Have you ever wondered what’s actually in breast milk and why so many people call it “liquid gold?” Or why are there so many recipes and suggested uses for expired milk as opposed to just dumping it down the drain? Personally, I do not save my 2% chocolate milk if I do not finish the entire glass; I dump it before it expires and become chunky! But if my husband even thinks about touching the bags of expired milk in the freezer, he knows that he will be spending several nights sleeping on the couch. So really, what’s so special about breast milk and what should I do if mine expires before my baby is able to consume the milk?
As a mom, I know – every ounce matters and every moment should be cherished as time passes way too quickly. The minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and even years (you go girl!) of breastfeeding/pumping for your baby have not gone unnoticed. A woman spends, on average, 1,800 hours breastfeeding in a year – a full time job (with 3 weeks paid vacation) is 1,960 hours! Breastfeeding is a big commitment that requires time, focus, and effort. So of course, you’re going to be a mama bear around the precious liquid gold that your body is producing. Obviously, at the moment your thoughts are focused on feeding your baby with every drop. But, have you ever had thoughts of what to do if the milk expires before you can use it? Now that the thought has crossed your mind, keep reading on to learn about different uses for your milk that you can use and cherish for years to come!
Research has shown that breast milk has a multitude of benefits for both baby and mom. Your body is magical and will know how and when to alter your milk’s composition to keep up with your baby’s ever-changing needs. During any given feed, your milk is made up of so many different components including live cells, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antibodies and so much more. What does this even mean? This means that your body is constantly changing and producing elements that cannot be replicated. Research suggests that breastfeeding can:
- Lower baby’s risk of certain illnesses
- Create antibodies if baby is sick
- Transfer antibodies for baby if mom is sick
- Help mom recover more quickly from childbirth
- Reduce mom’s risk for high blood pressure
- Reduce mom’s risk for cancer
- And more…
I know first-hand, feedings come in waves. I remember the days when I thought, “how are you still hungry?! you ate literally 10 minutes ago!” As this persisted for several days during a growth spurt, low and behold, engorgement soon followed and my body thought it needed to produce so much more milk. And on the flip side, when solids are introduced and your little one can go longer between feeds, milk production begins to change. Or how about the babes that say, “no thanks, I didn’t order this flavor milk today, I’ll try again tomorrow when you have the flavor I like on tap” and now they’re on a complete strike from drinking any of the milk you pumped. While your body adjusts to these new demands, the milk continues to pile up and expires more quickly than you realize. Weaning is an emotional, physical, and mental journey all on its own — so bringing it back to the pile-up of milk…
You can’t possibly give the previously mentioned expired milk to your babe. And pouring it down the drain is out of the question because that’s just too painful to even think about… With all of this in mind, and remembering how much you put into each feeding session, why not celebrate (and use) every drop of milk?
The Milk I was Saving Expired, Now What?
You’ll be happy to hear that there are a variety of uses for expired milk/milk that you cannot use so all that liquid gold doesn’t go to waste! While some uses may be ‘unconventional,’ they all have the potential to capture this special moment in time.
- Soap – As breast milk has components that offer protection against infection (think antibodies, vitamins, antioxidants), breast milk soap can be made and used to soothe various skin issues. These skin issues can include, but are not limited to, diaper rash and eczema. *Do not use this in place of medical advice or treatment; always consult a health professional if a medical concern arises*
- Melt and pour soap base (1 pound can make up to 8 bars of soap)
- A silicone mold of your choosing
- 5 ounces of defrosted (room temp.) breastmilk
- A microwave safe bowl or a double boiler
- A rubber spatula
- Essential oil/scents and color as desired (follow dilution instructions of brand chosen)
- Defrost breast milk or let refrigerated milk come to room temperature.
- Chop the ‘melt and pour’ soap into 1-inch cubes
- Melt the soap.
a. If you choose to use a double boiler on the stove, stir continuously and gently. If bubbles form, you will get foam on the top of the soap that will be difficult to remove.
b. You can use a microwave. Melt the cubes in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals After every 30 second interval, gently stir, and continue melting this way until the soap is completely melted and smooth (think about melting chocolate)
- Once completely melted, add your milk. Stir gently until completely mixed and smooth.
- Add any extras (essential oil or colors) in desired amounts.
- Pour into your molds and set. Be sure to place your molds on something flat and hard (like a cookie sheet)
- Allow to set. Set for about an hour in the fridge in the molds and then take out of the molds to ‘dry.’ Leave the soap in the fridge to ‘dry out’ for a few days.
Quick links to the exact ingredients we used:
Click here for all ingredients
2. Lotion – Breast milk lotion has similar benefits to breast milk soap as both are used topically. As breast milk has been shown to have healing and soothing qualities, why not cash in on these benefits with the stash you already have on hand. We call this a win-win!
- 2-3 ounces breastmilk
- 3-3.5ounces of grape seed oil
- 1 tablespoon of beeswax
- 3-5 drops of vitamin E oil
- 1-3 drops of essential oil (if desired-follow dilution instructions of brand chosen)
- Place your grapeseed oil and beeswax in a microwave safe bowl
- Heat grapeseed oil and beeswax together in the microwave, on low, until the beeswax melts.
- Once the beeswax melts, add vitamin E oil
- Slowly pour your breastmilk into the oil and beeswax mixture, while quickly whisking the mixture.
- Let stand to cool – the mixture will thicken as it cools
*Breast milk lotion should be stored in a cool, dry place. Beeswax may discolor if left in a brightly lit area.
Quick links to the exact ingredients we used:
- Breast Milk Jewelry – Something you probably have not thought of and maybe don’t know much about. Keep reading on to learn more about this unique, special option!
What is breast milk jewelry?
*In photo (from left to right): Infinite Love Drop, Majestic Ring Set, Heirloom Ring, Love Drop with Side Stones
What exactly is breastmilk jewelry? Do I dip my earrings in a bottle of milk? Or do I wear a storage bag on a chain? Not quite. Breast milk jewelry is a unique piece of jewelry custom made with your own expressed milk through a special preservation process. The jewelry can contain other DNA inclusions or sparkles for extra flair. This incredible customized piece is a reminder of your unique journey through motherhood and to honor all of your hard work and hours dedicated to pumping!
Mamma’s Liquid Love – Mama Owned and Run.
“Whether it’s your first ounce, or last ounce, at Mamma’s Liquid Love we are here to help you commemorate your breastfeeding journey.”
Your feeding journey is/was a crucial time in your life; one where you literally poured hours of your life and love into someone so special. Not only is breast milk beneficial in its nutritional value, but it is also beautiful in what it symbolizes. You deserve a special keepsake to symbolize what your body was able to do for you and your baby; a piece to cherish for when your once infant is no longer a baby ❤ ️.
Mamma’s Liquid Love (www.mammasliquidlove.com) is a mama owned and operated business that creates unique breast milk jewelry keepsakes for you to commemorate this huge achievement. With over 125 pieces to choose from, you can customize your piece to match your journey.
*In photo: You Are My Sunshine Cufflinks, Mom Necklace, Daughter Necklace
“…I gave my donor a breast milk necklace and she cried tears of joy upon receiving it.” The founder of Mamma’s Liquid Love, Ann Marie, is a mom of 3 and has been on her own journey of breastfeeding each of her kids. Mamma’s Liquid Love was born when Ann Marie needed help from a milk donor with her second child. To show her deep gratitude and appreciation for the support and nutrition for her baby, she wanted to create a special piece of jewelry that preserved her (the donor’s) breast milk. As a pharmacist by trade, Ann Marie has a deep understanding of chemical interactions and compounds. With that, she has perfected a proprietary mixture that will preserve your liquid gold (and other DNA inclusion) for generations. From that day on, Ann Marie passionately continues to spread joy and by preserving memories of mama’s at every stage of their journey.
“I got the love drop ring. To me it represents both a milk drop that nourishes my babies and my love for them, but also a teardrop to represent the sacrifice, dedication, and challenges. It’s the perfect representation of breastfeeding for me…” – Jeannine M.
How can I customize my own piece?
Hop on over to Mamma’s Liquid Love (www.mammasliquidlove.com) and browse through the catalog of options. Once you decide on your piece and place your order, you will receive detailed instructions on how to safely send the milk and inclusions. I know, your next thought is that you don’t have enough milk to get the piece you want. Here’s a little secret…you don’t need to have a freezer stash to order some jewelry! If you have thoughts of preserving an inclusion that is not listed, reach out to the Mamma’s Liquid Love team – they’re real people who are willing and eager to answer all of your questions!
“I am so in love with this ring. I’m still breastfeeding but I know especially once I wean this is going to be even more special as a memorable keepsake from this time of my life. The birthstone in it adds a pop of color and makes it even more beautiful and special. I wear it with my wedding rings and love how it looks as a stack” – Kelly C.
Maybe you want to pick out and order your own necklace. Or maybe… you want to drop hints to your partner with your ring size and tape a note to a bag of frozen milk with the Mamma’s Liquid Love website for a future anniversary gift (hint hint). Some women may want to surprise their partner with customized breastmilk cufflinks! Whether you have milk from one baby or four, there’s a piece that can be made for you! You are amazing and your body has done amazing things! Start customizing jewelry that celebrates you and your journey, mama! ❤️
Use the code: PUMPINMAMMA for 10% off your Mamma’s Liquid Love purchase