How to Defrost Breast Milk Fast

Most mothers want to breastfeed their babies for as long as possible, but sometimes they have to defrost their breast milk fast. Whether you’re traveling or just running out of time, here are four ways to defrost your breast milk quickly and safely.

How to defrost breast milk

If you have frozen breast milk that you need to defrost, there is no need to worry.

Thawing Breast Milk Under a Faucet of Running Water

When you’re a new mom, you quickly learn that feeding your baby is a full-time job. If you’re breastfeeding, that means pumping milk and storing it so you have a stash on hand for when you’re away from your baby.

But what do you do when it’s time to feed your baby and you don’t have any fresh milk? Never fear, defrosting breast milk is easy.

The quickest way to do it is to put the frozen bag of milk under a running faucet. Start out with cold water, gradually increasing the temperature to warm (but not hot) water. Depending on how much milk you’re thawing, it should only take a few minutes.

Thawing Breast Milk With a Bowl of Warm Water

Defrosting frozen breast milk is easy to do and only takes a short amount of time. One of the quicker methods is to place the frozen breast milk storage bag of breast milk in a bowl of warm water. Be sure to double bag the breast milk to catch any leaks, if there are any.

Change the water as soon as it cools down, and remove the breast milk as soon as it has returned to liquid form. This method takes about 20 minutes. Whichever method you choose, be sure to use the thawed breast milk within 24 hours.

Thawing Frozen Breast Milk in the Refrigerator

One option is to thaw the breast milk in the refrigerator. This method takes longer but doesn’t require any supervision.

Simply place the frozen milk storage bag in the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight. You may need to give it a little shake or stir once it has thawed to ensure that it is evenly mixed.

Once it has returned to liquid form, you can then use it as you would normally use breast milk. Remember to always check the expiration date on frozen breast milk before using it, as it may not be safe to consume after a certain amount of time.

Warming Up Thawed Breast Milk

When it comes to feeding your baby, you want to do everything you can to ensure they are getting the best possible nutrition. If you have decided to breastfeed, that means making sure your milk is always fresh and at the right temperature.

If you have thawed breast milk that you need to warm up, there are a few different ways you can do it. You can offer your infant thawed breast milk straight from the fridge, or you may warm it to body temperature or room temperature.

If you decide to warm your breast milk, it can be stored in a bowl of heated water for a few minutes, immersed in warm water for a few seconds, or warmed using a bottle warmer.

Once the milk has reached the desired temperature, gently rotate the container to blend any layers that may have separated during storage. Always check the temperature of the milk before giving it to your baby. By taking these simple precautions, you can ensure that your baby enjoys a safe and healthy feeding.

Why You Should Never Use the Microwave or Stove

Heating breast milk in the microwave or on the stovetop can be dangerous for your baby. The high heat of these appliances can damage some of the beneficial components in breast milk.

Additionally, microwaves can unevenly heat the breast milk, resulting in hot spots. These hot spots can burn your baby’s mouth and throat. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid using the microwave or stovetop to warm breast milk. Instead, opt for a more gentle method like warm water or letting it sit in the refrigerator.

Tips for using thawed breastmilk

As a breastfeeding mother, you may find that you have leftover breastmilk that you need to store for later use. When you have frozen breastmilk and need to use it, there are some important tips to follow.

First, breast milk that has been thawed must be consumed within 24 hours but should ideally be used in 1 to 2 hours. If your baby doesn’t finish the bottle, any leftover breastmilk can still be used after 2 hours if your baby has finished feeding.

Second, don’t allow the temperature to go above 104 °F (40 °C). Aim to have the temperature around 99 °F (37 °C).

Lastly, don’t thaw or heat frozen breast milk in the microwave or in boiling water. This can damage the nutritional and protective properties and make hot spots that could scald your baby.

how to defrost breast milk fast


How Long Can I Store Breast Milk?

Storing breast milk properly can help extend its shelf life. Freshly expressed milk can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 hours, in a cooler with ice packs for up to 24 hours, in the refrigerator for up to four days, or in the freezer for six to 12 months.

Remember to always label your breast milk with the date it was expressed, and use the oldest milk first.

Can I Refreeze Breast Milk?

It is not recommended to refreeze breast milk. Once breast milk has been thawed, it should be used within 24 hours.

If you need to store frozen breast milk for longer than that, consider using a deep freezer, which can keep breast milk frozen for up to six months.

What Are the Signs That Breast Milk Has Gone Bad?

There are a few signs that you can look for to determine if breast milk has gone bad. The milk may have a sour smell, off-color, or clumpy appearance. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard the milk.

Additionally, if your baby shows signs of illness after consuming breast milk, such as vomiting or diarrhea, this could be a sign that the milk has gone bad. If you have any concerns, it is always best to speak with a doctor.

Why Does my Thawed Breast Milk Smell Weird?

It’s perfectly normal for thawed breast milk to have a bit of a soapy smell. This is because milk fat is made up of triglycerides, and when these are broken down from freezing breast milk, they can release a fatty acid called lipase. Lipase is an enzyme that helps to break down fats, and it’s perfectly safe for your baby to consume.

In fact, some babies actually prefer the taste of milk that has been affected by lipase compared to freshly expressed breast milk. However, if your milk has a strong rancid smell, it may be an indication that it has been stored for too long or at too high of a temperature. If this is the case, it’s best to discard the milk and start fresh.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to thaw and warm up your breast milk safely, there’s no need to worry about feeding your baby.

When it comes to defrosting breast milk, there are a few different methods you can use. However, it’s important to avoid using the microwave or stovetop, as this can damage the nutrients in breast milk.

If you need to store breast milk for longer than 24 hours, consider using a deep freezer. And always be sure to check the temperature of the milk before giving it to your baby. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your baby enjoys a safe and healthy feeding.

About the author

Lacy Reason is a highly experienced and compassionate lactation counselor, who has dedicated her career to educating and supporting new mothers on their breastfeeding journey.

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