After pumping for awhile, you will probably be able to stockpile a large amount of breastmilk in your freezer to use while you are at work or away from your baby for the evening. When it’s time to use your breastmilk, it’s important to thaw it correctly in order to keep it safe and healthy for your little one.
How to Safely Freeze Your Breast Milk
After you are finished pumping, immediately pour your breast milk into a plastic storage bag or bottle. Leave about one inch of room at the top of the container in order to allow for the milk to expand while it freezes. Carefully seal the container and label it with the date that it was pumped. Store it in the back of the freezer until you are ready to use it; storing it in the door or close to the front of the freezer can make the milk too warm.
Simple Ways to Thaw Your Breast Milk
There are several ways to thaw your breast milk. The method you choose will depend on whether you want to use your breast milk to feed your baby immediately or whether you want to slowly thaw it in order to use in several hours.
Warm Water Method
Warm up a cup or bowl of water and place the bag or bottle of breast milk in the water. Don’t remove the breast milk from the bag or bottle. Allow it to remain in the warm water, changing it if necessary, until the milk is thawed and warm. This method typically takes 30 minutes to thaw the milk completely.
Run warm water over the bag or bottle for several seconds. Next, place the container of breast milk into the refrigerator, which will allow it to slowly thaw over the next 12 hours. Milk thawed in the refrigerator must be used within 24 hours.
Thawing Breast Milk Do’s and Don’ts
Do Freeze Your Breast Milk in Small Portions
Try freezing your milk in two- or four-ounce portions. This will allow the milk to freeze faster and will help prevent you from thawing too much milk at one time.
Don’t Ever Thaw Breast Milk in a Microwave
Microwaves will create “hot spots” in your breast milk, which can potentially burn your little one’s mouth when they drink their bottle. These hot spots can also destroy your breast milk’s unique enzymes and immune properties.
Don’t Re-Freeze Your Breast Milk Once its Thawed
It can be devastating to dump out milk you worked so hard to pump, but if your milk has been out of the freezer for 24 hours, it’s best to throw it out. Never re-freeze it as this allows bacteria to grow.
Pumping is a wonderful way to provide your little one nutritious breast milk while you are away from him or her. Ameda offers a variety of breast milk storage bottles and bags, safe for use in the freezer, to make storing your excess milk as easy and convenient as possible. With Ameda’s breast milk storage solutions and these directions on hand, you’ll have no problem correctly thawing your breast milk to preserve the nutrients and vitamins and to keep your baby safe.