Should I Freeze My Breast Milk? Experts Weigh In

By
Share
Ad failed to load

To some mothers, breast milk might is treated like liquid gold. Your body uses up a lot of energy to produce this life-sustaining product, so it makes sense that you would not want to let a single drop of such precious liquid go to waste. Whether you work away from your home or you simply prefer to plan ahead for the types of situations where you are not able to immediately breastfeed your child, you might ask yourself, "should I freeze my breast milk?" It's a perfectly normal question for any proactive pregnant woman or breastfeeding mother to have. Plus, having frozen breast milk on hand and ready to use could be a great way to save yourself a little time and effort. As any parent knows, convenience is a wonderful thing. Additionally, if your family is on the go or you're not physically with your baby, your stash of stored milk can come in handy. But is it safe to prepare and use frozen breast milk for your little one?

The short answer to this question is yes. "Breast milk can be frozen," International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Leigh Anne O'Connor tells Romper. "It is best to freeze it in small batches of two to four ounces to avoid waste." Just like you wouldn't want to cook an entire feast when no one is hungry, you don't want portion out large quantities of breast milk that you won't end up using entirely. Basically, you can thaw out additional batches as you need them rather than having to throw away leftover breast milk.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

In addition to saving your milk in smaller quantities, you should also be aware of hygienic issues so that you can avoid any potential health risks for your little one. "The safest practice is to wash hands before expressing and use clean containers," birth doula and certified newborn care specialist Kaylie Groenhout tells Romper. "Date all breast milk before storing, too." This way you know your breast milk is not only going in to your freezer in the best way possible, but you'll have the peace of mind that it's staying sanitary, too. Having organized containers with clearly marked dates can help you in your most sleep-deprived, bleary-eyed state and makes it easier for others to safely give your baby safe breast milk.

If you're wondering exactly how long your breast milk can be kept frozen, there's an answer for that, too. "Breast milk can be stored in a standard freezer for six months and in a deep freezer for 12 months," O'Connor says. You may want to adjust how and when you are storing your breast milk based on your little one's varying dietary habits. If you know when you plan on weaning your child off of breast milk and transitioning them to dairy products or solid foods, then you factor that in to your timeline as well.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

There are a few things to take into consideration regarding the overall quality and shelf life of your frozen breast milk. "Some of the immune enhancing properties of breast milk are decreased over time when milk is frozen," International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Caroline Steele tells Romper. "However, the risk of bacterial contamination of milk that has been kept in the refrigerator too long and not frozen, far outweighs the downside of freezing milk."

Aside from the topic of quality, beware of the pressures of quantity, too. "The biggest risk in freezing breast milk is the 'freezer stash culture which exists more now due to social media," Wendy Colson, a registered nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, tells Romper. "The volume of milk frozen does not correlate to how successful you’ll be at breastfeeding." So don't let your freezer stash make you feel self-conscious about your ability to breastfeed your baby to the fullest. As always, all mothers are build differently, produce different amounts of breast milk, and some have better success at pumping than others, so there is nothing to gain by comparing yourself to other breastfeeding mothers.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}