What you can do to keep your breast milk safe
start by putting your frozen breast milk bags in Ziplock bags. This will help keep them together if you don’t have a lot of frozen food to surround your milk. Place these bags in the middle center of your freezer, then surround the bags with anything that’s frozen – frozen goods, dry ice, frozen containers, or even Ziplock bags filled with water. This will act like an insulator. If you don’t fill the space with frozen insulation, your milk can defrost faster. By the way, this is the same advice I give to moms who are shipping breast milk.
I actually sell shipping kits in different sizes because if you don’t have a lot of milk, using a large kit would cause it to defrost faster. So, when you have a small box that fits your milk perfectly, it will stay frozen for a longer time.
How long will your frozen breast milk will stay good if you lose power?
It’s hard to give an exact time because it depends on factors like how cold your freezer is and how well other items are helping to preserve the milk. But if you do lose power, try to open your freezer as little as possible to keep the contents cold. According to the FDA, a full freezer can keep its temperature for about 48 hours, while a half-full freezer can keep it for about 24 hours, as long as the door stays closed. The fridge will stay cold for about four hours. Just remember, milk is still considered frozen if there are ice crystals in it, even if it’s just a small amount. If you’re thinking ahead, I highly recommend getting yourself a freezer alarm. It’s a real lifesaver, or should I say, a breast milk saver!
Don’t refreeze defrosted breast milk
Here’s something important to know – you can’t refreeze defrosted breast milk. It can break down the nutrients and has a higher risk of bacterial growth. So, if your breast milk has completely thawed during a power outage, you’ll need to either use it or throw it out. According to the CDC, once your milk is thawed, it needs to be used within 24 hours. If it has reached room temperature, it should be used within one to two hours. That’s why that freezer alarm is so crucial, not just the alarm but the thermometer!
Don’t worry if the power goes out right after you’ve pumped. Your milk is still good for up to four hours! We know power outages can be frustrating, but there are ways to save your precious breast milk. If you plan ahead, you can increase your chances of salvaging most of the milk you’ve stored in the freezer and even some of the milk in the fridge.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to throw out your milk, don’t worry… You can join our group and connect with other moms who are generously donating their milk. And if you need milk shipped to you, I’ve got you covered here too. I offer breastmilk shipping kits and labels at a discounted price.
I hope these tips help ease your worries about power outages and keep your milk safe and sound. You’re doing an amazing job, mama! Keep up the great work and take care of yourself too.