So… can I refreeze my breast milk?

Curious about freezing and refreezing breast milk? We've got you covered mama! Sure you can refreeze your breast milk. But should you?

Breast milk is the liquid gold standard of nutrients and antibodies for your little one. But what about those times when you need to stash it away for later? We're here to help you navigate the ins and outs of storing and refreezing that liquid gold.

Key Takeaways

Proper storage isn't just about keeping things organized, it's about maintaining the superhero status of your breast milk. Think of it as a shield against contamination risks while ensuring your baby gets a nutritional jackpot. Ever heard of the CDC? They're like the superheroes of health guidelines. Follow their lead – refrigerate like a pro, freeze like a champ! A clean space is a happy space, so keep it pristine to avoid any unwelcome guests (we're talking bacteria).

Freezing is like hitting pause on a Netflix show – it extends the excitement, but only within limits! Too much of a good thing can be, well, not so good. Refreezing? Not the best idea. Thaw only what your little one will sip in one go – we're preserving quality, not creating a buffet. If your precious liquid gold has been chilling at room temperature for more than two hours, it's time to say goodbye. If your breast milk smells funky, looks odd, or has developed a chunky texture, it might be time to bid farewell. Trust those instincts, mama!

Remember, you're a superhero in your baby's eyes and every drop of that liquid gold matters.

Understanding the Importance of Proper Breast Milk Storage

Did you know that proper storage maintains breast milk’s nutritional value and minimizes contamination risk. Your baby deserves the best, and correct storage ensures they get it!

When you express your breast milk, it contains essential nutrients, antibodies, and enzymes that provide so many health benefits to your baby. Improper storage can lead to the loss of these valuable nutritional components, multiplying harmful bacteria can multiply, and even pose a risk to your baby’s health!

Proper storage is key to maintaining its quality and safety. Learn the ropes to prevent bacterial growth and keep it as nutritious as possible for your little one.

Guidelines for Storing Breast Milk

Follow the CDC guidelines – refrigerate for up to four days, freeze for even longer. And for freezing, choose those handy breast milk storage bags. They're thick, durable, and freezer-safe!

Know the proper rotation of your frozen stash by labeling your storage bags with the date and time of expression. You’ll prevent unnecessary waste by using your oldest milk first.

Clean hands and clean containers are a must! Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before expression to prevent spreading bacteria to your breast milk. Cleaning and sanitizing your containers with warm soapy water and rinsing them thoroughly can help remove unwanted residue or bacteria. Boil your containers or use a sterilizer can so all your baby gets are nutrients and antibodies — no bacteria.

The Science Behind Freezing and Refreezing

Preserving food via freezing isn’t magic. It’s science! Freezing and unfreezing your breast milk can impact its quality and safety. When liquids like breast milk freeze, they form a barrier to microbial growth via ice crystals. When you freeze, you are essentially putting a pause on the growth of any bacteria or other harmful microorganisms.

When breast milk is exposed to low temperatures, its water molecules start to slow down and lose energy, form bonds with each other, and create a solid structure aka ice 😉. This process is known as crystallization.

Breast milk’s nutritional properties, such as vitamins and proteins, remain relatively stable through freezing. Freezing breast milk may cause a slight decrease in its protective antibodies but overall holds plenty of nutritional value. Frozen breast milk creates a layer of cream that rises to the top because its components separate during the freezing process. Give it a little swirl to easily remix these components.

Freezing your breast milk can significantly extend the shelf life of the milk within limits but it isn’t foolproof. Over time, frozen breast milk’s quality may start to deteriorate including some loss of vitamins and enzymes. That's why it's recommended to use frozen breast milk within a certain period to ensure it retains all its goodness for your baby.

Risks with Refreezing

Be a careful refreezing you’re breast milk. The process can impact texture and taste and degrade nutritional content. Plus, it's a bacteria party if not done right. And that party could become an epic rager if it’s left at room temperature for too long. Breast milk’s fat globules and certain enzymes are the blame. That’s why it’s generally recommended to avoid refreezing breast milk whenever possible. You should only thaw the amount of milk that your baby will consume in one feeding. That liquid gold is precious, and you don’t want to lose a drop!

Consider This Before Refreezing — Timing & Temperature

Timing before first thaw: If you have unused thawed breast milk and not used it you need to know how long it has been since the initial thawing. Longer time at room temperature leads to a lot of bacterial contamination. Keep your baby safe and discard your thawed breast milk after two hours at room temperature.

Temperature conditions: If you’ve kept your milk cool in the refrigerator (below 40°F or 4°C), you lower the risk of harmful bacterial growth. Store it at room temperature and that bacteria multiplies! Ensure your baby's health and discard it. Don’t refreeze it.

Stay Safe When You Handle Thawed Breast Milk

Learn how to thaw it correctly – no hot water or microwaves! Signs of spoiled milk? Keep an eye out for odd smells, colors, or textures.

Thaw breast milk gradually with care. The recommended method is to place the frozen breast milk in the refrigerator overnight or under cold running water. Skip the hot water and microwave. They can heat your breast milk unevenly and destroy all its goodness.

What’s that smell? Spoiled breastmilk. Signs of spoiled breast milk include a sour or off odor, unusual color, or chunky texture. If you notice any of these signs, toss it.

Another Option


Freeze-dry your frozen breast milk! Maintain the most nutrients and antibodies and hold on to your hard-earned stash. Plus you get convenience and peace of mind – and a much longer window for use — up to three years. When you freeze-dry, you don’t risk wasting your breast milk or battling with freezer space.

Your baby's well-being comes first. If you ever have concerns, consult with a healthcare professional. Happy pumping and freezing, fabulous mamas!

With love and lactation,

Want to learn more and up your breast milk storage game? Check out these resources.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): The AAP provides comprehensive guidelines on breastfeeding, including information on breast milk storage and handling.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The CDC offers valuable resources on breastfeeding, including guidelines for safe breast milk storage.

La Leche League International: La Leche League is a respected organization providing information and support on breastfeeding. Their website may contain resources on breast milk storage and handling.

World Health Organization (WHO): The WHO offers global guidance on infant feeding practices, and you can find information on breast milk storage and safety.

KellyMom: KellyMom is a widely recognized breastfeeding resource. The website often includes evidence-based information on breastfeeding, pumping, and storing breast milk.

Academic Journals like PubMed: Explore scientific articles and studies published in reputable journals related to lactation, breastfeeding, and breast milk storage. PubMed is a good starting point for finding such research.

Parenting Magazines and Websites like BabyCenter or These types of websites often collaborate with healthcare professionals to provide accurate information on topics related to breastfeeding and infant care.

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