of those little scratches that they give themselves with their sharp little nails. No matter how many times we cut them, they grow back with a vengeance and find ways to scratch themselves. A little breastmilk goes a long way on those pesky scapes.
10. Soothe baby’s diaper rash
A diaper rash can make life very uncomfortable for your baby. Instead of the old pump-and-dump breastfeeding tactic to rid your system of a nightcap, you can pump and apply your leftover breast milk on your baby’s bum. Let it air dry then put their diaper back on.
Researchers have concluded that your own breastmilk is just as safe and effective as hydrocortisone for treating baby diaper rashes.
11. Use it to treat ear infections
No need to worry about when to pump and dump as new studies show that a margarita with the girls, or a glass of wine on date night may not require wasting our milk. However, I’m a little skeptical of the “wait a few minutes, and the alcohol will be out of your system and out of your milk stream” method; therefore, I’m still pumping. But I want to avoid dumping hard-earned “liquid gold” down the toilet. So, as Ear infections are common in babies. I save the milk for things on this list. One is to fight off infections. Gently drop 2-4 drops of breast milk into the ear canal. You can do this 4-5 times a day.
12. For treating sore nipples
Sore nipples and breastfeeding pain can be quite discouraging, especially for new moms but remember it’s a temporary pain that will soon pass (After approximately two months). Gently rub a few drops of breast milk on cracked and sore nipples to help soothe the pain.
While nipple cream is helpful for cracked nipples, I maintain that breastmilk is even better- And free!
13. Treat the baby’s cradle cap
One of the uses of leftover breast milk is to treat your baby’s cradle cap. My daughter is proof that this works! Her scalp was scally, dry, and peeling- leaving icky flakes on everything she laid on. Using breastmilk was magical. The extra milk can be added to the baby’s shampoo; use a cotton ball or mix the milk with water and use a bottle to splash it on your baby’s scalp.
Or, simply pour it over their scalp as conditioner (I used slightly warm milk) after a bath and hair wash. Then, rinse gently with water.
14. Treat sunburn with leftover milk
The natural antibodies in your human milk have a cooling effect, which is what you need when you get sunburn. Chilled breast milk can be gently rubbed on the affected area so you get the relief and healing you need.
15. Baby and Teenage acne
Who knew that the antibacterial properties of your liquid gold could be used to treat and clear up acne?
If your baby has acne, simply apply warm water to their face then gently rub in breast milk with your fingers. You can also soak the milk in a cotton ball, gently pat the face with it, and let it dry.
This is a natural and free way to clear your baby’s or teenager’s acne.
16. Use breastmilk to heal from insect bites
Whether it’s a mosquito or fly bite, insect bites can be a nuisance. Instead of treating them with expensive creams, you can simply apply your breast milk to the affected area and help ease the pain and itchiness.
17. Treat Conjunctivitis
Breast milk can be used to treat conjunctivitis. If your baby gets conjunctivitis or pink eye, drops of your own breast milk can be an effective treatment. Please check with the doctor first if this is something you’re unsure or uncomfortable with.
18. Clear clogged tear ducts
Teary eyes and blocked tear ducts can make babies irritated. Using an eye dropper to put a few drops of your breastmilk into their eyes is a great option to help clear up the baby’s eyes.
19. Use for stuffy noses
When your baby’s nose is congested, breastmilk can work in the same way as saline drops. You can add a drop or two into your baby’s nose to loosen congestion and help your little one feel better.
20. Make a face exfoliant with breastmilk
If you have an excess milk supply, you can use it to exfoliate your face twice a week. Just mix the milk with fresh lemon juice and sugar and make a paste that you can gently put on your skin to remove dead cells and exfoliate.
21. Make a natural chapstick
Breastmilk makes an amazing natural moisturizer. If your baby or anyone in your family has dry, cracked, and chapped lips, you can use a chapstick container, add breast milk to it, and freeze to get a more solid solution. Then apply a few drops of your precious liquid gold to make your lips softer.
Cold sore, anyone? Pat some breastmilk on your lips and let it dry. You can repeat this as often as possible.
22. Use it to fertilize your plants
If you have a lot of milk, you can use it to make fertilizer for your plants. The proteins from breast milk make it a great food for your garden.
To make breastmilk plant fertilizer, mix 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds with 1 tablespoon of breast milk and 4 tablespoons of water, place it in a spray bottle, and you’ve got your own homemade fertilizer and saved some money while at it.
23. Consider breast milk donation
If you’ve got a lot of baby milk you produce, you’re privileged. Other moms struggle to produce breastmilk. So, the great idea is to donate the milk to breast milk banks close to you. You’d be making a big difference in a little one’s precious life.
24. Breast milk jewelry or keepsake
A fun and unique way to use your leftover breastmilk is by making a piece of jewelry. You can use this Milky Treasure DIY necklace kit with everything you need to make a beautiful keepsake for you and your baby.
This DIY Pendant Kit can also be used to make beautiful jewelry that you can use to commemorate your breastfeeding journey.
That’s more than 20 cool, fun, and free different ways to use your precious liquid mama. Next time you have leftover milk, don’t throw it away. Repurpose it with any of these leftover breast milk ideas.