My Toddler Drank Spoiled Milk!

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baby drinking bottle

Photo by kris_81

 Here's how it went down:

"My son found an old bottle about 8 hours later under his bed and drank it," says combster in Answers. "He's been throwing up since, about once or twice an hour. Is this due to the bottle or just unlucky timing of having a stomach bug?"

Should combster be concerned? Call her doc? What would you do if your child drank old or left-out-too-long milk? I asked Teresa Wagner, and registered dietitian and ambassador for the National Dairy CouncilShould a mom should freak out if this happens?

"Chances are, the child won’t get sick from drinking spoiled milk, but the taste and smell may initiate a gag-reflex," says Wagner, which may explain combster's son throwing up. 

What should we do?

"If the child is vomiting, it is mostly likely due to the taste or smell of spoiled milk.  Rinse his/her mouth out with water and sit calmly until he/she feels better."

What are signs that something more serious is going on?

"According to National Institutes of Health, most cases of food borne illness symptoms resemble the flu and may last a few hours or even several days. See a doctor right away if your child has any of the following symptoms with diarrhea:

  • High fever—temperature over 101.5°, measured orally;
  • Blood in the stools;
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days;
  • Prolonged vomiting that prevents keeping liquid down and can lead to dehydration;
  • Signs of severe dehydration, such as dry mouth, sticky saliva, decreased urination, dizziness, fatigue, sunken eyes, low blood pressure, or increased heart rate and breathing rate;
  • Signs of shock, such as weak or rapid pulse or shallow breathing;
  • Confusion or difficulty reasoning.

 Of course, getting those bottles and sippys back in the fridge as soon as possible -- definitely not leaving them out longer than two hours -- is the best way to avoid all of this. 

At refrigerator temperatures, the microbes normally found in milk are inactive -- a function of pasteurization.

But, when milk is left at room temperature for a long period of time, the microbes “wake up” and start producing acid that makes the milk curdle and smell sour -- and taste absolutely yucky!

Warm milk -- and room temperature juice for that matter -- is also the perfect environment for bacteria that found it's way to the bottle or spout to grow and fester, possibly leading to illness.

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DivaG DivaG

EWWW. Poor thing. Toddlers can put the most disgusting things in their mouths. I know mine surprised me on occasion with what they could even get close to, let alone put it in their mouths.

Lelan... LelandsMommy

I leave it out until my kid drinks it... usually no longer than a couple hours, but somtimes he gets distracted and his cuppy sits around for much longer. However, if he ever complains that it's "icky" or I see that the milk is curdeling, then I throw it away, and get him a fresh drink.

MNMom... MNMom247365

We leave juice out for several hours, but milk doesn't last long enough once in the cup to go bad in my house, lol! The kids drink it so fast I doubt it could ever go bad that fast, lol!


Poor baby who drank the bad milk, I hope he is ok.

three... threeBoysMommy

I only give him a cup when he is asking for it. He drinks them right away. I give less milk in a cup then water because water doesnt spoil. The water cup is out all day long, since there isnt anything else in there. He seems to like warmer water then cold water... which is better for you anyhow. He really isnt a "milk" child. He drinks Milk with breakfast and lunch. He has another around bedtime but for the most part he loves water. BTW he is two years old.

Angel... Angellinda

I think that happens more then we know!! His System should be able to process that no problem if there's more to it.. Go in or At least Call on his Symptoms! Don't be  hard on yourself!! Once I must have Shoved/ hidden A Bottle on my Daughter & we found it by accident one year later!! She got All Excited & grabbed it & sucked on it! It Was Cute & Funny... But Babies love their Bottles!! I hope Both of you feel Fine soon!!

scarl... scarlett0720

I was watching a two year old little girl during the day and her parents would drop her off with a sippy cup full of strawberry milk. Well, she never drank the whole thing so I would always rinse it out and put on the counter for them to take home. Well, one day I forgot to rinse it out - I put it on the counter so she couldn't get it, but I forgot to rinse it out. Well, when they picked her up I said, "Oh, I forgot to rinse it out! Hold on and I'll do it real quick." Her Mom just took it from me and said, "That's OK, don't worry about it." Her daughter then looked up at her and said "I want my milk". So her mother gave her the cup with the milk that had been sitting there since this morning and she finished drinking it and gave her mom her cup back! While I'm standing there with my mouth hanging open because I could not believe she just did that!

DawnA72 DawnA72

I always keep my son's milk cup in the refrigerator. He knows it's there.  When he wants some he lets me know.  He's really cute because he will knock on the refrigerator door, drink some milk, and put the cup back inside where it was.


I never leave his milk sitting out longer than the duration of a meal.  Immediately after a meal the cup goes back into the refrigerator until he wants it again.

mrsgibbs mrsgibbs

my chick has found a missing cup and sipped it before...she didn't throw up or anything. i washed her mouth out b/c sour milk is FUNKY! Now i do searches several times a day to find missing cups, as we have 2 on sippies and they frequently come up missing

wyatt... wyatt_ks_mom

during the say i always change his cup no matter what is in it and at night time i give him milk and he falls asleep the milk is still there in the am and he goes and takes a sip and says bad juice so i know he would never drink it if it was old so i have no worries...

Bobby... BobbysMom2007

I do the same thing as DawnA72.  My son at 15 mos already knows that drinks stay in the fridge, so whenever he's thirsty, he'll make the sign for "more" and go to the fridge (and try to open it).  If he has a sippy in there, he'll grab it off the middle shelf.  If not, he points to the top shelf where we keep the milk and juice.  I do allow him to carry a sippy of water around the house, though.  It may taste kinda gross the next day, but certainly won't hurt him.

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