Next to the wheel, breast pumps are one of the greatest inventions ever. They allow you to pump your breast milk, store it, and provide that "liquid gold" to your baby whenever you want, even when you're not there. You can freeze your pumped milk to ensure it stays fresh and nutritious, but when pulling out that little treasure of frozen milk, you must wonder, when does frozen breast milk expire?
According to the Mayo Clinic, frozen breast milk can last up to 12 months, but it's best used within six months of freezing in a deep freezer. The Mayo Clinic also explained that the longer you store breast milk in the fridge or freezer, the more it loses its content of vitamin C and the breast milk you store when your baby is younger may not meet the needs they have when they are older.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised that to safely thaw your frozen expressed milk, you can transfer it to the refrigerator or swirl it in a bowl of warm water. The CDC also explained that you should avoid using a microwave to thaw the milk, because it may not heat evenly, it can destroy the nutrients in your milk, and the bottles could explode if left in the microwave too long. It's also not recommended to re-freeze thawed milk, or to add fresh milk to previously stored milk.
Lansinoh also advised that you should store breast milk in BPA-free containers that are exclusively designed for storing breast milk, and that you should label them with the date of storage. This way you can use the older milk first, and know exactly how long it's been in the freezer.
Using the safety guidelines for proper milk storage can ensure that your baby has the best nutrition available, while ensuring you don't waste any of that "liquid gold" you provide. Frozen doesn't last forever, but with organization and planning ahead, you don't have to lose any precious milk.