Many parents worry about how to store and use the freshly pumped milk after it cools down. In this article, you will learn how long you can keep your fresh pumped milk in the fridge and freezer.
Fresh pumped milk is a vital component of any newborn’s diet. The antibodies in breastmilk protect the baby against diseases such as diarrhea, eczema, pneumonia, and more. These protective properties decline after a few hours of separating from the mother. This is why you need to pump your breastmilk frequently to maintain its quality.
But once it is directly taken from the breast, it has only a short shelf life. As soon as it comes into contact with air, it starts losing important nutrients and enzymes that could have been beneficial for your baby if consumed at that moment. Therefore, refrigeration of freshly pumped milk is necessary after each pumping session to maintain its quality for up to 6 hours – until the temperature drops back below 86° Fahrenheit (30° Celsius).
How Long After Pumping Can You Freeze?
After pumping, you can freeze your milk for up to 3 days. This time frame allows you to store the milk for longer if you don’t plan on using it right away.
Once it thaws, the milk will be good for about 1 hour. So, if you plan on using your frozen milk in one sitting within 60 minutes of thawing, then it is best to use a fresh supply of pumped milk.
If your baby is not due until 4 days from now and you have pumped enough milk that you need to store for this time period, then you can freeze the remaining milk in an ice cube tray and use them later when needed. You’ll only need 2 of them at a time as they hold less than a cup each.
Can You Mix 2 Bags Of Frozen Breast Milk?
The same goes for frozen breast milk. You can freeze your pumped breast milk in 2 different ways – either by placing the pump bra and bottle in a Ziplock or using ice packs. The latter is the best because it doesn’t take up too much space and ensures that the milk will stay at the optimal temperature for longer periods of time. If you plan to freeze your breastmilk, place it in an airtight container . This way, you will retain its nutritional value even after being stored for hours without a refrigerator.
How Much Breastmilk Should I Freeze Per Bag?
You can freeze one or two bags of pumped milk at a time. It’s best to keep them separated by type – e.g., do not mix your freshly pumped milk with cow’s milk in the same bag.
If you are planning on freezing three or more bags of pumped milk, it is best to separate them into smaller sizes, such as 1/2 gallon (1 liter) or 1/4 gallon (0.5 liter). This will reduce the number of bags you need to store in the freezer and make it easier for you to find what you need when you need it.
How To Thaw Frozen Breast Milk
Storing milk that has been frozen is not very different from storing milk that has been refrigerated. The only difference is that when a bottle of milk thaws, it may need to be warmed up before it can be consumed. This is because the milk loses its temperature after freezing – so some babies may be forced to eat cold milk.
To thaw your milk quickly in the fridge, set it on a plate or bowl and cover with an unbreakable container or plastic wrap.