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15 Clever Ideas For What To Do With Leftover Breast Milk

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Here are 15 clever ideas for what to do with leftover breast milk, plus genius breast pumping tips and essentials for new moms!

Starting a breastfeeding journey isn’t easy for the first time mom.

And it’s even more complex for moms who plan to pump, too!

You’ll have to create a good feeding and pumping schedule around your baby’s sleeping and waking hours. You’ll need to master the ends and outs of your chosen breast pump.

And if you’re blessed with extra breast milk, you’ll have to learn proper storage techniques so your milk doesn’t go bad.

Additionally, some mothers run into the problem of producing too much milk!

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to use leftover milk besides feeding it to your baby.

Below, we’re sharing 15 creative ideas to use up excess breast milk that benefit both mom and baby, the best ways to store leftover milk, and tips for moms who want to increase their supply!

RELATED: How to Scald High Lipase Breast Milk

How long does leftover breast milk last?

Breastmilk storage bags in freezer.

Before we discuss what to do with leftover breast milk, It’s important to understand how long breast milk lasts.

New moms should know exactly how long their breast milk will last in multiple scenarios to ensure their baby’s safety.

According to CDC guidelines, fresh milk can be stored:

  • At room temperature for up to 4 hours.
  • In the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • In the freezer for up to 12 months. But, it’s best to use frozen breast milk within 6 months.

And here’s a handy chart from the CDC.

After 4 hours, warm breast milk is susceptible to harmful bacteria growth. So, you’ll need to throw it out once it’s past that mark.

If you know you aren’t going to use your breast milk within 4 hours, store it according to the breast milk storage guidelines, below.

NOTE: If your baby starts a bottle and doesn’t finish it, you’ll need to use the rest of the milk within 2 hours or discard it.

How To Store Leftover Breast Milk

There are several different products that are safe for storing breast milk. But, the best option for leftover breast milk is an airtight storage container made of hard plastic (food-grade polypropylene or polybutylene) or glass.

The second best option is storage bags that are specifically made for human milk.

Good Practices to Follow:

  • If you’re not planning to use leftover milk within 4 days, you should freeze it as soon as possible.
  • Try to freeze your milk in smaller portions so you only have to thaw what you need.
  • Once thawed, you should use your breastmilk as soon as possible and within 24 hours.
  • You should never refreeze thawed milk.
  • Always check to make sure your bags or containers are fully sealed.
  • Don’t store breast milk in the door of your refrigerator or freezer. The coldest spot will be towards the back near the wall. However, if you have a self-defrosting freezer, don’t place any breast milk directly against the wall.
  • Make sure your freezer is cold enough. If it doesn’t keep ice cream hard, you should make adjustments.

What to Do With Leftover Breastmilk

Woman uses breast pump to reduce how long it takes to refill her milk supply.

Here are 15 creative ways to use leftover breast milk. A mother’s milk has amazing properties, especially for healing.

You’ll be surprised by all it can do!

1. Save it for your next feeding.

Of course, you can always save breast milk for your next feeding. This is kind of a given. But, it’s important for new moms to know!

Just be sure you use a partially finished bottle within 2 hours!

2. Make breast milk lotion.

You can use breast milk to make lotion! You’ll only need a few minutes and a handful of ingredients like beeswax, grapeseed oil, and optional essential oils.

Here’s an easy breast milk lotion recipe to get you started.

Homemade breast milk lotion lasts for 3 months!

3. Use it to help clear a diaper rash.

Newborn baby cries while getting diaper changed due to painful diaper rash.

A mother’s milk can be just as effective as hydrocortisone for treating diaper rashes!

Simply apply a few drops to your baby’s skin, and, let it dry before putting on a new diaper.

RELATED: How To Prevent Diaper Rash

4. Mix it in with solid food.

You can incorporate leftover breast milk into your baby’s solid food.

You can mix expressed milk with fruit and vegetables in homemade purees. Or, you can use it for the liquid in baby cereals.

Just make sure your baby is fully ready for solid foods before you try one of these ideas.

RELATED: When is it safe for babies to eat cheerios?

5. Dab it on insect bites.

The anti-inflammatory properties of breast milk make it a great treatment for insect bites. It can soothe the bite and also reduce swelling at the site.

Simply dab a little bit of milk on the bite and let it dry.

6. Use it to treat ear infections.

Breast milk is not only anti-inflammatory, it also has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Because of this, it may help to treat ear infections.

To use breast milk in the ear, simply place a few small drops in the canal.

7. Use it to treat minor cuts and scrapes.

For the same reasons as above, you can also use leftover breast milk to treat minor cuts and scrapes.

Simply dab the site with a few drops of breast milk and let it dry.

8. Spritz it on your baby’s head to treat cradle cap.

Close up of a baby's scalp with wispy brown hair and cradle cap.

Leftover breast milk is also a great remedy for cradle cap.

Here’s how to use it:

Gently remove the flaky skin from your baby’s head with a warm rag and/or a soft-bristled brush. Add water and enough breast milk to create a cloudy solution in a spray bottle.

Then, lightly spritz the top of your baby’s head and let dry.

9. Use it to soothe sunburns.

If your baby (or you) happens to get a sunburn, you can use the same milk and water solution from above to treat the affected area.

Just spray and let dry!

10. Mix it with oils to make breast milk soap.

Leftover breast milk makes an incredibly hydrating and nourishing soup. However, it’s a much more involved process than lotion. And it will take 4-6 weeks to cure.

If you’re up for the challenge, you can follow these soap-making instructions.

11. Use it to heal and protect sore nipples.

Breastfeeding and pumping take a toll on a mother’s nipples. Luckily, breast milk can help sore and cracked nipples heal more quickly.

Hand express of few drops of breast milk and let it sit on your nipples to dry.

RELATED: What Lipstick Nipple Latch is and 11 Ways to Fix it

12. Pour it into warm water for breast milk baths.

A smiling baby in a small round tub filled with breast milk bath water.

Breast milk baths are a popular photography trend. And, they’re also great for soothing and healing a baby’s skin.

Breast milk baths can soothe baby eczema, baby rashes, and nourish delicate dry skin.

To create a breast milk bath, add enough breast milk to warm water to turn it cloudy, then let your baby enjoy!

13. Put it in popsicle molds to help with teething.

Breast milk popsicles are great for a teething baby.

All you need are popsicle molds, breast milk, and diced fruit if desired.

Once frozen, you can run the popsicles around your baby’s mouth to let the cold milk soothe their gums.

14. Donate it to breast milk banks.

You can also donate leftover breast milk. It’s a great way to help moms who can’t produce their own milk.

However, formal breast milk donation has several strict rules you’ll need to follow and a screening process that you’ll have to pass.

The requirements are mostly lifestyle and health-related, so most moms won’t have a problem.

You can find a milk bank and details on how to donate at the Human Milk Banking Association of America.

Or, reach out to your local hospital.

15. Use it to create a piece of jewelry.

Gold and white butterfly necklace charm next to brown twigs with leaves.

Finally, and maybe surprisingly, you can also use leftover breast milk to make jewelry! You can search online to find a business that offers this service or purchase from an Etsy shop.

Who knew you could create a beautiful keepsake all from your own breast milk!

Milk Supply and Pumping Tips

If you want to increase your stash of leftover breast milk or are struggling with a good supply, there are a few tips and tricks you can try.

Below, are the best methods to increase your milk supply:

  • If you’re an exclusively breastfeeding mom, try adding a pump to your routine. Breast milk works on supply and demand, so the more milk you express, the more milk your body will produce. After your baby feeds, try to hand express for 10 minutes or use a manual or electric pump.
  • If you’re breastfeeding and pumping or exclusively pumping, add more pumping sessions to increase demand.
  • When breastfeeding, make sure your baby has a proper latch. If you’re struggling with this, reach out to a lactation consultant or your baby’s pediatrician for help.
  • Your baby may not be able to remove enough milk at each feeding with a lip or tongue tie. So, double-check with your baby’s doctor to make sure these aren’t an issue.
  • Breastfeeding moms should drink at least 16 cups of water per day. So, make sure you’re getting plenty of water.
  • Try foods that increase milk supply like oats, flaxseeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek, lean meat/poultry, garlic, and lactation cookies.

Essentials for Pumping and Breastfeeding

Here are some pumping essentials and breastfeeding must-haves to make your journey easier:


Can I save leftover breast milk for the next feeding?

You can save freshly expressed breast milk that baby hasn’t touched at room temperature for up to 4 hours or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

If your baby drinks some of the breast milk but doesn’t finish it, you should use the rest of the partially consumed milk within 2 hours.

What can I do with leftover breast milk bags?

If you have clean, unused breast milk bags, you can use them like any regular resealable bag. Or, you can offer them to a fellow mom!

What can I do with frozen breast milk after 6 months?

Frozen breast milk is technically still okay to use for up to 12 months. But, if you’d rather not, you can use the milk in several different ways.

Here are some ideas:

– Use leftover milk to soothe insect bites, minor cuts, sunburns, diaper rash, and eczema
– Create a breast milk bath for your baby
– Mix leftover milk with solid foods
– Create breast milk soap or lotion
– Donate it to a mom in need

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Your Turn

Did we answer all your questions about what to do with leftover breast milk? Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!

Pinterest graphic with text and collage of leftover breast milk ideas.