Can You Refreeze Breast Milk?
If you're pumping your breast milk, there are a host of questions that arise, no matter how long you've been at it. Can I pump too much? Does my baby appreciate all of this hard work I'm putting into their diet? Why do I suddenly feel a lot like a diary cow? And, more realistically, can you refreeze breast milk that you've already set out to cool? Because sometimes it's hard to predict just how much you'll need, and you might over-estimate.
There's no doubt that breast milk is durable, long lasting (if you store it properly), and, obviously, nutrient-packed. But there are certain things that aren't recommended even for the all-powerful liquid gold that is breast milk. And, you guessed it, re-freezing it is one of those things.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is limited research on just why this could be dangerous, but they still caution against re-freezing breast milk that has been left out for 24 hours or more. In that case, throwing it out is the best, although an unfortunate, solution.
Parents also shed some more light on the topic, noting that re-freezing your breast milk can destroy some of the nutrients and enzymes that help it stay fresh and beneficial — just as leaving it in the freezer for longer than six months can do.
In order to prevent thawing more than you'll actually use, Medela recommended freezing your milk in smaller portions — two to four ounces at a time — instead of whole bottles which can be anywhere from six to eight ounces or more. If you're worried that your baby will need more than that, pull out an extra and let it thaw in the fridge. Smaller portions heat up quicker too, so you won't have to wait long if your baby wants more.
Although it may seem like a lot of rules for something as simple as feeding your baby, it's really not that much to handle, especially when the safety of your breast milk depends on it.