Storing frozen breastmilk is one of the best ways to keep your milk supply fresh if you have more than your baby needs! Whether you are adding in extra pumping sessions to build up a freezer stash or simply want to store some away for a rainy day, here are 5 tips to get the most out of your frozen breastmilk storage.
1. Follow Proper Storage Recommendations
The most important part of storing frozen breastmilk is making sure that it is actually usable when you need it! CDC guidelines suggest using your frozen breast milk within 6 months of storing for the best quality, but at least within 12 months.
However, this also depends on what type of freezer you are using for storage. For example, a deep freezer is the best option to keep your breast milk the longest. But, if you are storing frozen breastmilk in a typical fridge/freezer combo, you may find that it’s best to use it within 6 months. This is because the temperature of a deep freezer is regulated much better.
2. Use the Correct Storage Containers
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you are using storage containers that are specifically used for freezing. One example of this is Junobie’s milk bags. These reusable pouches are both fridge and freezer safe, making it easy to store your breastmilk safely for long periods of time. Other options could be baby bottles or jars that are freezer-safe. These breast milk storage cups and mason jars are the perfect options to store larger amounts of breast milk at a time!
You should also make sure that whatever container you use is properly sealed so that it won’t leak or let any contaminants into the container.
3. Test the Breast Milk Before Using It
There are a few ways to test if the milk is still safe to feed your baby when storing frozen breastmilk. For example, you can look for chunks or if the milk is separated (however, remember that breast milk will naturally separate so you should swirl the milk around before looking for this sign).
Another way you can check is by smelling or tasting it. Mom Loves Best explains that this may not be reliable due to the lipase in breast milk. If you want to be sure, you can check out the steps in this article for testing whether your breast milk has high lipase levels or not.
4. Don’t Refreeze Breast Milk
Once you’re ready to use your supply, don’t try to refreeze any leftovers! The temperature fluctuations from moving in and out of frozen temperatures mean that the milk might not be safe for your baby to drink if you were to thaw it a second time.
Once breast milk has been thawed to room temperature, you should use it within two hours. Or, if you thaw it in the fridge, you have up to 24 hours to use it!
But, if you end up having extra breast milk leftover, you have a few options to still put it to good use!
5. Find Other Ways to Use Bad Frozen Breast Milk
Whether you know for sure your breast milk has gone bad, it’s been over 12 months, or your baby no longer needs your frozen stash, storing frozen breastmilk does not have to be a waste!
For example, breast milk has tons of beneficial qualities to help heal rashes, scrapes, and other minor skin issues. You can apply frozen breast milk directly to the wound or put some in your baby’s bath!
Another great way to use expired breast milk is to turn it into breast milk jewelry. For example, Empowered Mama has a variety of rings, necklaces, and bracelets to help you preserve the memories of your breastfeeding journey.
Learning About Storing Frozen Breastmilk
Overall, there are definitely a few key takeaways in order to keep your breast milk in top condition. As long as you are storing properly in the correct containers, you shouldn’t have any issues! But, if you end up having milk you can’t use, you can still save it and put it to good use in another way.
Want to learn about storing breastmilk in the fridge? Check out this blog post!
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