Skip to content

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Freeze Breast Milk

Table of Contents

How to freeze breast milk

Table of Contents

Introduction: How to freeze breast milk

Breast milk is a precious and valuable source of nutrition for infants. Sometimes, mothers find it necessary to store breast milk for various reasons, such as returning to work or building a stockpile for future use. Freezing breast milk is a convenient and safe way to preserve its nutrients. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the proper methods of how to freeze breast milk, and breast milk freezer storage ensuring its quality and safety for your little one.

Step 1: Preparation

  1. Wash Your Hands: Start by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This prevents any potential contamination of the breast milk.
  2. Use Sterilized Containers: Use BPA-free, food-grade containers or breast milk storage bags. Sterilize these containers before use to maintain hygiene.

Step 2: Expressing Breast Milk

  1. Choose the Right Pump: Use a breast pump that suits you best – manual or electric. Make sure all the pump parts that come into contact with milk are clean and sanitized.
  2. Collect in Small Portions: Store breast milk in small portions (2 to 4 ounces) to avoid wastage. Label containers with the date of expression.

Step 3: Cooling Breast Milk

  1. Refrigeration: If you plan to freeze the milk within a few days, store it in the refrigerator at 32–39°F (0–4°C). Refrigerated breast milk can stay fresh for up to 4 days.
  2. Cool Gradually: If the milk has been at room temperature, cool it in the refrigerator for about an hour before transferring it to the freezer. This gradual cooling preserves the milk’s quality.

Step 4: Freezing Breast Milk

  1. Leave Space for Expansion: Breast milk expands as it freezes, so leave some space at the top of the container or storage bag to allow for this expansion.
  2. Avoid Glass Bottles: If using glass bottles, choose those specifically designed for freezing breast milk. However, plastic containers or breast milk storage bags are generally safer and more convenient for freezing.
  3. Freeze Quickly: Place the containers at the back of the freezer where it is coldest. Breast milk should be used or stored in the deep freezer at 0°F (-18°C) or lower. Freeze it as quickly as possible to maintain its quality.

Step 5: Thawing Breast Milk

  1. Thaw Gradually: When you’re ready to use the frozen breast milk, thaw it in the refrigerator or a bowl of warm water. Never use a microwave, as it can create hot spots that may burn your baby’s mouth.
  2. Gentle Mixing: After thawing, gently swirl the container to mix the cream that might have separated. Do not vigorously shake the milk, as it can destroy some of its beneficial properties

Step 6: Testing for Freshness

  1. Smell and Taste: Breast milk can sometimes develop a soapy or metallic taste due to lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat. This doesn’t harm the baby but might be unappealing. Smell and taste the milk before feeding it to your baby.
  1. Visual Inspection: Check for any signs of spoilage, such as a sour or off odor, curdled appearance, or unusual color. If you notice any of these signs, discard the milk.

Freezing breast milk can be a game-changer for mothers, providing flexibility and ensuring that their babies receive the best nutrition even when they are apart. By following these detailed steps, you can store breast milk safely and maintain its nutritional value, offering your baby the healthiest start in life.

How Long Does Breast Milk Last In The Freezer?

Breast milk can be stored in the freezer for up to 6-12 months, depending on the freezer’s temperature. It’s best to use it within the first 6 months for optimal quality, but it can be safe for up to a year if stored properly. Always label the containers with the date to keep track of the storage time.

FAQs on How To Freeze Breast Milk?

1. How to store breast milk in freezer?

Store breast milk in clean, BPA-free containers with tight-fitting lids. It's best to use specialized breast milk storage bags or containers designed for freezing. Avoid filling the containers to the brim to allow space for the milk to expand as it freezes.

2.Can I mix freshly expressed breast milk with already frozen milk?

Yes, you can mix freshly expressed breast milk with previously frozen milk, as long as the newly expressed milk is chilled in the refrigerator first. Be sure to cool the fresh milk before combining it with the frozen milk to maintain the quality of the stored milk. Always use the oldest milk first to ensure it doesn't go past the recommended storage duration.

3.How do I thaw frozen breast milk?

Thaw frozen breast milk by placing the container in the refrigerator overnight. If you need to use the milk quickly, you can thaw it more rapidly by placing the container in a bowl of warm water. Do not thaw breast milk in a microwave, as it can create hot spots that can burn your baby's mouth and destroy valuable nutrients in the milk. Once thawed, gently swirl the milk to mix the fat, as it might have separated during freezing. Use thawed breast milk within 24 hours and do not refreeze it.


On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

Share this Article

Disclaimer: All content found on our website is published for informational and/or educational purposes only; not intended to serve or offer any form of professional/competent advice. We put in every effort to ensure that all information is just, accurate, fool-proof, useful, and updated but do not assume responsibility or liability, to loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence of information provided. Parenthoodbliss may earn commissions from affiliate links in the content.

Rectangle 22

Did not find what you were looking for?

Drop-in your request and we will be happy to write it down for you!