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At some point on your breastfeeding journey you may choose to freeze your breastmilk. But where do you start?
With the right system in place, you can ensure that your breast milk stash is safe and easy to access when you need it. In this post, I’ll share some tips to store breast milk in the freezer.
How to organize frozen breast milk
Tip #1: Label your containers
The first step to breast milk storage in the freezer is to label every breast milk bag. Use a permanent marker or special labels designed for breast milk storage containers to label each container with the date and time that the milk was pumped. This will help you keep track of which milk to use first and ensure that you don’t accidentally use expired milk.
Tip #2: Use a storage system
Consider using a storage system that allows you to easily access and rotate your milk. One popular option is to use plastic bins or baskets in the freezer.
Label each container with the date and time, and place them in the bin or basket in chronological order. This will allow you to quickly grab the oldest milk when you need it, without having to dig through all the milk storage bags.
haakaa Reusable Silicone Breastmilk Storage Bag(9oz,10pk) Bottle Cleaning Brush Set
Binki and Baby Reusable Breastmilk Storage Bags with Storage Trays
Milkies Milk-Saver and Freeze Breastfeeding Bundle to Save and Freeze Leaking Breast Milk
Tip #3: Try flat, stackable storage bags
Another option is to use flat, stackable bags to freeze and store breastmilk. Breastmilk storage bags will take up less space in the freezer, can be easily labeled and organized, and allow you to freeze breast milk flat.
Once you’ve filled the bag with milk, lay it in the freezer until it’s frozen flat and solid. Then, you can stack the bags flat and on top of each other in the freezer.
Remember: If you are transferring milk from a bottle into a bag try to remove the air to increase storage capacity as well as help preserve the milk in the bag.
Tip #4: Consider a dedicated freezer
If you have a large stash of breast milk, consider using a separate freezer just to store milk in. This will allow you to keep your breast milk bags more organized and separate from other foods in your freezer. You can use the same organization tips mentioned above, but with the added benefit of having a dedicated space.
Tip #5: Know when to discard
It’s important to know when to discard your breast milk. Breast milk can be stored in the freezer for anywhere up to six months, but it’s important to check the expiration date on each container before using it. If it smells or tastes off, or if there are any visible changes in the milk, it’s best to discard it.
Tip #6: Use a first-in, first-out system
To ensure that you’re using your oldest milk first, consider using a first-in, first-out system. This means placing the newest milk at the back of the freezer and the other milk at the front. This way, you’ll always be using the correct milk first and won’t have to worry about accidentally using and that’s expired.
Tip #7: Use a separate shelf or drawer
If you have a large freezer, consider using a separate shelf or drawer just to store your breast milk. This will help you keep your milk organized and separate from other foods in your own freezer space. It will also make it easier to see and access your milk when you need it.
Tip #8: Use a freezer inventory
Consider using a freezer inventory to keep track of each storage bag of breast milk. This can be as simple as a piece of paper or a spreadsheet that lists each container of your breast milk storage bags, and the date it was pumped. This will help you keep track of how much breast milk you have in store and when it needs to be used.
Tip #9: Freeze in small quantities
Consider freezing your breast milk in small quantities, such as 2-4 ounces per container. This will make it easier to thaw and use just the amount of milk you need, without wasting any.
Tip #10: Use a deep freezer
If you have a large freezer stash full of breast milk, consider using a deep freezer instead of or alongside a standard freezer.
Deep freezers are designed to maintain a constant temperature, which can help preserve the quality of your breast milk and are ideal for long term storage. They also tend to have more space, which can be helpful if you have a lot of frozen milk around to store. Assess how much milk you want to deep freeze and how much to put in the regular freezer.
How long can I freeze breastmilk?
|Room Temperature (77°F or colder)
|Up to 4 hours
|Up to 4 days, but best used within 3 days
|Freezer (0°F or colder)
|Up to 6 months, but best used within 3 months
|Deep Freezer (-4°F or colder)
|Up to 12 months
It’s important to note that these are general storage guidelines and that the quality of breast milk can vary depending on factors such as the age and health of the mother, the storage conditions, and the method of storage.
Remember: don’t store breastmilk in the freezer door – it is much safer at the back of the freezer.
Always check the expiration date on each container before using the milk and discard any milk that smells or tastes off, or that has any visible changes in the milk.
Why do moms freeze their breast milk?
There are many reasons why moms might choose to freeze their breast milk. For example, moms who are returning to work or school, but still want their babies to receive breast milk, may be exclusively pumping. They can pump directly into leak proof breastmilk bags and keep the milk frozen for later use.
Freezing breast milk can also be helpful for moms who experience engorgement or have an oversupply of milk. Additionally, freezing breast milk can be a great way to create a backup supply of more milk for times when mom might not be able to breastfeed, such as during travel or illness.
Whatever the reason, freezing breast milk can be a convenient and practical way to save time and ensure that your baby receives the best possible nutrition.
Organizing and storing breast milk in the freezer doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these tips, you can ensure that your milk is safe and easy to access when you need it. Remember to label your containers, use a storage system that works for you, and know when to discard your milk.
With a little bit of planning and organization, you can make the most of your breast milk and provide your baby with the best possible nutrition.
Have questions? I have answers.
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