Using Your Freezer Stash Before it Expires
Sometimes, a nursing mother finds herself with a large stash of breastmilk in the freezer, which was always comforting to me when I had one, knowing I had backup (and backups for my backups at times) if anything were to happen to my supply.
When your baby is weaning though, a large stash of stored breastmilk may become more of a stressor than a comfort. “What am I going to do with all of this liquid gold?” If you have found yourself in this (enviable to many) position, there are lots of great options.
- Donate it! The National Milk Bank collects milk to be made into 100 percent human milk feeding products for premature infants nationwide. Milk through this program is screened and pasteurized. There are often milk donation volunteers in communities as well, that coordinate milk donation on a local level (though keep in mind, if you’re in need of breast milk donations, receiving them from a private individual comes with potential risks).
- If your child eats pureed foods, or smoothies, you can add thawed breastmilk to thin the purees or as the liquid in smoothies. You can stir it into hot and instant (baby) cereals as well, for an added nutritional punch.
- Make some of it into jewelry. You can make beads and pendants yourself out of your stored breastmilk using a kit, or search Etsy or your local mom boards for an artisan to make a peice of one-of-a-kind jewelry for you. Breastmilk-derived jewelry gives you a small and lasting memento of the time you spent breastfeeding for years to come.
- Make it into a lotion or salve. These homemade concoctions are considered especially beneficial to sufferers of eczema, psoriasis, and as a mild antibacterial element useful for burns and very dry skin. Keep in mind, homemade lotions often need to be refrigerated. Read the instructions on the recipe you use carefully.
- Diaper rash, pink eye and ear infection remedy. You may already know this, but many people find breastmilk to be beneficial to each of these ailments (used straight, no mixing needed).
Keep in mind, when stored breastmilk is going to be consumed, the recommended guidelines for how long milk is good for. Six months in the far back of the freezer as an average, and never re-freeze the milk.
Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home-mom to three little boys, and previously spent many, many hours of her life in various closets at work getting friendly with her trusty old breast pump.