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Thread: Freezing Milk That Has Been Refrigerated?

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Freezing Milk That Has Been Refrigerated?

    I just returned to work this week, and I've been pumping milk for my 10 week old. I have the fortunate "problem" of producing more during my pumping sessions at work than my son is eating during the day while I'm away from him. So far, I've just been adding what I pump at work to the bottle "queue" in my mom's freezer (sooo lucky that my mom is watching my baby for me while I work!), but it's looking like we'll have a pretty significant amount of "extra" milk at the end of each week. We considered freezing all the milk I pump and just thawing what my baby will need each day, but I've heard (from a La Leche League leader) that it's best to feed milk that has never been frozen whenever possible. With that in mind, I want there to be an ample supply of fresh/never frozen milk available in case my little one decides to binge eat one day, but I don't want all that extra milk to go bad if he doesn't go through it quickly enough. So, my question is, can I freeze milk that has been in the refrigerator for a few days? For instance, if I still have milk from Wednesday (perhaps even Tuesday) in the refrigerator on Friday afternoon, can I freeze it at that point? If so, does it last as long as milk that was frozen immediately after being expressed? It definitely looks like just continuing to add milk to the fridge will eventually become unsustainable, and I can't cut back on pumping sessions at work as I'm already going quite a few hours between pumps, and going longer would definitely be uncomfortable.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Freezing Milk That Has Been Refrigerated?

    Hi momma. Definitely don't cut back on pumping. You may see your oversupply start to stabilize in the next month or so and you don't want to temper your milk production ahead of that.

    Can you not just freeze the excess on the same day? For example, say baby is taking 4 x 3oz bottles in a day. You bring home 16oz of milk, leaving you 4oz extra. Just go ahead and freeze the extra 4oz! If he's super hungry the next day then grandma can just pull out a bag and thaw. It helps to keep portions in mind as you're pumping and bagging throughout the day. So if you pump 3 times and get 6oz each time, bag it in 2 bags of 6oz and 1 bag of 2oz and 1 bag of 4oz, that way you're not wasting the extra that isn't used in the bottles. Know what I'm saying? I could be overthinking it, but I think that's what we all tend to do throughout the learning.

    It's best to freeze milk as soon as possible, but a few days doesn't make that much difference. However, everybody's milk spoils at different rates so you'll need to adjust for that. I can leave mine in the fridge for 2 days before I freeze, but on that 3rd day it's definitely bad. Since it sounds like you'll be making a considerable freezer stash, make sure to rotate milk every now and again. For example, if I notice I have a bunch of frozen milk from 3 months ago*, I'll take a week to burn thru that month's stash while freezing everything I pump that week. That way nothing sits in the freezer long enough to go bad.

    *I have a deep freezer where I store my milk.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Freezing Milk That Has Been Refrigerated?

    Thanks so much, littlecavemomma! Your solution seems super obvious now, but I've been agonizing over this all week. I guess you're right; we do tend to overthink things in the beginning. I actually ended up freezing everything I pumped today because we had so much left over from the last few days, but starting tomorrow or Friday, I'm going to start freezing just the excess daily. And thanks for the tip about rotating milk! We currently have some milk stored in my parents' deep freezer and some in our regular kitchen freezer, but I'm thinking of moving most of the stash to my parents' house this weekend and pulling out some of the older milk to use next week. Thanks again!

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