There are different factors that affect how long can humans’ milk be healthy for babies. These factors include milk volume, temperature fluctuations in the freezer, and the room temperature when the milk is pumped. By reading this article, you’ll figure out the best way to store breastmilk in the freezer. Moreover, by storing breastmilk properly, you can maintain the safety and quality of the breastmilk for your baby’s health.
Milk that has just been pumped can only be left at room temperature for 4 hours. It is safe for babies to feed for up to 4 days if you keep it in the refrigerator. If you store it in the freezer, then it is safe for babies within 6 months.
When defrosting the breastmilk, leave it on the countertop for up to 1-2 hours only. It can last up to 24 hours only if you store it in the refrigerator. If you’re planning to refreeze the breastmilk, don’t. It’s not healthy for the baby anymore.
If the baby cannot finish the breastmilk, then the leftover is only safe for the baby to consume within 2 hours tops.
Here are tips after you’ve finished pumping breastmilk:
- Use milk storage bags. Another container that can be used is a food-grade container that is able to store breastmilk. Moreover, the containers should have a tight lid made of glass or plastic.
- Do not store breastmilk in disposable containers that are not suitable for breastmilk such as bottle liners or plastic bags.
Store breastmilk tips
- On the breastmilk container, write the date. You may identify which breastmilk is the oldest with this.
- Placing the breastmilk on the refrigerator’s door is a no – this will expose it to a change in temperatures upon opening and closing the refrigerator’s door.
- There’s no telling how much your baby can consume in one feeding. Therefore, store small amounts (2 ounces) only in breastmilk containers.
- If you are traveling, you can still store breastmilk with frozen ice packs. However, this only lasts for 24 hours. Hence, upon arrival, use the milk right away or store it in the refrigerator or keep it in the freezer.
Breastmilk thawing tips
- Use the oldest breastmilk first, the quality of the breastmilk can be bad over time.
- Don’t defrost the breastmilk in the microwave, this can destroy the nutrients that are good for the baby.
- Don’t put thawed milk back in the freezer.
- If you defrost the breastmilk in the refrigerator, then use it within 24 hours. Start counting from the moment the breastmilk is thawed.
Feeding the baby
- Breastmilk doesn’t necessarily have to be warm – it’s okay to feed the baby at room temperature or cold.
- Shake the breastmilk before feeding to mix the fat, it may have separated during storage.
Finally, clean the feeding items
- To keep the baby safe, sanitize and clean the bottles along with the pump equipment to prevent contamination.