What Happens If a Baby Drinks Spoiled Breast Milk?

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Breast milk is the safest, purest source of nutrition for a newborn. This natural food stimulates the baby’s initial development.

Most mommies pump and store breast milk as they go for the exclusive pumping method or simply want to build a reserve for emergencies.

Sometimes you may forget to notice how long you’ve left the milk outside and let it go bad accidentally. You even give this milk to your baby. So, what are the symptoms of a baby drinking spoiled breast milk?

We’ll tell you the answer and how to identify bad breast milk right below. Read on!

What Happens If Your Baby Drinks Spoiled Breast Milk?

Vomiting, fever, and diarrhea are typical symptoms indicating that a baby has drunk bad breast milk. The response of a baby’s body to bad milk often communicates and displays discomfort and even sickness.

Attentive mommies will notice when their babies spit out or squirm the milk during the nursing session. They will stop to check before their babies consume too much.

If a caretaker or guardian helps you take care of your baby, remember to make careful recommendations to them. Tell them they have to stop feeding if the baby squirms or rejects the food.

The slightest case when a baby drinks bad breast milk is an upset, uncomfortable stomach. In more severe cases, mothers may notice the infants’ vomiting, incessant crying, or restlessness.

Most of the time, the child would vomit up the spoiled milk during or after nursing. Though fever or diarrhea are less common symptoms, some mommies witnessed these when they unintentionally fed the children bad food.

What to Do if Your Baby Drank Spoiled Milk

Note that it’s necessary to let the baby thoroughly spit out the spoiled milk remaining in the stomach when he vomits. Hold the baby in the upright position while lightly patting his back so that he can let the food out more easily and free his stomach from bad food.

Eliminating the spoiled liquid should soothe and make the baby more comfortable. Remember that persistent vomiting or other symptoms could result in dehydration.

Thus, if your baby continues vomiting or you’re concerned and unsure about anything, reach out to a pediatrician right away for help.

symptoms of baby drank bad breast milk

How to Know If Breast Milk Is Spoiled?

If breast milk is no longer fresh, it will look, smell, and taste terrible, with a dirty, sour sock smell.

1. Observe Keenly

Usually, fresh milk will naturally separate after pumping, while the water reaches the bottom and the fat touches the top. If the milk is still edible, you can mix it easily by gently swirling the bottle.

If chunks float on your milk’s surface, or you see it remain separated after trying to remix it, the high chance is that it has gone bad.

2. Smell

The smell test is a quick way to figure out if the milk has gone bad or not, provided you store it at room temperature or in the fridge (not freezing).

Fresh milk features a pure, pleasant smell, whereas spoiled one often smells sour and rancid. If that sounds like yours, discard it immediately.

This tactic doesn’t apply to frozen milk, though. Breast milk contains lipase – an enzyme breaking fats down for the baby. Some mothers’ milk is high in lipase, making the frozen milk appear with white spots and smell a bit sour when thawed, even though it’s still totally safe.

Simply put a small portion in the freezer for about five days to determine if your milk falls within this category. After that, thaw it and check the odor.

Note that some infants hate this scent and tend to reject it when feeding. Thus, before freezing a large batch of breast milk, try feeding your infant some thawed amounts to see if they accept it or not.

Don’t worry. You can fix this problem by scalding the milk before freezing.

Here’s how to scald it:

  • Heat your milk in a saucepan or small pan until you see tiny bubbles form in a circle (approximately 180°F).
  • Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Let it cool down.
  • Pour the cool milk into a container and freeze.

3. Taste

Another method to determine if your breast milk is still fresh and safe for a baby is to taste it. The taste may vary for different mothers, yet it shouldn’t deliver a rancid or sour flavor.

If you leave it at room temperature or refrigerate it and notice a sour taste, don’t feed it to your infant.

Hold the container or bag under hot running water or place it in the fridge for thawing if you freeze it. It’s never a clever idea to microwave frozen milk or uses boiling water to thaw it.

The spoiled milk should deliver a sour odor and taste and won’t mix well. On the other hand, if the milk tastes sweet-ish, it’s safe for an infant.

breast milk in fridge


This section is for those who still wonder about the maximum time breast milk can last and if the mold in breast pumps would harm the newborn.

Can Babies Drink Breast Milk After 5 Hours?

Research suggests that breast milk is safest within four hours after pumping as stored at room temperature.

It’s not advisable to leave your milk outside for more than four hours and feed it to your baby. Though it’s not usually the case, the milk may spoil.

Can Mold In Breast Pumps Hurt Babies?

Yes, mold in breast pumps is harmful to babies. Mold spores can produce toxic substances that can induce children to become ill.

In more severe cases, mycotoxins may damage a newborn’s lung or pose pulmonary hemorrhages.


Indeed, stress and anxiety during nursing sometimes may distract the mother from little things like how long her breast milk can last, though she has strived to be as careful as possible.

The lesson, after all, is to be aware of the signs of spoiled milk and check it every time before feeding. Don’t dump it away if it’s spoiled because you can do a lot more with it.

Hopefully, this article is useful to you.

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