Casey White is an experienced cook and homesteader with years of experience in the kitchen making delicious foods from scratch.
What Do You Do With Extra Breast Milk When You Are Breastfeeding?
If you are a breastfeeding mommy with a surplus of milk, there are many useful ways to put that extra milk to use. When my daughter was born, it bothered me to throw away the breast milk I worked so hard to collect because it wasn't used fast enough. I was lucky and overproduced milk for the first six months of my daughter's life, and I sometimes felt overwhelmed with extra milk. My freezer was always packed with frozen milk, and I ended up pouring bottle after bottle down the drain. It was painful to throw away good milk after I'd worked so hard pumping it each day.
Cooking With Breast Milk
After a while (and the start of the solids stage), I became thrifty and started using my extra milk for cooking! Once my baby was older and had teeth, I still gave her breast milk and also incorporated extra milk into foods I cooked for her. Sometimes I poured it over cereal in the morning for my little one. I used it to make pancakes, mashed potatoes, and other baby-friendly foods that I cooked. The weirdest but coolest experiment I did with breast milk was making butter.
Yes, just like cow's milk, you can use human breast milk to make butter!
Ingredients and Supplies
- About 1 cup of breast milk
- 1 clean, lidded jar (like a mason jar)
Step 1: Collect 1 Cup of Breast Milk and Find a Jar
You will start off with that beautiful momma's milk and a container with a lid. I use glass mason jars to make homemade butter. Typically, I use heavy whipping cream to make butter, but for moms with extra breast milk, the process is exactly the same.
The collection of milk in the picture above included around a week's worth of extra milk I pumped. By the time my daughter was a year old, I usually produced around 2 ounces a day extra, and I'd add it to empty water bottles in the fridge to use for cooking once my baby started eating solid foods. I'd add milk to pureed veggies, and I made pancakes using breast milk as ways to use up the extra. I knew I wanted to make butter, so I made sure to save over a cup of my milk.
In the picture above, I filled the mason jar a bit too full of breast milk. I should have only put around a cup of breast milk in it, so I had to take some out. It is important that the milk has room to move around in the jar because, as you shake it, the milk will expand as it transforms into whipped cream and then into butter in its final stages. I'll explain further down why this is important.
Put your milk in your jar with a lid. Screw the lid on tight, then . . .
Step 2: Start Shaking!
You put your milk in a jar and shake . . . and shake . . . and shake. It's a lengthy period of shaking, but eventually after quite a bit of exercise you will get butter. It's that simple to make butter. Put it in a jar and shake it.
If you want to make butter with cow's milk, put heavy whipping cream in a jar and shake. Eventually, you'll get butter.
Shake With Patience!
This takes a while. You have to shake and shake and shake until you can't shake anymore. Then, you shake some more. Yes, this is a labor of love. I was able to watch an entire episode of a television show I enjoy before my butter was ready. It took around 30 minutes to start seeing results. I took a few breaks and had my husband shake a little when my arm got tired. Eventually, I got my hard-earned breast milk butter.
After 15 Minutes
In the above picture, you can see how the milk has changed consistency. As you shake, the milk slowly changes. In the beginning, the jar will feel light to hold. As you shake it, you'll feel the jar start to feel heavier as the milk changes into a whipped cream–type consistency and eventually into butter.
The above picture is of a breast milk whipped cream. This is why you need a little space in your jar; it allows your liquids to be shook and helps the butter to form. You also need room in your jar because as the milk changes consistency it gets frothy and takes up more space.
Step 3: Drain the Remaining Liquid From the Butter
In the above picture, you will see my breast milk butter, but there is still a lot of liquid in it. You will need to drain away the excess milk and then shake some more to get all the liquid out. You might have to take the butter out of the jar and put it in a strainer, cheesecloth, etc. to get the liquid out.
If you don't have those things, like me, put the butter on a plate and squeeze it with your hands until all the liquid is gone. Warning: Your butter will be warm, so it'll be loose and messy. You'll want to refrigerate it to harden it so it will be less messy.
Store-Bought Normal Butter vs. My Breast Milk Butter
As you can see in the picture above, breast milk butter is very light white compared to normal, store-bought cow butter, which is really yellow. If you use heavy whipping cream to make homemade butter, you'll also find the butter is a light color (almost white).
How Does It Taste?
The two are different in how they taste. Breast milk (to me) doesn't have a strong flavor but has a hint of sweetness. Store-bought cow butter has a bit more flavor to it, especially with salt added. Breast milk butter doesn't have a strong flavor at all, and the only taste is that tiny bit of sweetness. It's not something I'd want to consume myself, but my daughter really seemed to really enjoy it. I assume when she had only consumed my breast milk her entire life until she started solids, her taste-buds picked up flavors in the butter I couldn't taste.
A Tasty Labor of Love
My little girl seemed to like the breast milk butter quite a bit. She would poke her finger into it and then into her mouth for tiny tastes. She would do this for a while before gnawing on the toast and would usually finish most of a slice.
I don't know exactly how long breast milk butter will keep in the fridge, but I'd imagine it wouldn't be for long. If you make your own butter, keep it in a sealed container. One cup of breast milk made half a stick of butter like you'd buy at the grocery store. If you somehow make more than that and worry about it going bad, you could put it in a ziplock and freeze it.
Using extra breast milk can be fun, and it can be used for a wide variety of foods for your little one. Butter is only one great use for extra milk, but it definitely is a labor of love. It requires a lot of shaking. If you have a blender or food processor, you can try using it. Since I only had a cup of breast milk, I felt the jar method was best since my food processor is such a big device. If you have plenty of milk to fill a blender or food processor, you'll definitely have an easier time making butter.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Casey White