Freezing Breast Milk

06 May 2012 / 1 comment

When you are nursing your baby in the beginning, you might just be happy that there is milk coming in and that baby learned to latch on! But what you might want to consider doing is expressing the extra breast milk in the beginning stages of nursing so you have an extra supply in the freezer for emergencies. It will also ensure that milk production will remain high if you use all of it up. How can you safely store milk to last a long time in the future? Freeze breast milk and it can last for weeks or even months when it is properly stored and labeled.

  • After your baby is born and the milk comes in, it will usually come in with gusto. Take advantage of that excess milk and pump it when your baby cannot finish drinking it all. The extra milk can be stored and used in case you are gone and someone else has to feed the baby or if you have a case where your milk dries up early. Expressing milk early in the breastfeeding stage could also help to keep the milk production high, since your body will see that what is produced is used and not absorbed back in to your body. It’s like any supply and demand process – if it is used up then more will be produced to make up for the loss of milk. domain archive . Place the milk right in to the freezer so it will be used towards the end of your breastfeeding days or when you need to thaw it for someone else to feed the baby.

freeze breast milk

How long can frozen breast milk last?

  • Breast milk that is expressed and placed in to the freezer can last for several months safely. If it was collected and then immediately placed in the freezer, then it will be safe for the longest amount of time. Milk that was collected and stored in a refrigerator and then placed in the freezer should only be kept for a few weeks before using or discarding. How do you know when to throw out the milk?

Make sure to mark your bags with date and time

  • As you are collecting breast milk with a pump, write the time and date on the bags. It might seem tedious, especially in the beginning when all you seem to be doing is nursing or pumping, but it will be worth it. When you are two months down the road and looking for a bag to thaw out to feed the baby, you will immediately know which bag to grab and use first.
  • As you store the bags in the freezer, place the newest bags in the back. The oldest bags will be in the front, therefore whenever you are in search of a bag, grab the first ones you see. But if the filing system ever gets out of order, the time and date written on the front will help you know how to reorganize them or which ones to pull out and use first.

Bags of breast milk placed in a refrigerator will also help you to know when you can no longer use it. If you had planned on using it that night, but ended up nursing and baby didn’t need additional milk from a bottle, then it probably will sit in there until the next day or so. Instead of remembering it in two days and guessing when you expressed it, you will know just by seeing the time stamp on the bag. If it passes the 24 hour mark, then you might want to throw it out or considering placing in the freezer. Milk only lasts so long without being frozen and you don’t want to take a chance on having it go bad before feeding time.

 

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Written by Stefanie Azzari

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