White Spots on Frozen Breast Milk: Is It Bad?

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Every mother wants every ounce of breast milk to benefit their babies. But it is sometimes confusing to tell if the milk is still safe to feed, particularly when you notice some abnormal signs.

When identifying white spots in your frozen breast milk, you’re afraid the milk may have gone bad. Before concluding and dumping your precious milk, it’s necessary to study the reasons for those white spots and how to test your milk quality.

It may not be harmful but just a normal phenomenon. This article will help you clear these doubts.

Why Does Your Frozen Breast Milk Have White Spots?

To find a proper solution, you need to determine the cause, whether it’s from storage, handling, expression, chemical oxidation, or high lipase activity.

1. Chemical Oxidation

The first potential issue may be challenging to fix, and your breast milk may not be salvageable once this has occurred.

If the liquid smells rancid or sour, the problem’s source is not overly active lipase but chemical oxidation.

Several factors can be part of this issue, including drinking beverages with iron ions or free copper or a diet compromising rancid or polyunsaturated fats.

2. Excess Lipase Activity

You may not know that some mothers have overly active lipase. People used to believe that breast milk with excess lipase could harm the baby, but recent studies have proved it a misunderstanding.

Don’t worry, as there is nothing harmful in your breast milk. If lipase is highly active in pumped milk, it will break down the fat elements, leading to a fishy or soapy aroma and an unpleasant taste that irritates the newborn.

This issue happens at different rates among different mothers. For example, it happens in no more than 12 hours for some people, whereas others notice no or a slight change several days after.

Even if you detect the soapy smell, your breast milk is still nutritious and safe for your infant. However, if the baby can’t put up with the smell, you can mix it with freshly expressed or pumped milk in the 1-1 ratio.

Babies are usually content with the blend if it doesn’t smell strongly soapy, though mixing sometimes doesn’t work.

3. Problems With Pump Parts

To ascertain that you’re taking all hygienic precautions, you need to examine the storage, handling, and expressing or pumping practices.

Besides, it’s necessary to clean the pump parts thoroughly between nursing sessions to ascertain there isn’t any bacterial contamination contacting the freshly pumped milk.

Remember to hold the milk in containers specifically made for human milk. We suggest using BPA-free bags as fewer immunological components and nutrients in stored milk may disappear than other containing products.

breast milk stored in freezer

How To Tell If Frozen Breast Milk Is Bad

We will walk through three straightforward ways to identify whether your frozen breast milk is spoiled or still usable.

1. Observe

Breast milk will naturally separate after expression or when stored in the refrigerator, with the watery part reaching the bottom and fat floating on the top. If your milk is still fresh, you can easily mix two parts by gently swirling the bottle.

If the chunks still float, or the milk remains separated after remixing, there’s a high chance it has gone bad. In this case, you should toss it right away.

2. Smell

If you usually store your golden liquid at room temperature or in the fridge, a reliable method to check its quality is by smelling or through a “sniff test.” While the smell may vary depending on the mother’s body, if your stored milk smells sour or rancid, it may be bad. However, this method is not effective if you often freeze the liquid. Human milk has lipase that breaks down fat elements for your newborn.

If your lipase is highly active, the enzyme may cause thawed breast milk to smell soapy or sour, though it’s still healthy and safe. So, you can test if you’re in this category by freezing a tiny amount of milk for about five days. After that, thaw the frozen milk and take a sniff test.

Since five days is a short duration, you can feel reassured that your milk doesn’t get sour. Thus, should it smell sour, you determine that your milk will have this scent after freezing, yet it’s still safe to nurse your baby.

Some newborns hate this unpleasant smell. So, the best idea is to try feeding yours a tiny amount before freezing a large batch to see if he accepts it. We suggest scalding your expressed milk before freezing to eliminate this problem if he doesn’t.

3. Taste

This last method is the most effective because you can notice the abnormal flavor immediately. Human milk will not taste similar to cow’s products, but any taste other than sour or rancid is acceptable. Sometimes it even tastes salty, but it’s still safe for babies.

Refrigerated milk should not taste disgusting. If yours does (in case you often refrigerate it), you should never feed it to your infant.

Follow the above steps to test the natural feature of getting sour, then taste the frozen breast milk after thawing. If that’s not the case, yet you still taste something abnormal in the milk, discard it immediately since it has gone bad.


Can Bacteria Survive In Frozen Breast Milk?

Breast milk is rich in favorable bacteria that can do wonders for your infant’s gut health, which formula products don’t have. But you may wonder if good bacteria can survive or if the bad will grow as frozen.

If you follow proper handling and storage guidelines for breast milk, the chance of introducing bad bacteria into it is lower. Also, inappropriate preparation and handling could enable damaging bacteria to survive in freezing conditions and cause your infant to feel sick.

How Long Does Breast Milk Last In The Freezer?

Freezing breast milk helps busy mothers a lot during the lactating stage, so they can pump milk and store it in several containers whenever convenient.

Generally, frozen milk can stay good for about six months if stored correctly. After this duration, the nutritional elements begin to degrade.

Remember to use plastic bags tailor-made for milk storage or plastic or food-glass, capped, and clean containers without BPA to store it. Set the freezer at 0 degrees F and place the container in the coldest corner.

Can You Use Frozen Breast Milk From Different Days?

It is not advisable to mix warm and cold breast milk. The best idea is to cool the fresh milk before mixing it with the previously frozen or cooled one.

Don’t forget to stick to the storage guide. For instance, if you combine frozen milk expressed on different days, the storage duration should rely on the prior milk first stored.


You put a lot of hard work and love into expressing and pumping the freshest, most beneficial milk for your baby and not expect to waste even a drop. So, you may feel depressed when seeing white spots on frozen breast milk, as you think it’s gone bad.

Now you know the reasons and methods to identify bad milk. Apply what you’ve learned to avoid unnecessarily throwing good milk away.

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