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11 Things That Can Go Wrong When You Thaw Breast Milk

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Building up a breast milk stash is a favorite for many pumping moms because it makes it easy to always have milk on hand for your little one, whether you're leaving them with a sitter or taking them to daycare each day. But just like breastfeeding, preparing bottles of breast milk isn't always easy, especially with all the things that can go wrong when you thaw breast milk.

I both breastfed and pumped for my daughter, but I always found preparing her bottles to be either totally confusing or a total pain. Did I have to warm it up? How warm did it need to be? How warm was my milk when it came directly from my breast? Could I thaw it in the microwave? Could I thaw it in a bottle? How long did I have until it went bad? What if she didn't drink it all? Could I save it? Oh forget it, I'm just never going to leave her alone for more than two hours so she can always have my boobs.

In hindsight, I was a little bit of a panicky mom. But there actually are 11 things that can go wrong when you thaw breast milk, especially if you aren't sure of the regulations and guidelines. But hey, knowledge is power, right? So if you have to delve into your freezer stash at any point, here are 11 things to keep in mind when you're thawing your liquid gold.

1. You Can Overheat The Milk

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Especially if you use a microwave (don't). According to Parents, there are a few different reasons why thawing breast milk in a microwave is unacceptable, but overheating the milk is a big one. You should always thaw the milk in the refrigerator overnight, warm, running water, or a container of warm water to make sure it doesn't get too hot.

2. You Can Destroy The Milk's Nutrients

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So you've tossed the microwave idea, but now the water you're using to thaw your breast milk is at a boiling point. Should be fine, right? Not exactly. Lansinoh noted that if the milk reaches a boiling temperature, some of the nutrients can actually be destroyed.

3. You Can Waste Milk

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There is nothing worse than thawing a 4 ounce bag only to find that your baby decided to chow down on 1 ounce instead. It feels like such a waste and can be kind of discouraging to pour out 3 ounces of perfect breast milk because your baby didn't want it.

4. You Could Burst A Bag

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This happened to me more times than I can count. Again, you should always avoid the microwave when you're thawing breast milk, but that doesn't mean your bags are always safe. While thawing, you may notice some bags leaking or even bursting open, especially if they weren't that durable. Just watch them closely and try to thaw in the refrigerator when you can to avoid a major spill.

5. Your Family Could Mistake It For A Milkshake

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Hey, this is why you always use actual breast milk storage bags and containers, am I right? That's not ice cream or a slushie, family. That is partially thawed breast milk hanging out in the fridge, so stay clear.

6. You're Always Missing A Measuring Cup Because It's Thawing Breast Milk

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Measuring cups are the perfect thing to pour water into and then thaw your breast milk in the container, but that means when it's time to cook, you're always missing one as it holds a bag of your breast milk on the counter. Bummer.

7. You Can Leave Hot Spots In The Milk

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Not only does swirling the breast milk redistribute the cream that has floated to the top, but according to Lasinoh, it can also help even out the temperature of the milk and ensure that there are no hot spots hiding in the liquid to scald your little one.

8. You're Irritated When You Thaw Too Much At One Time

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The worst, right? You thawed three or four bags in the refrigerator, but realized you only needed two. Now you either have to use up that breast milk within the next few days (which isn't as easy as it sounds) or risk tossing it. The worst.

9. Your Milk Could Taste Or Smell Off

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As you're thawing breast milk, you may notice that your breast milk smells soapy or rancid. Your breast milk may have a high level of liapse according to Medela, which can give it the off-taste and smell. It's noticeable after thawing and while some babies may reject it, others may drink it without a problem.

10. You Are Frustrated That Now You Have To Pump

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For every bottle feeding, you have to pump, right? It's essential to keeping your milk supply up, but man is it a total buzzkill to realize that as you're thawing breast milk for a bottle.

11. You Just Made Yourself A Chore List

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Storage bags to toss out, bottles to wash and clean, more pumping to do — thawing breast milk might as well be called "here's some more work for you to do."