If you find yourself in the position where you have bountiful bags of milk stashed in your freezer and you don’t know what to do with it, I’d like to suggest some creative ideas on how you can use that milk.
Before you begin, identify the age of the milk and make sure to use the oldest milk first.
Milk storage guidelines, according to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, state that milk can be in a freezer at 0*F (-18*C) and still be safely used from 6 months (optimal) to 12 months (acceptable).
If you’ve not checked the temperature of your freezer in awhile, now would be a good time to do so. If you have more questions about proper human milk storage for home use with full-term infants, you can reference: ABM Clinical Protocol #8
Note: these are suggestions for what to do with extra milk above and beyond your baby’s daily average intake.
Before Expiration Date, Defrosted
(Use all defrosted breastmilk within 24 hours)
- Give it in a cup to practice a new skill
- For babies 6 months and older, put it in baby food; consider it a natural sweetner. Maybe your baby will finally eat that one food they have consistently refused!
- Let them experiment with their first bowl of milk & cereal (for ages 6 months +); make it a fun event and have a bowl yourself to model your expert cereal-eating skills
- Use it topically on a boo-boo for conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, or rashes
- Give it via a cup to your other children
- Make some yummy ice cream, milkshakes, or yogurt that your child(ren) will love!
Before Expiration Date, Still Frozen
- Defrost it (in the proper amount needed) and use it per suggestions listed above
- Freeze it ahead of time in popsicle or ice cube trays to place inside a mesh bag to soothe teething pain
- Donate it to a local not-for-profit milk bank (www.hmbana.org)
- Responsibly share it as a free gift (http://www.eatsonfeetsresource.org/) (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3151205/)
After the Expiration Date
(At this time, there are no studies demonstrating the quality of breastmilk after 6-12 months of freezing.)
- Get crafty and make some Mother’s Milk Soap or Lotion
- Make your baby’s 1st birthday cake, cupcakes, or muffins with your milk (your guests will probably appreciate this special cake to be just for the baby!)
- If close enough to the expiration date, make some cheese that any kiddo would love (and be able to easily digest)!
- Use them as mini-ice packs for those inevitable bumps and bruises
- Send in a sample and have a jewelry memento made to remind you of this special season of life or a personal milestone achieved
- Give it as a special treat to your pets
- For those green thumbs out there, create a diluted mixture using your milk as a plant fertilizer (you’ll have to consult a fellow green thumb or the internet for that one!) or use it in your compost
Have you tried any of these ideas yourself? What other creative ways can you use your extra breastmilk? Please share some fresh ideas with us!