How to tell if breastmilk is bad

As a breastfeeding mom, we have to agree there is nothing worse than milk that had gone bad way before than you had anticipated. Breastmilk is referred to as liquid gold, so why would you want to see a whole 4 ounces of milk poured down your sink just because it has gone bad. Luckily we can overcome such situations by learning how to tell if breastmilk is bad ahead of time, saving you the agony of pouring out bottles down the drain.

Remember this is liquid gold you are pumping, thus needs a little more care. It is not like cow’s milk where you can leave it out for a few hours or keeping it in the fridge a few days longer than it should. Many lactation consultants advise fresh breast milk should not be left out at room temperature longer than 4 – 6 hours.

The refrigerated milk should not stay longer than the stipulated eight days, as this is the absolute maximum. After the maximum, you could freeze it or use it immediately; I mean she will get hungry eventually, so why not warm it up and feed her.

Find out how to tell if breastmilk is bad.

Breastmilk is considered liquid gold due to the nutrients and goodness it is packed with, and feeding your child this liquid gold is the best thing you can do for the first few months of her life. Not only does it offer your little one the best nutrients it also affects your body, by helping you shed the baby weight and much more. As a result, it is important to know if what you are feeding is fresh and good for consumption.

It is essential to learn how to tell if the breastmilk you’re about to feed your baby is bad, no need to play this guessing game with the precious commodity.

1. The smell will not be that pleasant.

For spoiled breast milk, it has a similar smell to spoiled cow’s milk, so if there is a foul odor from the milk, then yes, mama, it is spoiled. Since it is a sniffing game, you might find the milk smelling metallic or a little soapy; as wired as it may be, this milk is not spoilt. It is just an indicator that the milk has high enzyme lipase levels; it is produced by some mothers and has not been found to be harmful to your baby.

2. When you swirl it, it doesn’t mix.

Once your pumped milk has rested undisturbed, you will notice it separates the fatty and non-fatty milk. If the milk is fresh, when swirled slightly, the milk should mix, but if it doesn’t mix or you notice a few chunks swimming around and not mixing, then this milk has gone bad.

3. It has been in the refrigerator for more than three days

Breast milk can stay fresh in your refrigerator for 3 – 5 days, but this depends on a few factors. That is the temperature and the location you have stored the milk in your fridge. To extend your breast milk’s freshness, ensure you store it at the heart of your fridge, avoid storing it at the door as the temperature fluctuates.

4. Sealing could be a problem.

Just like any product, we aim to extend its freshness; if it is not properly sealed, it increases the chances of spoiling your milk earlier than anticipated. Try using a hard plastic container or in bags that have been designed to store breast milk for extended periods. This will reduce the chances of having your breastmilk contaminated.

5. Has a sour taste

This has to be the easiest way to tell if milk has gone bad. Spoiled breast milk will taste sour, just like spoiled cow’s milk. So if you are tasting something off in the breast milk, then it is time to pour the liquid gold down that drain.

6. The color of the milk

Another quick indicator of the freshness of breast milk is the color. It gets a shade darker for spoilt milk compared to how it was when you pumped it. If the color is also looking a little different, this is also a sign; it isn’t good. A taste test would confirm this.

How about the frozen breast milk?

If you are the freezer kind of girl, then your milk can store for a long period. When frozen, the milk stays fresh for up to 6 months. And if the conditions allow, it can stay up to 9 months. Just ensure you properly date the milk to help keep track of how long it has been freezing.

But there are a few ways you can check if your frozen milk is still fresh.

– The first thing to do is defrost the milk, put it in the refrigerator for 12 hours; if this is too long, put it in a bowl of warm water to get it back to its liquid form.

– Once defrosted, you can go through the checks discussed above; this is the color, taste, consistency, smell.

– Refrigerated milk and its frozen counterpart will react differently when spoilt, especially the color. For frozen milk, it gets much lighter as opposed to getting darker. Thus it might look whiter than it should be. But by performing the other tests, you should be able to quickly determine if the milk is spoilt.

Final thoughts

How to tell if breastmilk is bad is much easier than you think. The main things you will need to look out for are the smell of the milk if it tastes sour, the color of the milk, and the consistency. Like any milk we purchase from the store, breastmilk is also prone to contamination leading it to go bad. We want to feed our precious angels nothing but the best liquid gold can offer, thus, we need to be attentive to the milk we feed them.

However, a general rule that you should follow, if your sixth sense is saying there is something wrong with the breastmilk, then consider not giving the breastmilk. Your mummy instincts are Queen at keeping your little one healthy.

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