If you are one of the moms blessed enough to be able to pump and store your breast milk, you may be wondering the correct way to thaw out your frozen milk. Thawing breast milk in an improper fashion can cause it to lose some essential vitamins and minerals. Most experts recommend thawing frozen milk in the refrigerator overnight or for about 12 hours. You can also thaw the breast milk by running it under, or placing it in a bowl of warm water. Babies get cranky when they're hungry, so can you thaw breast milk in hot water so that it's faster?
According to Dr. Juliet Baciocco Spurrier, a board certified pediatrician, mother of two, and founder of BabyGearLab, the answer is no. On the BabyGearLab site, Spurrier suggested only using warm, even lukewarm water to thaw out frozen breast milk. Placing the sealed container in a bowl of warm water will do the trick in about 20 minutes. At that point, Pregnancy and Baby recommends holding container of thawed milk under running water, and gradually increasing the temperature of the water to heat the milk to the appropriate feeding temperature. Spurrier advised heating breast milk to approximately at or a bit below body temperature which is about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius.
You should never microwave your breast milk to heat it up nor to thaw it out. You should also never heat nor thaw your frozen breast milk in boiling water. Both scenarios will cause a loss of antibodies in the milk and can scald your baby.
When your milk is thawed, the fat may separate. Gently swirl to mix it rather than shaking it. According to Breast Feeding Place shaking your breast milk denatures its molecules and breaks the proteins up into parts. The proteins need to remain intact in order to help to protect the lining of babies gut.
Breast milk that is thawed to room temperature should be consumed within four hours. Breast milk thawed to refrigerator temperature should be used within 24 hours according to Madela. No thawed milk should ever be refrozen.