Make sure the freezer is at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit so you can safely store your breast milk for up to 6 months.
Any breastfeeding mom is aware that the proper storage of milk is vital to maintain its freshness and nutritional qualities.
You can store frozen milk in the separate freezer compartment of your fridge for up to 4 months. If you use a deep freezer, you can store the milk for longer.
The CDC has issued guidelines on storing and freezing breast milk. Follow these guidelines to ensure that the stored breast milk is safe for consumption.
This article will guide you through efficient ways to organize breast milk in the freezer. It will also guide you on the right way to store the milk.
Storing Breast Milk
If you keep breast milk at room temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it will stay safe for almost 4 hours. If you are placing containers in the fridge with temperatures of 39 degrees Fahrenheit, it will last up to 3 days.
The long-term storage solution is to place the breast milk in the freezer at temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit. This will extend its consumption quality up to 6 whole months, depending on where you store it.
Avoid keeping it in the side freezer door since it is susceptible to temperature changes. The best place to keep it is in the back, where the temperature remains stable.
Once you have expressed the milk and sealed it for storage, label the container with the date. Arrange the containers in the order of oldest to newest. Use the oldest milk first.
There are various containers that work well for storing breast milk. Opt for sterile BPA-free bags or food containers designed for freezer storage. You will also find FDA-approved storage bags for breast milk.
Whatever you choose, ensure that the storage device makes a tight seal.
Also, you should only store milk sufficient for a single feeding. Store your expressed breast milk in amounts of 2 to 4 ounces. Since it is not recommended to refreeze breast milk after it has been thawed, storage in small amounts reduces wastage.
How to Organize Breast Milk in the Freezer?
Your freezer does not have to be a chaotic mess with your many breast milk bags. You can organize them efficiently to save space while keeping track of them. There is no reason you have to toss out your other freezer items to make space for the milk.
Here are some easy tips on how to organize breast milk in the freezer.
Freeze It Flat
If you are using freezer bags or any sort of bag to store the breast milk, you do not want it to freeze lumpy. Lay down the bags so that the milk freezes flat. This gives you some serious mileage space-wise.
You can place the bags on a sheet pan to freeze and move them to whichever organizational container you want.
Storage bins in the freezer are a space saver. They keep your bags of breast milk organized and easily accessible. You can find storage bins or trays designed to fit your freezer. You can also look for an organizer designed to store breast milk.
Arrange your bags upright according to date to know which one to grab first.
If you do not want to spend money purchasing a container, you can use your empty soda box to organize your breast milk bags or bottles. Trim down the box to fit your freezer and arrange the breast milk in neat lines.
You can also use other boxes, such as diaper boxes, tissue boxes, shoe boxes, etc., to organize your bottles or bags.
If you do not want to keep your breast milk in bags, you can opt for freezer-friendly bottles with tight lids. However, these take up a lot of space. They are not an ideal storage solution if you have one freezer for everything.
You can categorize your smaller breast milk bags into larger storage bags. Tag the big bags with dates and place them according to the order of use.
Keep them upright in your freezer to conserve space.
You can also opt for the fun gift bags to organize your stash of breast milk. You can either stack the bags individually or place the larger ones in the gift bag for quick access.
You can create a DIY breast milk dispenser if you cut away the bottom panel of the gift bag. This slit will allow you to easily grab the oldest milk from the bottom without a fuss.
Ice Cube Trays
Ice cube trays are easily stackable. They are space-efficient and a neat way to measure out how much milk you need. You will find dedicated ice cube trays for breast milk where each cube holds an exact amount of milk.
You can also use regular ice cube trays to freeze your breast milk. However, you will need to measure how much each cube holds to pop out the exact number of cubes when required.
Clear out a section of your freezer for storing breast milk. This will allow you to group the storage bags efficiently. You will also not end up grabbing bags of frozen peas every time you stick your hand in that drawer.
A dedicated drawer will ensure quick and easy access to the breast milk bags when required.
If you are pumping out large quantities of milk, you should consider getting a dedicated freezer.
This will be great for organizing your stash of breast milk, and you will not have to worry about moving your other frozen items from the fridge. You will be able to easily reach into the dedicated freezer to grab a bag when needed.
How to Use Frozen Breast Milk?
When you are ready to use frozen breast milk, reach for the oldest bag first. Take it out and thaw it overnight in the fridge. If you are in a hurry and need it immediately, you can place the bag under lukewarm water to thaw.
However, don’t microwave the bag as this may destroy the milk’s nutritional composition. It is also advised against as there is a risk of scalding your baby’s mouth.
To warm the refrigerated milk, place it in a lukewarm bowl of water. However, this is not necessary. Breast milk can be fed cold or at room temperature. If you are warming it up, do the wrist test to gauge the milk’s temperature before feeding the bottle to your baby.
Thawed milk in the fridge should be used within 24 hours. Frozen milk that has been warmed should be consumed within 2 hours. You should toss away any milk that remains after the 2-hour window. It is also not advised to refreeze thawed milk.
In storage, the breast milk separates into water and fat layers. So before you feed your baby, swirl the bottle to get the proper consistency.
FAQs on How to Organize Breast Milk in Freezer
What does frozen milk look like?
Frozen milk may look different than freshly expressed breast milk. The color and consistency are dependent on your food intake and medications. When you freeze milk, it can appear green, slightly yellow, or yellow-orange.
Does long-term storage of breast milk reduce its nutritional quality?
Various research studies have shown that long-term storage of human milk results in a change in nutrient content. Fresh milk is packed with beneficial antioxidants. The strength of these antioxidants reduces when breast milk is stored.
Can I move refrigerated milk to the freezer for later use?
It is not advisable if the milk has remained in the fridge for a few days. Once your breast milk has stayed in the refrigerator for 4 days, you should toss it away. You should freeze it immediately if it won’t be in use in a few days.