Mothers who need to get back to work, but still want to continue giving breast milk to their babies, often choose to store pumped breast milk for future feedings. However, there are times when the newborn cannot finish an entire bottle. Because it’s hard to throw it down the drain, here’s what you can do with leftover breast milk instead of dumping it.
The Problem with Leftover Breast Milk
As of now, there’s still no scientific study that can give us a straight answer to the question, until when is leftover breastmilk good for newborn consumption?
But even without research, experts emphasize that contamination is always a risk. Hence, the CDC recommends that leftover breastmilk must be used within 2 hours after the baby has finished feeding.
Now, 2 hours seem like a long enough time to consume the rest of the breast milk, but babies’ feeding habits can be quite unpredictable.
Sometimes, hours have passed and they still don’t want to eat yet. And of course, there are instances when they won’t finish the bottle in the evening and then they’ll sleep through the night.
When you find it hard to dump leftover or excess breast milk, you can consider these inventive ways to use them.
What to Do with Breast Milk Instead of Dumping It
Instead of throwing it away, you might be able to use breast milk for the following purposes.
It Might Help in Treating Baby Skin Rashes
A lot of mothers claim that applying breast milk on their baby’s skin is effective in treating rashes. Well, it seems like there’s a scientific background to it.
Various studies reveal that breast milk could be an effective treatment for diaper rash and atopic dermatitis. Other papers even concluded that its effectiveness is comparable to that of hydrocortisone ointment – a known topical medication for skin itching, swelling, and irritation.
It Might Help in Treating Warts
While the use of breast milk to cure warts has not been medically verified, one study indicated that it could be an effective treatment. So, before dumping breast milk, consider the results of the study below.
- The research had divided a total of 40 participants into 2 groups, experimental and placebo. All 40 subjects had warts – growths that are caused by HPV (human papillomavirus) infection. The investigators said that they chose the participants because their warts “had not responded to conventional treatments.”
- Over the course of 3 weeks, the experimental group applied a cream, which contained an ingredient of human breast milk, on their warts. The other group received the placebo cream.
- After the study, the researchers noted that the cream with the human breast milk ingredient “reduced the size of the wart by up to 75%”. This significant reduction occurred in all of the 20 participants in the experimental group.
- On the other hand, only 15% of the participants in the placebo group experienced the same degree of wart reduction.
Although it appears to be a promising study, some experts are not convinced, so it’s still best to talk to your doctor if you want to clear your warts.
It Might Help Soothe Nipple Pain
What can you do with breast milk instead of dumping it? Research suggests you can apply it to your painful nipple.
Many breastfeeding moms complain of painful and damaged nipples, so it’s comforting to know that there could be an inexpensive and effective treatment for it: human breast milk.
- In one clinical trial, the researchers analyzed the effectiveness of human breast milk in treating nipple pain and damage. Furthermore, they compared its effects with that of lanolin, a common topical treatment for sore and cracked nipples.
- The researchers asked one group of lactating mothers to massage breast milk on their nipple and areola after each feeding. The other group had pea-sized lanolin as their treatment.
- Results revealed that when it comes to pain intensity and pain effect, there were “no significant differences among the groups”.
But just a quick reminder: Do not apply breast milk on your nipples if you have thrush, as yeast thrives well in human milk.
It Might Help in Umbilical Cord Separation
Instead of dumping leftover breast milk, you can perhaps use it to reduce cord separation time.
As of now, the World Health Organization advocates the use of “dry cord care”. In this method, mothers do not need to apply antiseptics like alcohol to the umbilical cord. All they need to do is keep it dry and clean.
However, the WHO also urges scientists to research the possibility of using human breast milk to promote cord healing. This is because some studies have already yielded positive results.
One good example is the research done in Iran involving 130 mature, healthy, and breastfed newborns. The researchers asked the mothers of one group to “drop” breastmilk on the remaining part of their baby’s cord; the other group used the dry cord care method.
Results showed that the application of human breast milk “reduces” cord separation time.
Furthermore, the researchers concluded that breast milk “can be used as an easy, cheap, and non-invasive way for cord care”.
For moms, it’s really difficult to throw away leftover or excess breast milk. That’s why it’s not surprising for you to look for its other uses.
Studies show that you can potentially use breast milk to treat skin rashes, warts, and nipple pain. Additionally, it might even help promote umbilical cord healing.
However, don’t forget to stay cautious, because as experts explained, leftover breast milk could be prone to contamination. Always consult your doctor if you need treatment for any skin condition and other concerns.
Learn more about Breastfeeding here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.