How to Tell if Frozen Breast Milk is Bad

Feeding your baby a soured breast milk could harm them and make you feel really bad.

So knowing how to differentiate a good frozen breast milk from a bad one is important.

Generally, when you taste your frozen breast milk and it’s soured, then you know it’s bad. If it’s whitish in color and smells soapy, then it’s bad for your baby., .

There’s no limit to the importance of breast milk. Nursing moms know that breast milk is vital to their baby’s development.

Doctors and lactation consultants recommend that a baby breastfed for the first six months of her life before the introduction of formula. 

Breast milk is the ideal baby food for their overall well-being. Though breast milk is essential for baby development, it can be difficult for a new mom to breastfeed all the time the baby needs breast milk. 

Therefore there is a need for moms to pump the breast for breast milk and store for the baby.

Pumping would make it easy for the baby to get regular breast milk without affecting the moms’ daily activities too much.

Recently, more moms have come to acknowledge how essential beast pumps are to daily lives. Breast pumps are devices used to pump the breast to produce milk for the baby. 

There are several kinds of breast pumps in the market. The fluid after pumped is stored for the baby use later. The process involves freezing the milk.

in the market. The fluid after pumped is stored for the baby use later. The process involves freezing the milk.

Frozen milk can go bad while stored.

In this article, we are going to help you identify bad frozen breast milk. The signs you need to identify bad frozen breast milk explained below.

Signs That Indicate Your Frozen Breast Milk is Bad

When there are similarities between the two, breast milk is a lot different from ordinary dairy milk. The indications you can watch out for include taste, smell, appearance. 

Though it may sound easy, it can get a little difficult to identify bad frozen breast milk.

Here are the factors you can use to determine if the baby’s frozen breast milk is bad:

1). Taste of the milk

Taste your frozen breast milk to know if it has gone bad. The taste of your breast should become rancid or sour.

Any other taste is acceptable. If after storing your frozen breast milk and you discover the flavor has become sour or rancid.

Don’t give it to the baby because it has become unsafe. Aside from the sour or rancid taste, your frozen breast milk can have other flavors depending on certain factors.

We shall talk about these factors here. Food, medications, storage container used and the freezing process employed.

2). The smell of the frozen milk

The smell of the frozen breast milk is one of the common ways to identify frozen breast milk that has gone bad.

Changes in the smell of the breast milk are regular but, if you detect a sour milk smell, then the liquid is harmful to your baby.

The method of using scent to identify bad frozen milk may give inaccurate result because of the presence of the enzyme Lipase.

The Lipase breaks down fat.  The enzyme makes stored breast milk to smell soapy, which makes it look like the milk is bad.

Moms that have breast milk with a high concentration of the enzyme may think that the frozen breast milk is bad when it is safe for the baby’s consumption.

3). Observe the milk after pumping

If you take a good look at your breast milk after pumping session, you will see the fat and the water separated.

The fat will move up to the top of the container and the water at the bottom of the container. When breast milk is good, a simple shake will unify the fat and the water.

On the other hand, when the milk is bad, the fat and the water won’t come together.

Once you discover that the fat and the water don’t mix, then it is time to toss it because it is no longer suitable for your baby consumption. 

How to Store Your Breast milk Properly

It’s frustrating to discover the breast milk you worked so hard to pump has gone bad unexpectedly.

No mom wants to waste their precious breast milk and, that is why we want to help you prolong the usefulness of your frozen breast milk.

Proper storing your breast milk will stop it from going bad quickly. We will consider a few tips on how you can store your breast milk properly.

i). Use the right containers for storage.

The kind of container used for storage can determine the safety of your breast milk.

Before expressing your breast milk, ensure you have a clean, capped glass( glass with a cap) or use a hard plastic container that is BPA-free.

BPA means bisphenol is a chemical added to the production of many commercial products such as plastics, baby bottles, and food containers.

The chemical is harmful to humans because of its ability to affect hormonal functions. Several activities in the human body are as a result of hormonal functions.

There are also specially designed bags for the storage of breast milk. We must warn you never to store breast milk in a storage container made for general use because these bags can tear easily, and that will lead to contamination of the breast milk.

Also, ensure that the lid is tight to avoid natural corruption of the stored fluid. 

ii). Use the older one first

When you freeze your breast milk and store them, use the older stored ones first before giving the new one to your baby.

We know it is easy to forget which one is older or more modern, that is why we suggest you label them. Use waterproof label inks to make each container with their respective date and time.

After marking the containers, ensure you place them inside the freezer or refrigerator.

Ensure that the part you set them has the coldest temperature. We suggest you should never put your frozen breast milk on the hand of the fridge where the temperature is mild.

The purpose of this suggestion is to help you prolong the lifespan of your breast milk. However, if you can’t get access to a refrigerator or freezer, place them in insulated container temporarily.

Note that breast milk is a liquid and liquids expand when they freeze, so don’t fill the bottle to the maximum capacity to avoid leakages.

iii). Do top-ups with care

You can add a freshly expressed breast milk to the one you stored earlier after your pumping session.

But, you should take care to make sure the fresh one is cooled before adding it. Use an ice pack if possible to make it cold before adding to the cold one you already have in the freezer of refrigerator.

Adding fresh breast milk to the old one without allowing it to cool would make the mixture thaw, and it will affect the longevity of the milk.

How Long You Should Keep Frozen Breast Milk?

The longevity of your frozen or stored breast milk is dependent on the method employed to store it.

Different ways have different safety periods. We shall consider a few ways here and explain their safety periods if you decide to use them.

I refer to this discussion as the rule of “six,” and you would find out soon enough why call it the practice of “six.”

1). Room storage

A freshly expressed breast milk left in a room is safe for six hours. We suggest that a different storage method use within the first four hours. To ensure the milk is ideal for consumption by the baby.

Irrespective of the temperature of the room, six hours is the typical lifespan of the milk.

2). Refrigerator

Storing your expressed breast milk in a fridge gives you six days of optimal condition.

However, if you notice signs of spoilage using the tips we spoke about earlier, you can freeze it to get additional time.

3). Freezer

Making use of a freezer to store breast milk gives you up to six months of optimal milk for your baby. The use of freezer is the safest method of storage.

4). Insulated coolers

The use of insulated coolers doesn’t follow the “six” pattern. Milk stored in insulated coolers is good for use within a day.

However, it is wise to add packed ice in the cooler.

Though the safe periods of each of these methods can increase beyond the stated time, I feel it is easier to remember the “six” rule for more natural remembrance while dealing with a baby.

Also, you should know that the longer you store the breast milk, the longer it loses vitamin C. An essential vitamin for the development of the baby.

Factors Affecting the Storage of Breast Milk

These factors determine the length of time breast milk is stored for later use. We will look at them now. These factors are temperature and container.

  • Temperature

When you store your breast milk in a refrigerator, ensure you place it at the back of the refrigerator where the temperature is coldest and stable.

That is where the milk will not be affected by temperature fluctuations caused by the opening and closing of the refrigerator doors.

On the other hand, milk kept in a freezer last as long as six months because the temperature in the freezer is colder than that of the refrigerator and more stable too.

The second factor is the container we have spoken about already.

How to Know if the Baby is Getting Enough Breast Milk

It is not always easy to see when the baby is not getting enough breast milk, but if you observe the baby careful enough, you will know.

The actions of your baby will let you know if he or she is getting enough breast milk. Below are examples of such behavior

a). Constant cry before and after feeding

A baby that is not getting sufficient breast milk will cry before and after feeding them. Sometimes they would cry so you would feed them some more.

b). Watch the number of wet diapers.

A baby getting enough breast milk will have around six wet diapers within 24 hours.

Check your baby urine output, and if it is less than six wet diapers, you know your baby is not getting enough breast milk. The urine of the baby usually is yellow and not concentrated.

Concentrated urine is an indication of insufficient breast milk supply to the baby.

Aside from the urine, the number of stools in a day typically is four, and they are loose. Less than this indicate inadequate milk supply.

c). Check the baby’s weight

Where it is normal for babies to shed some weight initially, regular weight loss is a sign of not getting enough breast milk.

The baby should gain weight weekly. Consult your doctor for this if you notice the baby is not gaining weight at all.

Using these tips will help you know if your baby is getting enough breast milk. You can try to check your breast before breastfeeding or pumping.

A full chest will mean that you are producing enough breast milk for your baby’s consumption.

How to Melt Frozen Breast Milk

When you want to melt or thaw your breast milk for your baby to have, start with the oldest one first.

Since you have labeled them according to their age or time, you place them in the freezer.

Start by placing the frozen milk you want to melt in the refrigerator for about ten hours before you make use of it. Then warm the breast milk with a bowl of warm water.

Do not heat your frozen milk using a microwave. The reason is that the microwave will make the milk to have an uneven temperature.

You should that heating the milk fast is not ideal either because fast heat will affect the antibodies in the milk.


No price can be placed on the importance of breast milk in the development of a baby.

That is why it is vital to breastfeeding a baby exclusively for at least six months.

However, it is not as easy as it seems to breastfeed the baby as often as the baby needs it. Therefore, mothers need to store their breast milk for their baby to have access to it anytime they need it.

The stored or frozen breast milk can go bad suddenly without the mom knowing. We have stated the signs that indicate that breast milk has become bad.

We also discussed the various ways to store the liquid to prolong it as much as possible.