Here are some tips and tricks to thaw frozen milk safely:
Always thaw the oldest breast milk first. Remember first in, first out. Over time, the quality of breast milk can decrease.
1. How Long Can You Freeze Milk?
You can freeze expressed milk for up to 12 months. Always label your milk containers with storage dates for better use. Using unmarked milk or frozen milk that’s closer to its expiry date might harm your baby.
2. How to Thaw Frozen Milk?
You can defrost breast milk in the fridge overnight. It takes approximately 12 hours for proper thawing. Aside from this, you can thaw it with warm water. To do so, hold the bottle or bag of frozen milk under warm water (a maximum of 37 °C or 99 °F) until the milk reaches an ideal temperature.
Thawing by Refrigerator
- You can thaw frozen milk in the refrigerator or place it under cool, running water.
- Avoid refrigerating thawed milk for over 24 hours.
- Never refreeze thawed milk. Instead, throw away leftover thawed milk and half-drunk milk to
- Always warm milk after thawing it via the refrigeration method.
Thawing by Warm Water
- Heat the milk under warm, running water and gently swirl the container to mix the milk.
- If warm water is not available, heat a pan of water on the stove. Once the water is warm, not boiling, remove the pan from the stove and place the milk container in the pan. Never warm the
milk container directly on the stove.
- Never microwave/boil breast milk because high temperatures can create dangerous hot spots in the milk. Increasing risk of burns when you’re feeding your baby. Additionally, prolonged
contact with heat can reduce the nutritional value of breast milk.
Dos and Don’ts for Using Thawed Milk
- DON’T thaw frozen breast milk at room temperature
- DO test the temperature of the milk on the inside of your wrist before feeding it to a baby. The milk should feel warm, not hot.
- DON’T refreeze thawed milk.
- DO dispose of leftover thawed milk or unused milk after 24 hours of thawing to prevent spoilage.
- DON’T leave defrosted milk at room temperature for over 2 hours.
Better Milk Thawing Storage
- Store your milk in small portions (less than 60 ml) for easier thawing and minimal wastage. You can combine them after defrosting according to your feed requirements.
- Store your milk in clean containers or storage bags made from BPA-free materials, which are safe for
freezing and thawing. BPA is a chemical that was previously used in most manufactured plastic. Its long-term effects are uncertain. That’s why it’s not recommended for food storage.
- We recommend using Spectra milk storage bags and Spectra baby bottles to safely store your breast milk.
Feeding Expressed Breast Milk
Breast milk does not need to be warmed. It can be served at room temperature or cold. Swirl the breast milk to mix the fat, which may have separated.
If you decide to warm the breast milk, here are some tips:
- Keep the container sealed.
- Place the sealed container into a bowl of warm water or hold it under warm, but not hot, running water for a few minutes.
- Test the milk’s temperature before feeding it to your baby by putting a few drops on your wrist. Do not heat breast milk directly on the stove or in the microwave.
If your baby did not finish the bottle, use the leftover milk within 2 hours after the baby is finished feeding. After 2 hours, leftover breast milk should be discarded.