Breast milk has the potential to be safely refrozen, but it’s important to consider certain conditions. I looked over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to determine why refreezing is not always recommended which I will share below.
Nutritional Quality. Each time breast milk goes through the freezing/thawing process, there is a possibility of a loss in nutritional quality and immunological properties. The components of breast milk can break down during this process. It’s crucial to be aware of this potential loss in order to make informed decisions about refreezing breast milk.
Bacterial Growth. Bacteria that may have multiplied during the initial thawing process can survive and continue to grow once milk is thawed. This can lead to spoilage or contamination of the milk, posing a risk to your baby’s health.
Taste and Texture. The milk may look and taste different, making it less appealing to your baby. This can potentially result in difficulties in feeding and may lead to your baby consuming less milk than needed.
When is it Safe to Refreeze Breast Milk?
When breast milk still has ice crystals in it! This means the breast milk has not been fully thawed and is still at a safe temperature of around 30 degrees. You can refreeze the breastmilk without any concerns.
Precautions when refreezing breast milk with ice crystals:
Use clean containers. Make sure all items are clean. Avoid reusing containers that were used for thawing, this can increase the risk of contamination.
Labeling. Dating your breast milk storage bags will help you ensure you are using the oldest milk first. Side note, breast milk can be stored in a standard freezer for up to six months and in a deep freezer for 12 months.
Limit refreezing. Repeated freezing and thawing can lead to some loss of nutritional value. Doing this can also affect the taste and texture of the milk so to maintain the best quality of breast milk, limit the number of times that you refreeze it.
In conclusion, while breast milk can be safely refrozen, consider the potential loss in nutritional quality, the risk of bacterial growth, and the impact on taste and texture. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions about refreezing breast milk and ensuring the safety and well-being of your baby.
For more information from the CDC click here.
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