The first few days with a newborn are dominated by fluids everywhere. I had expected my precious bundle of baby to leak, dribble, and explosively shoot things across the room, but I wasn’t expecting my breasts to join in the fun. When my milk came in, I couldn’t even see a picture of someone else’s baby without soaking my shirt. My entire new wardrobe of expensive nursing tops got covered in milk at least once. I was in tears: does breast milk stain?
It’s hard to hide wet bulls-eyes right over your nipples, so prevention saves you from embarrassment as well as laundry. Nursing pads are small absorbent circles that slip right into your bra to catch milk leaks before they reach your shirt. Most baby retailers carry both reusable nursing pads sewn from cloth, and disposable pads with adhesive. I used both types while breastfeeding at home and pumping at work. My breasts also leaked while I slept, and so I put a waterproof pad designed for cribs between my sheet and my mattress. But even if you protect against unexpected leaks, you have milk-soaked cloths of some kind to wash.
I have good news.
Although it dries and sometimes leaves a pale crust that looks like a watermark, breast milk washes right out of most fabrics without leaving any visible mark. I didn’t have to make any changes to my usual laundry routine while I was breastfeeding.
Does Breast Milk Stain if You Can’t Rinse it Out Right Away?
It is milk, so clothes from the bottom of the laundry hamper sometimes had a cheesy smell that absolutely repulsed me. Like any greasy food that contains protein, breast milk can stink as it decomposes, and this smell may build up over time if the milk is not completely removed from the fabric. One of my nursing bras got especially bad! To remove every trace of breast milk, attack it like a grease stain. Oxygen-based laundry stain-lifters like OxiClean, laundry detergents like Era Active Stainfighter, and heavy-duty spot removers designed for other textiles like Folex for carpet all break down those proteins to keep clothing smelling fresh.
And I thought that was that until I unpacked my nursing tops and baby clothes for my second child. To my horror, they all had yellow stains that were not there when I folded them up carefully and stacked them in a big plastic tote.
Does breast milk stain clothes in storage, or did I have a ghost baby living in my attic who spit up on all the clothes I’d put away?
Breast milk is a tricky thing. Those same milk proteins can cause stains that appear years later, especially if they get to react with an air-tight plastic storage container.
How to Get Breast Milk Out of Clothes?
It is possible to get years-old breast milk stains out of clothing. Try a very high concentration of OxiClean powder before you give up on hand-me-downs. The easiest way to apply it to a single piece of clothing is to make a thick paste of the powder and water, and dab the mixture right onto the stain. If you are doing an entire load of laundry at once, use as many as seven to eight scoops of powder, and let the clothing soak overnight in very hot water with the OxiClean. After soaking, wash the clothes in hot water with more OxiClean powder. Many breast milk stains will disappear.
There is another solution. I wrote about how to get baby poop stains out of clothes, In this short article I mentioned that you can make your own DIY stain remover and it can also work for breast milk stains too, you can check this method here! I suggest you to try this solution first if you have all ingredient at home.
Don’t be deterred from breastfeeding by the cleanup: formula and vitamin supplements cause even worse stains. Like all aspects of newborn care, breastfeeding is primal and messy, but every mess is brief and the bond with your baby is forever.
Now it’s your turn! please, tell us in the comment section below if you had any stains fight? wich solution work for you?