I can see what people search when they wind up on my blog and some common search terms have to do with using breast milk and specifically frozen milk. So…here goes a blog on how I used my frozen stash of liquid gold!
When I went to a breastfeeding class that the Air Force Base hosted for free I received a refrigerator guide magnet that had the guidelines for using milk. It was VERY helpful when using fresh milk. However, it did not provide as much guidance for using frozen milk.
As I started to get a good stash we bought a small deep freezer. Boy am I glad we did! I was very lucky and produced a lot of milk. We did not need to use formula at all with her until recently as we started to wean. See my blog on doing that here: http://wp.me/p6P8Lo-3S
My routine for milk was as follows: Anything I would pump “extra” for the next day I would freeze. So when this first started I was taking 3 or 4 5oz bottle to daycare with her. So I would freeze anything over 15 oz. Her daycare has a little bit stricter guidelines than what is “recommended.” Freshly expressed milk was good for 48 hours only (for daycare purposes). Thawed guidelines are the same-use within 24 hours.
When I thaw milk for immediate use I simply run it under warm water as shown below.
I recommend only doing this method when using milk for immediate use. Since thawed milk has a much shorter life than fresh milk I was always worried it would go to waste.
Using frozen milk for her daycare I would take out the milk a full day ahead. For instance, on Sunday morning I would take out milk that she needed for Monday. I make her bottles at night for the next day and it takes awhile for milk to thaw. To thaw this way, see picture below. It is very easy!
As I mentioned, I took mine out a full day early. This probably depends on whether your milk is in a deep freezer or a refrigerator freezer AND how cold your refrigerator is. It seemed like it took mine FOREVER to thaw.
For fresh milk it is considered safe to refrigerate warmed milk if it is not used within an hour. Example: I pump at 9am. I warm up that milk at 1pm. She doesn’t drink 2 oz of what I warmed up. That milk can go back in the refrigerator by 2pm. It needs to be used within 24 hours after being warmed up though. So at 1pm the next day that milk must be used. I never used this rule of thumb with thawed milk. I do not think it is considered as safe. I would just say be cautious of how much milk you thaw so you do not waste it!
Whenever she doesn’t drink any kind of milk…fresh, thawed, a mix of formula and thawed, I follow the one hour guide to be safe. If she doesn’t drink all of the milk I will try again about 45 minutes later. Some of the time that works. Some babies are also picky about temperatures. Too hot or too cold. So I’m sure that is part of it sometimes also. If I warmed it up too much the cooling down makes her want it more. Others I end up throwing out 3-4 oz 😦
I hope this was helpful for those new moms who don’t want to waste their milk. It is a precious thing, that breast milk!