Breast milk is an optimal source of nutrition for your baby. Freezing it to build up a reserve is a brilliant idea which, however, requires some precautions once the defrosting phase comes. 🥶
How to defrost breast milk correctly and preserve its nutritional properties? In truth, there are several options available to you…
Whether you choose to take frozen milk out of the freezer and immerse it in a container of cold or lukewarm water, or to warm it gently in a bain-marie, ensuring the consumability of the milk and its quality is a mission to be taken seriously.
Option 1: Transfer frozen milk to the refrigerator
For this method, remove the frozen milk from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator. Having clean hands to perform this action is of course common sense.
This defrosting method is the slowest, but also the one that best preserves the nutritional properties of the milk.
For the milk to be completely defrosted, it is best to wait at least 12 hours.
For a bottle taken in the morning, it is advisable to take out the milk the evening before and vice versa.
Once the milk is thawed, you can use it within 12 hours of complete defrosting (i.e. a 24 hour cycle out of the freezer). You can warm the bottle by running it under lukewarm tap water, in a bain-marie or using a bottle warmer, before giving it to your baby.
Option 2: Dip the container of frozen milk into a container of lukewarm or cold water
This method, faster than the previous one, requires letting the small pot or airtight bag of milk rest in a basin of water. The tightness of the container is essential; the water must not come into contact with the milk at the risk of contaminating it with possible pathogens.
Warm water will speed up the defrosting process.
Defrosting time varies depending on how much milk you want to defrost. Allow between 1 to 3 hours for this operation to complete.
The main risk of this method is forgetting the milk in its container. However, once the defrosting process is complete, it is imperative to place the container in the refrigerator so that it remains fresh.
Don't hesitate to set an alert on your phone about 2 hours after taking the milk out of the freezer if you are naturally forgetful. 😉 This will allow you to check the appearance of the milk.
Option 3: Gently warm the milk in a water bath
If you need the milk more quickly than with the methods mentioned above, you can opt for the water bath method. The milk will be ready in less than 10 minutes ! Be careful, however, if breast milk is stored in a plastic container, the risk of microplastics migrating into the milk is greater when the plastic is heated.
- Fill a saucepan with hot, but not boiling , water and place the container of frozen milk in it.
- Gently stir the milk as it heats.
- Avoid pouring milk directly into a saucepan or in the microwave, as this tends to destroy its nutritional properties.
- So that the milk does not become too hot, which can quickly happen, we advise you to use a kitchen thermometer to control the temperature (a temperature of 36.5° is ideal!). You can also test the latter by pouring a drop of milk on the front of your wrist to make sure it is neither too hot nor too cold.
- Once the milk is ready, you can transfer it into a bottle and then offer it to your baby.
Can you defrost breast milk in the microwave?
It is not recommended to defrost breast milk in the microwave, although it may technically work.
- Indeed, this can destroy some of the valuable nutrients present; Excessive heat can alter the quality of proteins, antibodies, enzymes, vitamins and minerals essential for the baby's development.
- In addition, by its action, the microwave heats the milk unevenly, creating areas hotter than others and potentially burning your baby's mouth.
- If the container used to heat breast milk in the microwave is plastic, there is a risk that plastic microparticles will migrate into the milk due to the heat.
Can you refreeze thawed breast milk?
It is recommended that you never refreeze thawed breast milk. Once milk has been thawed, it should be used within 24 hours (if stored in the refrigerator) or 1 hour at room temperature to maintain its nutritional quality. If you don't use all the thawed milk within this time, avoid refreezing it and throw it down the sink.
Defrosting breast milk should be carried out with caution.
- Whether you choose to take your time placing the milk in the refrigerator ,
- to opt for the bain-marie for faster defrosting,
- or immerse the milk in cold or lukewarm water , following good practices is essential to preserve the quality of the milk and its consumability.
You should note the date of each expression on the jar using a permanent marker, or a self-adhesive label, and respect the storage limits depending on the type of freezer you are using. To be on the safe side, avoid defrosting breast milk in the microwave.