That Last Bag of (Expired) Breast Milk In The Freezer

My baby turned 2 yesterday. So naturally I celebrated with chocolate cupcakes and a bag of expired breast milk.
I know it’s customary to write an earnest epistle to commemorate a baby’s two years of life. But I am not ready to write that letter.  I am distracted by this bag of breast milk.
The last 8 oz

The last 8 oz

Because sitting with your last bag of breast milk– the bag that’s been buried under frozen guacamole from Costco and Popsicles that have passed their prime– is not a customary way to celebrate a life that is dear to you.

I can’t seem to bring myself to get rid of the breast milk even though it expired 14 months ago. Even before it expired, it took weeks to find someone to donate my extra milk to because no one wanted my Zoloft-tainted milk.   With hundreds of ounces about to perish, I called every doula and La Leche League leader I could find to beg them to find someone who needed my milk.  It finally found a home to a young mother who adopted a baby.
I hold on to this bag of milk, even though I’m still nursing.  Seriously, am I supposed to just pitch it? When I look at it, I remember maniacally pumping when I thought I was headed back to work. All those hours with my sore nipples shoved in that plastic funnel thing.  There is so effing way I can bear to see those hard-earned ounces in the trash bin next to used tea bags and broken crayons.
But what to do with it?  I can’t carry it around forever like their baby books and bronzed shoes. Right?

Anyone have any creative or sacred rituals for those bags of milk that are past their prime? Because, honestly, right now I’d rather drink it myself than treat it like refuse.

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42 thoughts on “That Last Bag of (Expired) Breast Milk In The Freezer

  1. “My baby turned 2 yesterday. So naturally I celebrated with chocolate cupcakes and a bag of expired breast milk.” Make (encore) birthday cupcakes WITH the breastmilk. Clearly. And if not, I bet someone on the web has a pinterest board of what to do with old breastmilk…breastmilk is like a menu tenant of that whole paleo diet, right?

  2. I feel exactly the same way about the five-year-old frozen grated zucchini from our garden. That IS exactly the same thing, isn’t it? I mean, I grew that zucchini!

    Signed,
    Mr. Insenstive

  3. You could just leave it the freezer and pass it along to your child when he leaves the nest. I have a “friend” (and, just to confirm, the quote marks are there not because I am talking about myself, but because the person in question turned out to really not be a friend, unless you consider her a “with friends like these who needs enemies?” kind of way) who saves her son’s dead goldfish in ziplock bags in her freezer and she plans to give them to him someday. Hmm, wait, maybe saving it in the freezer is just plain psycho and not really a solution to your problem. I never breast fed my children, so I can’t offer any good advice.

  4. I wish my boobies made enough to get spare milk. Maybe with this baby in my belly, they’ll fare better. BUT if I did find a spare bag, I’d have “issues” too. I do recall once spilling a just-pumped 6 oz bottle (my record, and it took a lot of time ans effort) and falling to the floor in tears. It’s like gold.

  5. I am so glad I’m not the only one! I am hanging on to a few bags of expired milk that *sniff* no one will ever drink. This makes me teary, even though I just nursed a big toddler on the bus this morning … and will again this afternoon. Why does the end of pumping and storage (which I didn’t even like in the first place) hurt so much?

  6. If it were fresh I’m implore you not to cook with it but to yogurt/cheese/ice cream with it. Breastmilk is all kinds of awesome for food when used raw. Cooking with it ruins it. But so does leaving it in the freezer for two years.

    Sorry, pumpkin, but open the seal, put the whole bag in a pan in the sink and run hot water over it until it thaws, dissolves, and flows away. It’s a metaphor, it’s a striking mental image, and it’s a waste of water. And I did it with my last three Medela bags.

    Weaning will be harder than tossing milk. The accomplishment remains, whether it fed the babe or not. You did it. Let the *thing* go and keep the memory.

    Happy birthday, Mama.

  7. Liquid gold. I know the feeling all too well. Bawling when it spilled or when the hubster tossed a half-eaten bottle…

    We came across some when we cleaned out our fridge to move. My nursing daughter was 26 months old and I had stopped pumping at 11 months. It was about seven bags and they were all freezer burned and nasty, but I almost clawed them back out of the trash can when I pitched them.

    Happy second birthday to your boy, mama!

  8. I still have a frozen bag of breast milk in our garage freezer – and Luke is 4 years old. On occasion, Rick will open the door, gesture at it and say “Really?” Yes, really. It stays. At least for now.

  9. The boy is 3. There is still 1 bag way down at the bottom of the fridge under a random frozen to the shelf flask. I got nothin’ for you.

  10. Just looking at that Lansinoh bag swept me back in time – not too far back, mind you, but back enough to realize how much things have shifted in my life since I stopped being a nursing mother. Happy birthday to your big baby – and to you, mama. xo

  11. I can’t believe you had so much that you donated it! My babies went through every last frozen drop once I went back to work and could only nurse twice per day. Nothing wrong with keeping a souvenir bag. People do stranger things.

  12. Oh, I get it.
    I am not someone who holds on to things. I’m just not sentimental about stuff. I can clean out a closet or attic and throw out/donate things with mercenary glee. BUT…where things with my kids go, I’m not that way at all. I have their baby teeth (which my husband finds disgusting)….I even saved their umbilical stumps in plastic bags (when my MIL heard this she actually drew back in revulsion). I totally would have kept a bag of milk if I’d thought of it. (but after the teeth and stumps, you might not feel comforted that I would do the same thing)

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