Thawed Breastmilk

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KET_2010's picture
Joined: 08/13/11
Posts: 1737
Thawed Breastmilk

Okay I have a question. How long is thawed breastmilk good for?

DH unfroze FOUR packs (5-6 oz each) of BM to help bottle feed because he always forgets the night before, so he hasn't been feeding Des in the middle of the night because of this (he usually does a middle of the night feeding while I do the late night one and morning one). Anyway I've been BFing instead of bottle feeding (except the few times I've been out and about) and DH only gives him maybe 2 bottles a day, usually consisting of 2 1/2 oz each (maybe 3). So really he needs one bag unfrozen a day.

Anyway, I know you can't (or aren't suppose to) refreeze the BM. I've read a few things that say it has to be used within 24 hours, but I've also read 48 hours, 72 hours, and even 5-7 days. How long would you ladies leave it in the fridge before ditching it (:crybaby:)?

I know I can always pump more and freeze more but I hate dumping it.

JBird3010's picture
Joined: 01/21/11
Posts: 404

I think I just read the other day that it's 24 hours. My breast milk storage bags say you can store the milk in the fridge for three days, but I think that's for freshly pumped breast milk.

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

You can leave freshly pumped milk in the fridge for up to 7 days, but should really freeze it if you aren't going to use in within 3 days. Once frozen, thawed BM should be used within 24 hours.

Check out the guidelines on KellyMom

Lolkje's picture
Joined: 08/24/09
Posts: 90

I remember reading about breastmilk storage when I had DD1. From what I recall, those 24-hour guidelines really aren't because the BM starts going bad and becoming unsafe for baby. BM has a lot of antiseptic qualities that make it a decent medical ointment if you have nothing else handy, so it can't go bad easily.

The guidelines are more because the best stuff in BM starts breaking down if it isn't consumed by baby soon. The vitamins, antibodies, etc. There are even living cells in BM that help baby's immune system. Those cells are killed once frozen.

Follow your gut with the stuff that DH has already thawed, and just get him to that less at a time in the future.

KET_2010's picture
Joined: 08/13/11
Posts: 1737

I told DH earlier to please not thaw that much at a time. So tonight I put the rest in bottles and tomorrow (I have until tomorrow afternoon ha ha) I'll use as much as I can. And of course while bottle feeding, I'll be pumping as well so I'll have all that in the fridge for when DH can help.

On a side note, there's been at least two (maybe 3) bags that got holes when being thawed! They didn't have holes when I put the milk in there and the bags were stacked on top of each other so they shouldn't have gotten holes while in the freezer (and nothing else was stacked with them).

Lolkje's picture
Joined: 08/24/09
Posts: 90

Even the "leak-proof" bags can spring leaks. I always thaw mine in a mixing bowl big enough to catch the leaks.

mommyof1.5's picture
Joined: 08/06/07
Posts: 897

I'm late to respond, but my lactation consultant told me breast milk can go by a rule of 6 - 6 hours unrefridgerated, 6 days in the fridge, 6 months in the freezer- by within 24 hours if thawed, for the reasons Laura said. That makes it sooooo much easier for me to remember Smile

KET_2010's picture
Joined: 08/13/11
Posts: 1737

Ha, I've heard of the 4-4-4 rule! Instead of 6s it's 4s. Although I haven't had any BM left out of the fridge for that long, except when I went out and even then it was chilled when I left, and about room temp when he took it. But the good news is, I managed to use all the bags (sure there was some left in the bottles because he'd rather BF and did after drinking about 1 1/2 oz)! I ended up pumping the whole day though to make sure my supply didn't dwindle.