How to Freeze and Unfreeze Breast Milk

Find out how to properly store and use frozen breast milk.
Store Breast Milk Safely
Store Breast Milk Safely


To freeze:

breast pump

Kathryn Gamble

After pumping, immediately pour the milk into clean bottles or plastic bottle-liner bags. Leave an inch at the top of the container because milk expands when it freezes.

Store your breast milk in smaller portions (2 to 4 ounces in a bottle/bag) so it will freeze and thaw faster.

Label each bottle/bag with the date. Breast milk can be frozen for four to six months.

Place the bottles/bags in the freezer immediately. Store the milk in the back of the freezer (not in the door), where it's the coldest, and don't remove it until you're ready to thaw it and serve to Baby.

To thaw:

If you don't need the milk right away, simply move it to the refrigerator, where it takes 24 hours to thaw. Warm the milk by running warm water over the bag or bottle of milk and use it within the next 24 hours.

If you need it immediately, remove it from the freezer and run warm water over it until it's at room temperature.

Once you've thawed breast milk, don't refreeze it.

Do not thaw or heat it in the microwave. You run the risk of overheating the milk, which can harm Baby and destroy the milk's enzymes and immune properties.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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