Parents often struggle with how to defrost breast milk in bottle warmer safely and effectively, which can lead to uneven or slow thawing, potentially resulting in bacterial growth and wasted milk. To ensure their breast milk retains its essential nutrients and stays of good quality, parents should follow safe defrosting techniques such as using the refrigerator or warm water. Microwave defrosting should be avoided to maintain desired standards.
How to defrost breast milk in bottle warmer?
It is common for all new or fresh mothers to freeze their breast milk as a stock for later use. Now the question is, how to defrost or thaw frozen breast milk? What are the right ways to thaw frozen breast milk? Because you don’t want to give your baby iced milk as his meal. Let’s find out the convenient defrosting breast milk methods in this guide.
5 effective Ways of thawing breast milk in bottle warmer
You can thaw or defrost your frozen breast milk in multiple ways that are convenient and effective. You can carefully follow any thawing methods below to convert frozen breast milk into a liquid state. Read all the methods mentioned below attentively and choose which will go best with your situation.
1. The fridge method
The refrigerator defrosting method is one of the simplest and easiest methods to thaw breast milk. You do not have to put any effort into thawing the milk. Instead, you only need to put the bottle or bag of frozen breast milk in the fridge. But, this will take a long time to defrost. So, you need proper planning before thawing the frozen breast milk, which can take up to 12 hours.
For example, if you know that your baby will need breast milk in the morning and you have frozen stock, put that stock inside the fridge the night before. In this way, the milk will slowly be defrosted. This method will work only if you have plenty of time. Make sure your baby finishes that milk within 24 hours after completely defrosting.
2. With the bowl of warm water
This is a two-way method, usually picked by mothers to save themselves from the struggle of warming breast milk. Take out a bowl and add some hot water to it. You can put the bag or bottle of frozen breast milk inside this bowl.
Make sure that the bowl is large enough to dip the bottle or the bag entirely in it. This way, you can not only thaw frozen breast milk but can also warm it at the same time. If you want a quick warming process, use breast milk storage bags in this method. Keep replacing the current water with hot water, if you want quicker results as the current water will get cold due to the frozen breast milk.
3. With a specific bottle warmer
The bottle warmers are yet again in the game to save you from the struggles of defrosting breast milk and warming them up. Now you will ask, how to defrost frozen breast milk in the bottle warmer?
Although bottle warmers can defrost breast milk and warm it in a safe and slow-heated method, so that no milk properties are destroyed. We suggest you defrost the breast milk in the ways mentioned earlier as defrosting the milk in the bottle warmers can lead to defrosting in patches that can cause uneven temperature in the milk. So, use the methods above to defrost and then warm the milk in the bottle warmer using safe warming temperatures. Bottle warmers will also help you to heat the breast milk on the go.
4. Under the running water
If you need the fastest method to thaw and warm your frozen breast milk, then you should pick the warm running water method. This method works more efficiently if you put the milk in the breast milk storage bag. The frozen milk will start to defrost shortly, and this is when you need to start massaging the breast milk storage bag with your fingers to break and melt the ice chunks. This will thaw the milk more quickly. You can use the cold running water and slowly switch to the warm water to heat up the milk. Remember, the water should only be warm, not burning hot.
5. Dip in a cold water bowl
Parents or mothers only sometimes choose this method, but this could be a compelling idea. Dip the bottle or the bag of milk in the bowl of cold water, use the defrosted breast milk, and keep the rest inside the fridge. You can use the cold water bowl method if you need the milk in less than 12 hours.
🍼 How can you handle warmed breast milk safely?
No matter how old your kids may get, you will always be concerned for their wellness, but when it comes to infants, they need more attention and care than anyone else in the house. Provide your little monster breast milk that is ultimately saved from bacterial growth, deterioration, and unhealthy enzymes. Follow the tips for this purpose:
➡️ Do not put the warm breast milk anywhere after defrosting; give it straight to your baby. If your baby does not want to drink, store that back in the refrigerator.
➡️ Never leave the defrosted and warm breast milk at room temperature.
➡️ Do not keep the leftovers of breast milk if your baby is full. Throw the milk right away.
➡️ Never refreeze the breast milk after defrosting it.
Methods to avoid defrosting frozen breast milk
No matter how busy a parent you might be, you will never want something for your kid that is not safe. Do not opt out of the fastest or easiest methods of thawing frozen breast milk. The procedures mentioned below fall in the “unsafe” category of thawing frozen breast milk you should avoid.
1. Do not thaw in a microwave
A microwave is never safe for heating your frozen or defrosted breast milk. The microwave heating will create abnormal hot spots in the breast milk that can put your baby at risk of burning their mouth.
Not only this, but microwave heating will also destroy the essential nutrients inside breast milk. Using a microwave for warming or thawing frozen breast milk is a big ‘No”.
2. Do not thaw in boiling water
The boiling water will have a similar impact on the breast milk as the microwave heating. The hot spots will form in patches in the breast milk, and it will lose its potency, beneficial antibodies, and essential nutrients.
3. Do not thaw at room temperature
Breast milk is an extraordinary living fluid enriched with multiple nutrients; it should not be thawed at room temperature. Suppose you defrost your frozen breast milk at room temperature.
In that case, it will not only distort the vital nutrients, antibodies, and calcium but also provide the environment for unhealthy bacteria to grow and nourish. Breast milk must never be left on your room shelf, table, or elsewhere to thaw.
11 Valuable tips for defrosting and warming the breast milk
Once you get your hands on thawing frozen breast milk a couple of times, you will find it easy and quick. You will also understand the suitable thawing method according to your situation. Undoubtedly, finding the proper defrosting way is essential, but keeping some valuable thawing tips in mind is also important. The following tips will help you in the long run of your Parenthood.
💡 For faster defrosting, store your breast milk inside the breast milk storage bags. These bags would not puncture or tear as they are designed especially for breast milk.
💡 Make small portions of your breast milk and then put them for freezing. In this way, there will be a lesser chance of wastage concerning the leftover milk. You can also use the ice cube trays to freeze the breast milk in order to use the one-ounce portion.
💡 Always defrost the oldest milk for your baby instead of giving him the fresh one. You can remember this method as “first in, first out.” You can also find the place for writing the time or date in the breast milk storage bags or you can write on it with a permanent marker to remember which bag you are supposed to take out first.
💡 Lay the storage bags flat in the freezer while freezing the breast milk. This way, you can store maximum storage bags without occupying colossal space.
💡 Once you have defrosted your breast milk, stir it well before feeding it to your baby. The breast milk separates in parts while defrosting. That is why it is always better to assemble the milk nutrients before providing them to your baby.
💡 If you are defrosting or warming the breast milk in the hot water bowl, use the zip-lock bag to prevent water from contaminating the milk. Or breast milk can also get leaked and wasted.
💡 It is alright if your breast milk smells a little funny or unusual after thawing. The frosting can make the enzyme lipase excessive; thuswise, you may sense a different smell or taste of your breast milk.
💡 If you are experiencing storage bag tears while frosting, you can put the breast milk inside a Ziploc bag. This will save you from wasting your precious gold.
💡 You do not always have to worry about warming the breast milk; you can give it cold to your baby, as well. It is entirely safe if your baby feeds on cold breast milk. That’s another matter if your baby wants it warm, but it is safe to serve it cold.
💡 You can warm your breast milk on the go with any reliable and portable bottle warmer. This can be a good travel partner for you.
💡 Always check the temperature or warmth of the breast milk by putting a few drops at the back of your hand before you feed your baby.
How long can you keep your breast milk frozen?
The freezing duration of breast milk depends on the temperature of your freezer.
If you have stored the breast milk in the standard fridge that has its door, then the milk can stay there for nine months.
It would be good to use the frozen breast milk within 6 months, but it would be far better if you use it in four months. Remember to put the date on the milk storage bags so you can remember the expiry. Always use the portion that you have frozen first.
If you have put the breast milk inside a chest freezer or a deep freezer, it can be stored for 12 months.
The milk will be safe in the frozen form, but its quality will start to change with time.
Vitamin C inside the breast milk would probably decrease after five months of being frozen.
Similarly, the colostrum will only stay in the milk for six months.
Why does your breast milk taste, look, or smell odd sometimes?
It could reflect your diet if you notice some usual changes in your breast milk, such as different odor, changed color, or weird taste. Sometimes, it could be a result of your baby’s life and growth. As your baby grows older, your milk will change its composition.
If you see the defrosted breast milk in an unusual form, it could be due to the breakdown of the fatty acids. This form of milk is completely safe for your baby to feed.
Is it possible to travel with frozen breast milk?
You can follow some helpful tips when traveling with frozen milk storage. If you are a States citizen, know that you can travel with proper breast milk storage per the rules of TSA (Transportation Security Administration). Declare your breast milk at the security check and show the breast pump as a medical device.
The security agents will not test your milk if it is completely frozen. If it is semi-melted or defrosted, the security agents might inspect the milk bottles for explosives.
You can ask the agents to wear gloves before checking the milk to save it from contamination.
Ask for freezer
Make sure you are staying in a hotel room with a freezer. Remember to ask for such a room at the hotel reception. If there is no such room available, try to ask for space for your milk in the hotel freezer.
Keep dry ice
Keep ice cubes or dry ice during your journey so the milk will stay as cold as possible. If you cannot do that, keep a cooler and refill it with fresh ice every time you stop at any station, rest house, airport, or eatery.
Learn international travel rules
If you are traveling internationally, keep in mind that some additional rules are involved. Remember to read the rules and your traveling rights before you get on board.
Parents Also Ask
How long does the process of thawing frozen breast milk take?
If you are thawing frozen breast milk in the fridge, it will take almost 12 hours. If you are trying to melt frozen breast milk in a bowl of warm water, it will take about 20 minutes. If you have put the milk storage bag under the warm running water, it will take you around 5 to 10 minutes maximum.
How long should you keep the breast milk after defrosting it?
After you have defrosted breast milk, try to feed it to your baby within 24 hours if it is kept in the refrigerator. If your baby rejects the milk or does not finish it, throw away the leftovers. If you have warmed all the milk, feed it to your baby within two hours and throw the rest, if any.
Can you freeze formula milk?
Doctors do not suggest that parents freeze formula milk. This is not unsafe, but it can separate the milk components.
Can I freeze the defrosted milk again?
You cannot refreeze the breast milk once you have defrosted it. It would not be safe or healthy for your baby. The milk will begin to have multiple breakdowns of essential components after 24 hours of thawing. This can put the milk at a high bacterial growth risk.