How to Thaw and Warm up Breastmilk

Welcome to the world of preparing breastmilk, that precious liquid gold! 

I will be sharing some information to help you ensure that it is handled and prepared safely for your sweet baby.

Breast milk is full of many wonderful nutrients, antibodies and other immune factors that help prevent illness in your baby.  It is recommended by the World Health Organization and the Canadian Paediatric Society to exclusively breastfeed your baby for at least the first six months of their life.  By thawing and warming it the correct way at the right temperature, it will help avoid loss of nutritional value.  When storing and freezing breast milk, be sure to freeze in approved storage bags for breastmilk. My favourite storage bags are the Lasinoh ones and you can get them delivered by Amazon!  We suggest freezing 2-3 ounces per bag to reduce wastage.  Lay flat in the freezer to allow for more storage room.  Label the date and time clearly on each bag to ensure that the milk is being used within the recommended time. Below is a table of breast milk storage recommendations. Feel free to print it off or save it onto your phone for reference!

Thaw breastmilk by: 

  • Placing it in the fridge overnight, the amount of breast milk you need for the next day.  Take out only the number of bags required.
  • Run WARM water over the storage container (plastic bag or bottle) 
  • Heat the bottle of milk in a container of warm water until the milk is slightly warm to touch

Tips for Safe Thawing of Breast Milk:

  • Thaw the oldest breast milk first as the quality of breast milk can decrease over time. 
  • NEVER thaw or heat breast milk in a microwave. It can destroy nutrients in breast milk and heat unevenly, creating hot spots which can burn your baby’s mouth.
  • Once the breast milk has been thawed, ensure that it is consumed within 24 hours.
  • If breast milk has been warmed or brought to room temperature, use it within 2 hours.
  • Do not refreeze thawed breast milk.
  • Even though they are convenient, most milk warmers may overheat the breast milk. If you are looking for a milk warmer that avoids overheating, you can check out the Kiinde Kozii. 

After you have warmed the breast milk: 

  • Before feeding it to your baby, test the temperature first by dripping a few drops on your wrist.  It should feel warm, not hot. 
  • It is normal for breast milk to separate after it has been frozen.  The fat will float to the top.  After the breast milk has been thawed and warmed, swirl the bottle gently to mix the milk and the fat.  
  • If your baby does not drink all the milk, any leftover milk should be discarded.

If you would like to learn more about Pumping and Bottle Feeding, check out our upcoming events.  We have a brand new Pumping and Bottle Feeding Workshop available which includes an ebook full of information.  If you need some individual support, reach out to your local Mama Coach, we would love to help you through your breastfeeding journey!

You’ve got this!

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