How to Tell if Breast Milk is Bad?

While you may not be concerned with spoiled breast milk, it’s not unheard of. Almost any parent can accidentally give bad breast milk to their baby. The key is to observe your baby for signs that suggest bad milk and consult a doctor if you suspect it’s the culprit. This article will explain some of the best ways to determine whether breast milk is bad. The information provided here can help determine whether or not you should continue feeding your baby.

Breast milk may look pink if the nipples have cracked while pumping, but it’s also possible to find it in colors other than pink. Milk can also smell sour or have a soapy taste if stored improperly. This buttery taste is caused by an enzyme called lipase, which is harmless. You can remove the odor by scalding the breast milk and then consuming it.

How to Tell if Breast Milk is Bad?

1. It will Smell Foul.

The smell of spoiled breast milk can be another indicator of milk sour. If the milk smells like cow’s milk, it’s highly likely to have gone bad. The color of spoiled breast milk can also vary from light yellow to dark brown, and you may see a distinct separation between fatty and non-fatty layers.

You most likely have spoilt breast milk if you notice that the color of the milk differs from the milk you produce. Your breast milk may have gone sour if it has a terrible odor. If this is the case, it will smell like rotten cow’s milk, the kind of smell you can’t stand to have anywhere near your nose.

“Enzymes in breast milk can break down and cause certain smells to come out,” says Georgakopoulos. “This can be anything from a smell of metal to a scent of soap, and it doesn’t usually mean that it’s gone bad. But just because breast milk smells “off” doesn’t mean it’s gone bad.

2. It Doesn’t Mix When Swirled.

“As breast milk settles, the fat rises to the top, making it look like it’s gone bad. “It could be confused with curdling or going sour,” says Georgakopoulos. If your breast milk doesn’t mix when you swirl it, or if there are chunks in the milk that won’t mix, you should take a closer look to ensure.

It was stored properly and hasn’t gone bad. Petersen says you can’t always tell if milk is still good by looking at it, smelling it, or even tasting it. “So it’s best to follow the storage instructions as closely as possible to ensure your milk is safe.”

3. It Sat in the Fridge for Longer than 4 Days

“Fresh breast milk can be kept in the fridge for up to four days, but once it’s been drunk, it needs to be used within 24 hours,” explains Georgakopoulos. If breast milk has been in the fridge for more than four days, it is probably no longer good to use. To be safe, only put what you think will be manipulated into a bottle. If you want your milk to last as long as possible, put it in the “heart” of your fridge, not the door, where the temperature changes the most.

It’s important to label all your pumped breast milk to keep track of time. Petersen says that the date the milk was pumped should be written on every container used to store milk. “This will let you set up a way to ensure that the oldest milk gets used first.”

4. It wasn’t Stored Properly.

Like anything else, your breast milk is more likely to go bad if it isn’t sealed or stored properly or if the bag or container has a tear. When putting breast milk in the fridge or freezer, it’s important to use a container for breast milk storage. These breast milk containers are made of safe plastics to hold up in storage.”

Label your breast milk with the date, and keep in mind the guidelines above for storing it, so it stays fresh. If you’re putting it in the freezer, do it as soon as possible after pumping, and put it in the main part of the freezer instead of the door. “Many moms may pump at work or somewhere else away from home. If this is the case, you should put the milk in the fridge or a cooler bag as soon as possible after pumping,”

Petersen says that the best way to thaw frozen breast milk is to put it in the fridge overnight. “If you need it fast, you can run the storage bags under warm tap water or put them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes,” she says. “Remember that once you take milk out of the freezer, you have 24 hours to use it.”

5. It Tastes Sour

The best way to find out if your milk is sour is to taste it. “If it tastes sour, it might have gone bad,” says Georgakopoulos. “Smelling is safer, but safe handling and good inventory are usually the best ways to go since breast milk does keep very well.”

How to Properly Store your Breast Milk?

It’s important to store breast milk in the right kind of container. Nicole Drury, a certified La Leche League leader in Northampton, Massachusetts, says, “If your child goes to daycare, you may have to follow their rules for how to store breast milk.”

Choose your breast milk storage containers carefully. Please don’t put it in plastic bags or disposable bottle liners that aren’t made for this. Some choices are:

  • Use a baby bottle made of hard plastic with a lid that fits tightly (don’t use a nipple).
  • Glass containers or baby bottles with tight-fitting lids
  • There are plastic bags made just for storing breast milk.

Put a label on the container that says when it was made. Add your child’s name to the title if they go to daycare.

When using breast milk, it’s important to store it properly. Once it has been expressed, it should be used within 6 hours. Do not keep the milk in the refrigerator if you don’t plan to use it within four days. Depending on how long it has been frozen, it can last up to six months in the refrigerator. However, if you’re storing it in the fridge, the milk can stay there for three to five days.

Additional Tips for Freezing Breast Milk:

“If you freeze your breast milk and pump often, it can take up a lot of space,” says Drury. “Some women like storage bags because they save space in the freezer and can be stacked flat.”

When you put your breast milk in the container to freeze it, leave about an inch of space at the top so the milk has room to grow as it freezes. No matter what container you use, only freeze small amounts of breast milk, like 2 to 4 ounces.

“You have to throw out anything your baby doesn’t eat in two hours,” says Drury. “If your baby is still hungry, you can always add more.” The CDC says you should never freeze breast milk that you have already thawed but didn’t use.

Is Reheating Breast Milk Safe?

Choose the milk that has been frozen the longest to thaw first. Milk that has been frozen should be put in the fridge overnight to soften. You can also put it under a steady, slow stream of cool water. To heat the milk to the feeding temperature, slowly raise the temperature of the running water. If you want to warm up milk that has been kept in the fridge, run it under warm water.

You can also heat a pot on the stove and put the bottle or bag into the water. Don’t heat the breast milk directly on the stove; never get it so hot that it boils. If you keep milk in the fridge, you could try giving it to your baby before warming it. Some babies can drink cool dairy just fine. Never heat breast milk in a microwave. Some research shows breast milk may lose nutritional value when heated in a microwave.

There is also a chance of getting burned because microwaves heat liquids unevenly, which can cause hot spots inside the container. As you feed your baby, these hot spots could burn your baby. Keep in mind that breast milk that has been refrigerated may look separated, with a thin layer of cream on top and a layer of watery milk underneath. This doesn’t mean the milk has gone bad or spoiled.

Before feeding your baby, gently shake the container or rub the bag to redistribute the cream. Because the milk fats break down, sometimes thawed milk smells or tastes like soap. Even though there is a chance that your baby won’t drink this milk, you can still give it to them. If that’s the case, try keeping your expressed milk for less time.

Is Breast Milk the Same as Milk?

The formula is similar to breast milk in that it gives babies energy, keeps them hydrated, and gives them nutrients. Your baby will grow no matter what kind of milk he gets. But even though the way baby milk powder is made and made has improved, it still can’t compare to the health benefits of your breast milk.

Breast milk also called mother’s milk, is made by a woman’s mammary glands in her breasts. Breast milk is the main source of nutrition for babies: fat, protein, carbohydrates (lactose and human milk oligosaccharides), minerals, and vitamins.

Is Watery Breast Milk Good for your Baby?

Yes, in a word. Both milks with more fat and milk with less fat are good for your baby, and your baby must get both. (Think about when you eat a meal. Most of the time, you want both food to fill you up and a drink to stay hydrated. If you only have one or the other, you might not be happy or comfortable.)

If your baby drinks too much milk that is too watery, it can lead to a problem called foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. This can happen, for example, if your baby is nursing and switches breasts so that he fills up on the foremilk on both sides before getting to the hindmilk in either.


The smell of breast milk varies depending on what the mother is eating while pumping. Some mothers notice a distinct soapy smell in their breast milk, while others report that it is sweet-smelling. The buttery aroma comes from the high content of lipase, an enzyme that helps the baby digest the milk. If it’s sour, it’s a good sign that the milk is bad.

One of the easiest ways to determine whether your breast milk is bad is to check the content of lipase in it. Lipase is the main enzyme responsible for breaking down fats in milk. Breast milk contains high lipase levels; it will be smelly or soapy. You can test for sour milk by freezing it for five days and smelling it. A bad or stinky smell can be another sign of chemical oxidation.