Freezing breast milk is a necessity at times. It could be to do with your schedule or the fact that you have an oversupply of milk and your baby cannot keep up. It could be because you have gone back to work and the breast milk is used to feed your child during work hours. Regardless of the reason, there is no denying that it can make life easier for both you and your baby.
The most important thing to remember about breast milk is that fresh is always best, but frozen breast milk is still adequate for baby to provide their nutritional requirements. It is important to know that breast milk once thawed, should be consumed or thrown out. Never refreeze breast milk once it has been thawed.
Once the milk has been expressed, it can stay at room temperature for up to 6 hours – after this time it needs to be stored in the refrigerator or placed in the freezer.
How do I freeze breast milk?
You can pour the milk into clean bottles or in plastic bottle-liner bags. Do not fill right to the top as the liquid can expand when frozen. It is best to store in small portions so it can thaw faster. Don’t forget to label the bottle or bag with the date as it can be only kept for up to six months in a regular fridge/freezer. Store it in the coldest section of the freezer and only take it out when you are ready to thaw it and feed your baby.
How do you thaw frozen breast milk?
If your breast milk has been placed in the freezer, then you can put it in the fridge overnight to thaw. This will reduce the time it takes to warm it up. It may separate during the defrosting period. If this occurs, give it a gentle swirl to mix the layers together.
Alternatively, you can run it under warm water or place it in a bowl of warm water. Try to avoid overheating it. Luke warm is always better than hot to maintain the nutritional value of the milk.
Do not use the microwave to defrost your milk or warm it up.
During this method, the temperature can be difficult to control and may scald your baby’s mouth. Microwaving the milk can also destroy the enzymes and immune properties of the milk.