What Happens If Baby Drinks Spoiled Breast Milk?

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Deborah Dominici of Hawaii claims that if you accidentally give your infant sour breast milk, they will undoubtedly spit it or throw it up. 

If you handle and store breast milk properly, it will very seldom spoil, Dominici says Romper. However, it does happen from time to time, and the typical outcome is throwing up the bad milk. 

Whenever it’s about spoiled breast milk, the most considerable risk is exposing the infant to contamination. As a board-certified pediatrician tells Romper, “Spoiled breast milk could contain germs, which might be dangerous to your kid or cause them to be sick.”

Your infant may not become ill just because they unintentionally drank or spilled sour breast milk. But keep in mind that infants’ immune systems are still developing, making them more prone to disease. 

Depending on the signs and symptoms your infant displays after consuming the milk, you can tell if they have hazardous germs in their system. According to Dr. Amin, bacteria congregating is the biggest issue with spoilt breast milk. 

Any odd symptoms, such as a high temperature, intense fussiness, or frequent vomiting, should be reported to your child’s doctor.

Symptoms Of A Spoilt Breast Milk 

One may notice a marked rise in agitation and crying if your infant drinks spoiled breast milk.

The sour breast milk may be vomited in 30 to 60 minutes. 

Once the bad breast milk is vomited, they should be fine because it is no longer inside them. 

Additionally, you can get frequent vomiting and diarrhea. You should consult your pediatrician if your child frequently throws up because this could indicate dehydration. 

In most cases, babies that unintentionally consume sour breast milk will be alright. Little vomit is anticipated. 

However, it is better to refrain from giving the infant sour breast milk. Then it’s crucial to correctly adhere to breast milk storehouse standards to avoid such an accident.

3 Indications Of Spoilt Breast Milk

1. It’s Not Blending 

If you’ve observed, chilled milk has a clumpy, chunky appearance that makes it simple to confuse for curdled or spoilt milk.

This happens due to the separation of breast milk during storage following pumping. It divides into two pieces. Watery components sink to the bottom while the fatty part remains on top. 

When you swirl breast milk, it will combine appropriately if it isn’t ruined when it is stored. 

Breast milk spoils if you notice a portion of it when twirling because it won’t blend.

2. It Has A Foul Smell. 

Long-term exposure to the elements can make breast milk smell bad; bad smells are clear signs of ruined breast milk. 

Breast milk that has gone wrong has a nasty cow milk odor. Because of how unpleasant the scent is, you can detect spoiled breast milk right away. 

Breast milk might not be ruined if it has a soapy or metallic “off scent,” nevertheless. 

For instance, breast milk breaks down and releases an enzyme called lipase when frozen, giving the milk an “off” scent. 

If lipase is present in the breast milk, you will notice a change in the flavor and aroma of the milk 12 to 15 hrs after pumping & preserving it or when you’re thawing it.

Even when breast milk is safe for the baby to swallow, lipase activity might cause it to smell soapy, metallic, sour, or fishy whenever it is thawed. 

It’s not always the case that an unpleasant fragrance indicates poor breast milk. For example, if breast milk has a greater lipase activity level, it could be challenging to tell the difference between spoilt and undamaged milk. 

Although increased lipase function in breast milk has the potential to make, your baby rejects it. 

In that situation, speak with a lactation specialist who will assist you in developing a strategy to motivate your infant to consume breast milk containing excessive lipase.

3. Bad Taste 

You can also taste the breast milk to determine whether it has soured or gone wrong. 

You can taste breast milk once you smell it and discover that it smells strange but not like bad cow’s milk. Likewise, you can discard something if it tastes sour or rotten. 

Also, remember that thawed breast milk may have a sour flavor. Decide whether food has gone wrong depending on how it tastes and smells. 

Determining whether breast milk is spoilt or not might be challenging at times. Remember the phrase, “when in doubt, toss it out.”

We urge you to apply your breast milk topically rather than discard it since I understand how priceless it is and how difficult it was for you to express your milk.

Recommended Precautions To Prevent Breast Milk From Spoiling

To ensure that pumped breast milk is of the highest quality and safety, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested preparation and storage guidelines that nursing mothers and caregivers should adhere to. 

To ensure the baby’s optimal health, this is required. The recommendations include the following:

1. Adherence to strict sanitation and hygiene standards. You should thoroughly clean the pump, your hands, and the surrounding area. 

2. Periodically inspect the pump for any corroded or moldy components. If this is discovered, it needs to be changed right away. 

3. Food-grade containers or suggested storage bags with certain plastic and glass lids should be used for storage. 

4. Leave room at the top of the bags or bottles to expand the milk during freezing. 

5. Milk should only be kept for a maximum of six months. Ensure to include the date the milk was produced in the container or bag to track how long it has been in storage. 

6. Milk shouldn’t be kept inside the fridge door.

Your refrigerator’s door opening and closing frequently create temperature variations, which can cause food to spoil. 

7. You should immediately freeze any expressed milk that won’t be used in the next four days. 

8. Direct heat, boiling water, or microwaves should not be used to thaw frozen breast milk. 

9. You can run warm tap water over the milk bag for a few minutes to thaw it or put it in a warm water container. 

10. Milk can be kept in a sealed bag with ice packs while traveling only for a maximum of 24 hours.

The quantity drank and how much-spoilt milk will affect the infant. It is most probable that the spoilt milk wouldn’t do much other than taste unpleasant after a few sips. However, if your baby does ingest a significant amount of spoilt milk, it is crucial to know how to make your child feel better. 

The symptoms listed above are typical and would aid in the baby’s quick recovery. However, paying close attention to how the infant behaves and how much the milk degrades the child’s health is crucial. 

Above all, if this ever occurs, try not to panic or blame yourself. Anyone can mistakenly feed damaged or infected breast milk to a newborn.

Even the most careful parents or guardians experience these mishaps. Unfortunately, all you can do is keep a close eye out for indications that the milk you’re about to give your baby is sour or if the child appears uncomfortable drinking it. 

Make sure to adhere to the proper preparation and storage instructions. Remember that your pediatrician is available to offer expert assistance if you ever have questions or are unsure of what to do if your child consumes something dangerous to them.


Is It Right For Breast Milk Spoils Within The Breast?

No! This cannot be done. Breast milk is a remarkable liquid containing live substances that continually change to meet your kid’s demands. Additionally, breast milk does not spoil in the breast. It is constantly evolving. 

If your infant consumes spoilt breast milk, do not become alarmed or overly harsh on yourself. Keep a watchful eye on your infant; if you have any worries, immediately call the pediatrician. With your knowledge, you are acting as responsibly as you can. You can do this!

What Occurs If A Newborn Consumes Breast Milk That Has Been Left Out For Too Long? 

It depends on how long. Generally speaking, everything would be fine if it were an hour later. 

However, if it has been several hours past the suggested time for storage, take the same safety measures by keeping a close eye on your infant for any changes brought on by consuming spoilt breast milk. 

They will be fine if they don’t show any symptoms. However, if you have any worries, speak to the pediatrician about your child. 

Can Infants Detect Bad Breast Milk? 

Some people notice a “sour” or “spoiled” taste or odor. Worries accompany these changes that the breastmilk is no longer healthy for the infant. 

Additionally, the baby sometimes seems unconcerned and swallows a bottle of the expressed milk, but other times the baby rejects the milk.


Don’t get alarmed if your child throws up after consuming sour milk. When a newborn drinks sour breast milk, that is what happens. 

However, they risk dehydration if the vomiting continues or is accompanied by other symptoms. 

You need to contact your pediatrician right away at this point. 

Even the most cautious parent or caregiver may have breast milk contamination. 

Understanding how typical breast milk appears, smells, and tastes will help you prepare and store it properly. 

By doing this, you can avoid throwing away fresh milk or feeding your rotten child milk.

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