How to tell if your breast milk is good or bad? Easy tips

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You’re wondering how to tell if your breast milk is good or bad and you’re not the only one. We researched several health and nutrition studies on breast milk, as well as data written by relevant authorities about its ideal storage. We have the expertise to answer your questions and we’ll teach you how to know how a bad breast milk looks and smells like.

Let’s get right into it!

How do you know when breast milk is bad

We often get that one. It’s hard to answer “when” breast milk goes bad since it will depend on how you stored your breast milk and where you are in its expiry life.

The question of “when” something goes bad is inherently tied to too many variables including the conditions in which it was stored, and even the region in which you live. For example, food reacts differently in humid climates than in dry climates.

The issue with a “when” question is that it assumes a uniform timeline for all breast milk, which is just not the case. Asking “when” your breast milk will go bad is the equivalent of trying to predict exactly when a car will break down or when a light bulb will burn out. It may happen within a general timeframe, but many factors can push that timeframe forward or back.

Instead, a better question to ask can be ‘How to tell if your breast milk is bad?’ This way, you’ll be able to notice the signs and signals of spoilage.

So let’s do just that.

How to tell if your breast milk is bad?

What does bad breast milk smell like

Identifying spoiled breast milk can be a crucial task for any parent. One of the most reliable indicators is its smell. When breast milk goes bad, it develops a distinct sour smell that is noticeably different from its fresh, sweet, and slightly metallic aroma.

Scientifically, this change in smell is due to the breakdown of fats in the milk. The process, known as lipolysis, releases fatty acids, which give off that sour odor.

You might wonder how quickly this happens. The rate at which breast milk spoils depends on various factors such as storage conditions and temperature. However, once you detect a strong sour smell, it’s safe to assume the milk has gone bad.

Remember, a slight change in smell doesn’t always mean spoilage. Breast milk can sometimes have a soapy or metallic smell due to high lipase activity, an enzyme that aids in fat digestion. This is normal and safe for your baby.

Trust your senses. If you’re unsure about the freshness of your stored breast milk, always rely on your sense of smell. It’s one of nature’s most effective tools for detecting spoilage.

What does a bad breast milk look like

When breast milk goes bad, it undergoes noticeable changes. Color, smell, and taste are the primary indicators you can use to determine its quality.

Color changes are one of the first signs. Fresh breast milk typically has a light blue or white hue. However, if it turns yellowish or brownish, it may have gone bad.

The smell of breast milk is another crucial indicator. Fresh breast milk has a sweet, soapy smell. If it starts to smell sour or rancid, it’s likely spoiled.

Taste is also a reliable measure. Fresh breast milk tastes slightly sweet. If it tastes sour or metallic, it’s probably not safe for consumption.

Remember that these changes can occur due to improper storage. Proper storage conditions are essential to maintain the quality of breast milk.

Scientific studies have shown that storing breast milk at room temperature for more than 6 hours can lead to spoilage. Similarly, refrigerated breast milk should be used within 4 days to prevent spoilage.

If you notice any of these signs in your stored breast milk, it’s best not to use it. Your baby’s health is paramount and feeding them spoiled milk could lead to illness.

What does a bad breast milk tastes like

Breast milk that has gone bad will typically have a sour or rancid taste. It may also develop a soapy flavor due to the breakdown of fats in the milk. If the milk tastes metallic or bitter, it could be another sign of spoilage. Always remember, if the taste is noticeably different and unpleasant compared to fresh breast milk, it’s likely gone bad.
Quick tips on how you can tell if breast milk has gone bad. Prepare your nose!

How to tell if breast milk is good?

The industry-standard methods to check the quality of breast milk include:

Creamatocrit Method: This measures the lipid content of the milk. It involves centrifuging a small sample of milk and measuring the cream layer that separates out.

Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy: This method uses infrared light to measure the composition of breast milk, including fat, protein, and lactose content.

Protein Analysis: This can be done using a variety of methods, including Kjeldahl method, Dumas method, or using a protein analyzer. These methods measure the total nitrogen content and calculate the protein content based on this.

Bacterial Culture: This is used to check for bacterial contamination in the milk. A sample of milk is cultured on a medium that promotes bacterial growth, and any colonies that grow are identified and counted.

pH Measurement: The pH of breast milk can indicate its freshness. Fresh milk has a pH around 7, while sour or spoiled milk has a lower pH.

Note: The quality of breast milk can vary greatly between individuals and at different times for the same individual. Therefore, these methods should be used as guidelines rather than strict standards.

What are the expert tips to select fresh breast milk when shopping?

It seems there may be some confusion in your question. It’s important to note that breast milk should not be purchased from unregulated sources due to potential health risks, including the transmission of disease and the possibility of chemical contamination. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life. If breastfeeding is not possible, it’s recommended to use a safe and appropriate breast-milk substitute, such as commercial infant formula.

If you’re considering using donated breast milk, it’s crucial to get it from a trusted and regulated milk bank. These banks screen donors and pasteurize donated milk to ensure its safety.

If you’re referring to selecting a breast pump for expressing milk, consider factors like efficiency, comfort, portability, and noise level. Also, check if the pump parts are easy to clean and assemble.

Is bad breast milk always harmful or can it sometimes be harmless?

We know how it feels – your breast milk turned bad but you don’t want to waste it.

However, it can be very dangerous to consume breast milk gone bad. It’s just not worth it. Something that spoiled isn’t just expired, it’s not fit to be consumed.

If you want to avoid this suggestion in the future, you might be interested to read our article about how to better store breast milk.

What next:

Now that you know if breast milk go bad in heat and if it needs to be refrigerated, you might be interested in learning better tips on food storage. We happen to have written a guide on how to properly store and preserve breast milk to extend its shelf life.

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