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Baby Feeding

Can warmed breast milk be refrigerated again?

by Bella Bairn 23 Oct 2022 0 Comments
Breast Milk Defrost

If you're asking yourself, "Can warmed breast milk be refrigerated again?" this article is for you. Remember to read to the end so you don't miss anything. Thaw means to miss the icing or freeze of the substance. This is different from cooling, and Freezers can do this.

As a mother who breastfeeds, you know how hard it can be to pump and store your milk correctly. Safe storage rules are hard to follow when you're half asleep after a 3 a.m. feed or running late for a 10 a.m. meeting, so you don't want that valuable liquid gold to go to waste. What happens if you heat a bottle of expressed milk that was kept in the fridge and your baby doesn't finish it? The answer will depend on several things. Learn more by reading on.

Can warmed breast milk be refrigerated again? 

If you warm breast milk, you can give it to your child once it is at room temperature. If your baby does not finish a feeding, you should throw away the leftover breast milk in the bottle. Warmed breast milk CAN NOT be refrigerated again. Although it's not well known, refrigeration can slow the growth of some bacteria. Doctors do not recommend refrigerating heated milk. This is because some of the nutrients inside the milk have been changed by the heat. Mom should always check to see if your milk has spoiled before heating it every time.

How long can fresh breast milk be stored?

The length of time breast milk can be safely stored depends on the storage method.

  • Room temperature(>25℃):  Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 hours. However, it is best to consume it within 4 hours or store it properly.
  • Insulated Refrigerated Box: Can be kept in an insulated cooler with ice packs for one day.
  • Refrigerator cooling zone: Can be kept in cooling zone for two days. But we recommand to drink it in one day.
  • Refrigerator freezer zone: Can be kept freezer zone 12 months. But frozen breast milk is best consumed within six months.

Keep in mind that studies have shown that the longer breast milk is stored, the greater the antibody loss, whether it is stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Also, be sure to note that breast milk changes as your baby grows. The breast milk that a mother expresses when her baby is first born will not fully meet the needs of her child when he or she reaches a few months of age. In addition, the guidelines for storing breast milk may be different for babies who are born prematurely, sick or hospitalized.

Why Should I Let My Breast Milk Defrost?

  1. Freshness and nutrition are at their best when breast milk is frozen within an hour of being pumped. This locks in all the milk's freshness and nutrients while they are at their best. They will stay that way until you take the milk out of the freezer.
  2. Natural and free of preservatives: Milk that has been frozen needs not to have preservatives because freezing is a natural way to store food.
  3. Flexibility: Breastfeeding your child every time can be stressful, but you can warm up milk that has already been thawed and give it to your child. Also, this will help your child get to know more people. While busy or at work, someone else can feed your child.
  4. You can keep it for a long time: Breast milk that has been thawed can also be held in the freezer for six months to a year without losing its nutrition or freshness.
freeze breast milk

How to freeze breast milk

Here are some safe ways to freeze breast milk:

  •  Put your breast milk in the freezer as soon as possible after expressing it.
  • Pressed milk can be added to breast milk that has already been frozen, as long as the milk you want to add has been cooled in the fridge first. Don't mix frozen milk with milk that is at room temperature.
  • Store your milk in small amounts for easier thawing and less waste (less than 60 ml). After defrosting, these can be mixed
  • Make sure your breast milk storage containers can go in the freezer. Some products, like glass bottles, can break at very low temperatures.
  • Don't fill bottles or bags more than three-quarters full because breast milk expands when it freezes.
  • Store breast milk is frozen at the back of the freezer, where the temperature stays the same. Please keep it away from the walls of freezers that can defrost on their own.

Getting frozen breast milk out of the fridge

Breast milk can take up to 12 hours to thaw in the fridge, so plan. You might want to put a full day's worth of frozen breast milk in the fridge each night, so it's ready to use the next day. To thaw frozen breast milk in the refrigerator, do the following:

  1. Take the frozen breast out of the bag or bottle and put it on a plate.
  2. Put it inside the fridge.
  3. Wait until the frozen milk goes back to being liquid.
  4. Use the milk within 24 hours after it has been thawed.
  5. Breast milk that has been thawed for 24 hours should not be frozen again.

Breast milk can be thawed in a bowl of warm water

You can quickly thaw frozen breast milk in a bowl of warm (not hot) water. This method takes about 20 minutes if you watch the water and change it when it gets too cool. This is how:

  1. Pour warm water into a bowl or pan.
  2. Put the frozen breast milk container into the water. Please make sure the water level in the breast milk bottle is below the top to keep it from getting dirty
  3. When the water cools, pour it out and fill it with warm water.
  4. Keep doing this until the breast milk isn't frozen anymore.
  5. Once the milk is no longer frozen, put it in the fridge or keep warming it up so your child can drink it.

Letting frozen breast milk melt in moving water

The quickest way to get breast milk out of the freezer is to hold it under a faucet with warm water running. You can do the following:

  1. Put the container (or bag) under cold running water to start.
  2. Gradually raise the temperature of the running water, but don't let it get too hot.
  3. Hold the container under warm water until the milk is no longer frozen.

Breast milk that has been thawed doesn't always smell very good. It can also taste like soapy metal.

It doesn't mean the milk is sour if this happens. The milk smells and tastes strangely ominous because it has an enzyme called lipase. Lipase breaks down the fats in milk while it is being stored. You can still give the milk to your baby, but if your child doesn't like how it tastes, they may not drink it.

Getting thawed breast milk ready to use

Getting thawed breast milk ready to use

You can give your baby breast milk that has been thawed right out of the fridge, or you can warm it up to room temperature or body temperature. If you need to warm up your breast milk, you can put it in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes, hold it under warm running water, or use a bottle warmer.

You shouldn't heat breast milk in the microwave or a pot of boiling water on the stove. It's essential to warm your breast milk properly so your baby's mouth and throat don't get burned.

Once the milk is warm, give the container a gentle shake to mix any layers that may have separated. Check the milk's temperature before you provide it to your baby. Pour a few drops on the inside of your wrist to do this. It should feel neither too hot nor too cold. It shouldn't be very warm or freezing. 

The Risks of Using the Stove and Microwave

It would be best if you didn't use a microwave oven to thaw a container of frozen milk or warm it up. Some of the healthy things in breast milk can be destroyed by the high heat from a microwave. Microwaves can also heat in a way that isn't even, which can cause hot spots in the breast milk. Your baby's mouth and throat can get burned by these hot spots.

Heat breast milk on the stove is also not a good idea. Putting a bag or container of breast milk in a pot of boiling water on the stove can cause it to get too hot. Overheating milk can kill the good things in it and make it too hot for your child to drink.

baby drink milk

How to Safely Handle Breast Milk That Has Been Warmed

If you know how to handle and use your breast milk safely, it won't go bad or become a place where bacteria can grow. Here are some tips:

  • Once the breast milk has been warmed, you can give it to your child immediately or put it back in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  • Warm breast milk shouldn't be left out at room temperature.
  • It shouldn't be frozen again.
  • If your baby doesn't drink all the breast milk in the bottle, you should throw it away.
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