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The right way to Thaw, Heat, and Use Frozen Breast Milk

Many breastfeeding mother and father select to gather and freeze breast milk. It could be mandatory if you must transport or ship it, however it’s extra probably that you just need to create a stockpile to have readily available for when you must be away out of your child or while you determine to cease breastfeeding. When the time comes, it is vital to know the way to safely thaw, heat, and use your frozen breast milk.

Thawing Frozen Breast Milk

Whenever you thaw frozen breast milk in accordance with security pointers, it maintains extra vitamins and is much less more likely to spoil. Your baggage or containers of frozen breast milk ought to have a label with a date. Use the oldest container of breast milk first.

Defrost frozen breast milk by putting it within the fridge, placing it in a bowl of heat water, or holding it beneath heat operating faucet water. You shouldn’t thaw frozen breast milk at room temperature.

Don’t use the microwave or place your breast milk in a pot of boiling water on the range. As soon as defrosted, you may heat up your breast milk and use it instantly, depart it out at room temperature for as much as 4 hours, or refrigerate it once more for as much as 24 hours.

These pointers are for wholesome, full-term infants and older youngsters. You probably have a untimely child or a toddler with a compromised immune system, speak to your healthcare supplier about the way to accumulate, retailer, and use your breast milk.

Defrosting Breast Milk within the Fridge

Thawing breast milk within the fridge can take roughly 12 hours, so remember to plan forward. Chances are you’ll need to place a full day’s price of frozen breast milk within the fridge every evening in order that it will likely be prepared to make use of the following day. To defrost frozen breast milk within the fridge:

  1. Take away the bag or bottle of the frozen breast from the freezer.
  2. Place it into the fridge.
  3. Wait till the strong frozen milk turns again into liquid type.
  4. As soon as the milk thaws, use it inside 24 hours.
  5. Don’t refreeze thawed breast milk that’s left over after 24 hours.

Thawing Breast Milk in a Bowl of Heat Water

If it is advisable to thaw breast milk rapidly, you should utilize a bowl of heat (not sizzling) water. This methodology takes roughly 20 minutes for those who control the water and alter it as quickly because it cools down. Here is how:

  1. Fill a bowl or pan with heat water. 
  2. Place the frozen container of breast milk into the water. Be sure you hold the water stage beneath the cap of the breast milk bottle to stop contamination.
  3. Because the water cools down, empty it and exchange it with extra heat water.
  4. Proceed to do that till the breast milk is not frozen.
  5. As soon as defrosted, place the milk within the fridge or proceed to heat it as much as feed to your little one. 

Thawing Breast Milk Beneath Working Water

The quickest option to defrost breast milk is to carry it beneath a faucet of heat operating water. Here’s what you are able to do:

  1. Begin out holding the container (or bag) beneath chilly operating water.
  2. Slowly make the temperature of the operating water hotter, however don’t make it sizzling.
  3. Hold holding the container beneath heat water till the milk thaws.

Typically thawed breast milk does not scent superb. It will possibly even have a soapy, metallic style. If this occurs, it doesn’t suggest the milk is dangerous. The unusual bitter scent and style are from an enzyme within the milk known as lipase. Lipase naturally breaks down the fat within the milk throughout storage. It’s nonetheless protected to provide the milk to your child, however your little one could not drink it if they do not like the way in which it tastes.

Warming Up Thawed Breast Milk 

You can provide your child thawed breast milk proper out of the fridge, or you may heat it as much as room temperature or physique temperature. In the event you select to heat your breast milk, you may place it in a bowl of heat water for a couple of minutes, maintain it beneath heat operating water, or use a bottle hotter.

You shouldn’t warmth breast milk within the microwave or in a pot of boiling water on the range.​ ​It is vital to heat your breast milk appropriately in order that you do not burn your child’s mouth and throat.  

As soon as the milk is heat, gently swirl the container to combine any layers that will grow to be separated throughout storage. Test the temperature of the milk earlier than giving it to your little one. You are able to do this by squirting a number of drops on the within of your wrist. It ought to really feel lukewarm or room temperature. It shouldn’t be sizzling or chilly.

The Risks of Utilizing the Microwave and Range

When thawing or warming a container or frozen milk, you shouldn’t use a microwave oven. The excessive warmth from the microwave can destroy among the wholesome properties discovered within the breast milk. Microwaves also can warmth in an uneven manner, inflicting sizzling areas inside the breast milk. These sizzling spots can burn your child’s mouth and throat.

Utilizing the range to warmth breast milk isn’t beneficial, both. Whenever you place a bag or container of breast milk in a pot of boiling water on the range, it will probably overheat. Overheating can destroy the vitamins within the milk and make it dangerously sizzling in your little one.

The right way to Safely Deal with Warmed Breast Milk

You possibly can stop your breast milk from spoiling or turning into a breeding floor for micro organism if you understand how to deal with it and use it safely. Listed below are some ideas:

  • When you heat the breast milk, you can provide it to your little one instantly or it may be refrigerated once more for as much as 24 hours.
  • You shouldn’t depart heat breast milk out at room temperature. 
  • You shouldn’t refreeze it.
  • In case your child doesn’t end a feeding, it’s best to throw away the leftover breast milk within the bottle.  

A Phrase From Verywell

Whether or not it is only a few baggage in case of an emergency or a complete stockpile of containers for while you return to work, it good to know that your little one can nonetheless have your breast milk even while you’re not accessible. The way you thaw and use your frozen breast milk is as vital as the way you accumulate and retailer it. Observe the rules to maintain your child and your breast milk as protected and wholesome as attainable.

Verywell Household makes use of solely high-quality sources, together with peer-reviewed research, to help the info inside our articles. Learn our editorial course of to be taught extra about how we fact-check and hold our content material correct, dependable, and reliable.
  1. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Correct storage and preparation of breast milk. Up to date January 22, 2020.

  2. Eglash A, Simon L. ABM Scientific Protocol #8: Human milk storage info for residence use for full-term infants, revised 2017. Breastfeed Med. 2017;12(7):390-395. doi:10.1089/bfm.2017.29047.aje

  3. Bransburg-Zabary S, Virozub A, Mimouni FB. Human milk warming temperatures utilizing a simulation of presently accessible storage and warming strategies. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(6):e0128806. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128806

  4. Ballard O, Morrow AL. Human milk composition: Vitamins and bioactive components. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013;60(1):49-74. doi:10.1016/j.pcl.2012.10.002


Extra Studying

  • Breastfeeding and using human milk. Pediatrics. 2012;129(3):e827-41. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-3552

  • Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Breastfeeding and particular circumstances. Up to date December 22, 2019.

  • Lawrence RA, Lawrence RM. Breastfeeding a Information For The Medical Career Eighth Version. Elsevier Well being Sciences, 2015.

  • Riordan J, Wambach Okay. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Fourth Version. Jones and Bartlett Studying, 2014.


By Donna Murray, RN, BSN

Donna Murray, RN, BSN has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rutgers College and is a present member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Honor Society of Nursing.

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