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Thread: Storing breastmilk -- do I need to throw away?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Question Storing breastmilk -- do I need to throw away?


    I've become a lot more educated about storing/freezing breastmilk the last few weeks thanks to these boards. Thank you!! From what I know, you can combine milk if expressed within a 24 hr period and at the same temp. Before knowing this, I combined milk from multiple days and sometimes combined newly expressed milk with milk already in the refrigerator. I hate to throw out milk, but I'm guessing I should???

    My DD is only 5 weeks old and I haven't used any of the frozen milk yet. I'm just starting to store up, when I can, to prepare to going back to work...

    Also - how long can I store milk in a freezer? I don't want to turn into a milk pack rat!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Storing breastmilk -- do I need to throw away?

    Here is a page with a couple of LLL sources on storing human milk.


    When you mix fresh milk with older milk, you need to use the date from the oldest milk for the cutoff for freezing. It's best to freeze in two to four ounce increments to minimize waste. To be especially conservative with your 'liquid gold' then freezing in two ouce increments works best.

    Some basic guidelines are:

    Room temp: up to 10 hours
    Refrigerator: up to 8 days
    Regular freezer (built into refrigerator): up to 3-4 months
    Deep freezer (constant 0 degrees): up to six months or longer

    You can add to milk previously frozen, but you must make sure that 1) the fresh milk is cooled in the refrigerator first, and 2) that the amount of fresh milk is less than the amount of frozen milk so that the fresh milk doesn't thaw the frozen before refreezing. Milk thawed should be used within 24 hours.
    Tanya, LLL Leader and Mama to three wonderful kids

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Re: Storing breastmilk -- do I need to throw away?

    after wasting unused, thawed milk too many times, i just freeze 2 oz at a time. that way my dh can make the bottle as big/small as ds needs, but if i'm going to be home soon, he just pulls out a 2-oz-er. this has taken a lot of stress out of wasting
    mom to a wonderful son: 7/5/05
    and beautiful little daughter: 1/17/08
    7lb 11oz at birth
    14.0 on 3/25/08!!
    17.0 on 4/26/08
    newly tandem nursing, born-again mama

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Storing breastmilk -- do I need to throw away?

    I know how you feel because I often wondered if I should throw a batch out. I used to stress over my frozen milk so much until I realized just how miraculous human milk is. All of these guidelines are just precautions and often your situation may not be spelled out exactly in these guidelines because there can be so many variables. I know there were a few times that I even pumped right into a bottle of previously pumped breastmilk because I didn't bring enough containers. It was fine. If it is outside of your comfort zone and it is just a small amount you would be tossing then go ahead. But why not smell it and taste it first before throwing out your hard work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Storing breastmilk -- do I need to throw away?

    ROFL about the smelling and tasting, but it's SO true! It's such hard work to express the stuff, and it seems such a waste to toss it willy nilly. The ol' sniffer will usually pick up on anthing that is "off". And soured milk, even breastmilk, is unmistakeable!!

    Here's another resource you might find helpful:

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