What can you do with your precious liquid gold (aka breastmilk) when it expires in the fridge or freezer? If you’re anything like me, you certainly can’t bear to dump it down the drain! So, for all of the eco-crazy breastfeeding moms out there with a freezer full of breastmilk here are some general guidelines and ideas…
Breastmilk Storage Guidelines (How to know if your breaskmilk is expired)
Source: La Leche League
Preferably, human milk should be refrigerated or chilled right after it is expressed. Acceptable guidelines for storing human milk are as follows…
- At room temperature (66-78°F, 19-26°C) for 4 hours (ideal), up to 6 hours (acceptable) (Some sources use 8 hours)
- In a refrigerator (<39°F, <4°C) for 72 hours (ideal), up to 8 days (acceptable if collected in a very clean, careful way)
- In a freezer (-0.4 to -4°F, -18 to -20°C) for 6 months (ideal) up to 12 months (acceptable, ideal if in a deep freezer)
But what can you do if your precious breastmilk doesn’t meet the proper guidelines, and has (gasp!) expired?
Thankfully, there are some options to keep your liquid gold from going to waste…
- Eye infections / Conjuctivitis (“Pink Eye”): Squirt into the eye. Do this as frequently as possible until healed. If the baby/child doesn’t allow you to squirt breastmilk into his eye, then do it while they are sleeping. Squirt around the crease of closed eyes, then gently lift the lids to allow the breastmilk to seep into the eye.
- Sore/cracked nipples: Rub into nipples after feedings and air dry.
- Scratches/Scrapes/Cuts: Squirt & clean wound first with the breastmilk; then apply some more on wound and air dry.
- Mosquito bites / Ant bites: Squirt on bite and rub in. Helps to stop the itching.
- Ear infections: Squirt or pour into sore ear
- Acne / Eczema /Diaper Rash: Wash skin with water, then apply breastmilk all over. Air Dry.
- Facial Cleanser: Apply breastmilk on face & wipe clean. Great even for removing eye-makeup!
- Stuffy noses: Squirt into nose and suction or squeeze out as you would with saline.
- Mother’s Milk Soap: Click here for recipe!
- Milk Bath: Add to bath for skin soothing benefits.
- Plant Food: Even expired breaskmilk is full of valuable nutrients, so use it to water the plants!
- Doggie Treat: Before I knew of all of the wonderful solutions above, I once gave some expired breastmilk to our dog- she loved it!
Of course the best option is not letting your milk expire. If you have good breastmilk stored that you know you wont be able to use, consider donating it to a mama and baby in need! Eats On Feets has chapters all over the world that can help connect you with a family who is in desperate need of donor milk for their little one! And since it’s World Milk Sharing Week, the timing couldn’t be better!
What do you do with your expired breastmilk? Have you ever donated good breastmilk to a mama and baby in need? Please leave a comment and share!Terri
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